Edinburgh may be small as far as cosmopolitan capital cities go but itʼs hardly short on things to do after dark. With plenty of clubs to suit each personality that might come through, many of them open every night of the week, itʼs difficult not to find a good time.
Whether youʼre looking for exclusive and fashionable establishments or somewhere more laid back, these seven crowd pleasers are sure to tickle your fancy. Here are the top nightclubs in Edinburgh.
Nestled on Niddry Street, just off the Royal Mile (or Cowgate, depending on where youʼre coming from), The Hive doesnʼt look like much from the outside. For the student population, however, itʼs a town hotspot. Despite its modest size, the club boasts 2 dance floors (one playing chart music, the other alternative), 2 regular service bars, and a cocktail bar – all with plenty of seating. The club was aptly named as moving around it, youʼll feel just like youʼre navigating a bee hive. Those looking to go back in time to the cheesy pop anthems of the 90ʻs should head to the smaller back room while those looking to rock out to the dayʼs popular tunes should stick to the main floor. With cheap drinks, friendly staff, and a generally good crowd just looking for a laugh (usually gets busy after midnight), The Hive offers a fun and financially smart night out in the heart of the city.
Open: 7 nights a week, 9/10 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Wednesdays (Bangers & Mash: £1.50 entry before 11, £3 after 11, £1 drinks), Thursdays (Frisky: free entry all night, £1.50 drinks), and Sundays (The Sunday Club: free entry, £1 drinks)
HMV Picture House
A considerably larger venue located on Lothian Road, HMV Picture House serves not only as a live music venue earlier in the evening, but also as a popular night club afterwards. Known for its song mashups and remixes, itʼs hard not to get your feet moving at a place like this. The bar also serves the infamous £5 vodka bucket, a souvenir many bring home from their nights out. Entry fees tend to be quite expensive but you can easily get on the guest list by writing your name on their Facebook page or by talking to one of their PR reps in the street trying to earn their commission which will reduce the cost of entrance by at least a few quid.
Thereʼs something quite majestic about HMV from the outside, as well as an air of old-time Hollywood with the red-carpeted staircase and golden bannisters. If youʼre looking to feel like youʼre in a fancy establishment but still want to pay reasonable prices, then HMV Picture House is for you!
Open: Thurs – Sat, 11 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Fridays (Go-Go: £1.20 drinks) and Saturdays (Propaganda: £2 drink)
Opal Lounge definitely ups the ante from its two predecessors, something that can be gleaned from its prime location on the bustling George Street. The tables and decor seem to ooze opulence at this luxury nightclub providing an atmosphere suited to those want to club in style. With varied music tracks from popular club music to RnB, youʼre sure to find something you like that makes you want to dance. If dancingʼs not your thing, why not unwind in the comfortable VIP room and order some champagne? Glamorous is putting it mildly when referring to Opal and those with a taste of elegance should look no further but sit down on one of the woodcrafted booths, relax, and enjoy their evenings.
Open: 7 nights a week, 9 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Thursdays (Student Night), Saturdays (Busiest)
It may be odd to have the spirit of Chinaʼs vibrant capital city in the capital city of Scotland, but Shanghai Club provides an escape for many looking to have that experience without having to go abroad. Accommodating upwards of 400 people in the Main Club and offering a VIP Lounge (Blue Room) and Red Room for private hire, itʼs a massive establishment and that space does not go to waste. Also located on George Street, itʼs a popular choice among students and young professionals alike for their special promotions and various themed nights. From the 80ʼs to house anthems, thereʼs bound to be a night of the week that caters to your specific musical taste.
Upon entering Shanghai, youʼll notice a mix of oriental simplicity with a modern twist, making it one of the most unique – and interesting! – night clubs in Edinburgh.
Open: 7 nights a week, 11 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Any night (Cheapest: Sundays, £1 drinks)
GHQ Bar Club
GHQ, located on Picardy Place, is in the center of Edinburghʼs gay district known as the pink quarter. Surrounded by competitors, GHQ never ceases to draw the crowds whether itʼs a normal night, or Wednesday – GHQʼs resident straight night, popular with students. Like most Edinburgh clubs, it offers a variety of areas including a dance floor, a bar, and back rooms with comfy and stylish couches under bright neon pink lighting. Expect nothing but the best in service as even when the place gets busy and the crowds get rowdy, their friendly approachable staff will ensure that you have the best time possible. For the social in Edinburgh, whether youʼre gay or straight, you canʼt go wrong with GHQʼs quirky and positive atmosphere on a night out.
Open: Tues – Sun, 9/11 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Tuesdays (Twisted Tuesdays: £1 drinks), Wednesdays (Student Night: £1 drinks), Fridays and Saturdays (Nocturnal Disco)
The first ever club on George Street, Whynot?, without a doubt, set a precedent for the night club industry in Edinburgh. One of the cityʼs most prestigious night clubs, itʼs incredibly unpretentious in its decor, friendly atmosphere, and good crowds. This trendy hotspot can hold up to 800 people in its large venue and ensures theyʼre all having a good time with a variety of chart and cheese music tracks on the dance floor. Waiting times can be long to get inside so be sure to arrive early enough that, once youʼre in, youʼll still be able to enjoy all that Whynot? has to offer. If youʼre looking to live up to the extravagant reputation of George Street, why not enter the VIP area and enjoy the finer things in life.
Open: Mon, Fri, & Sat, 10 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Mondays (Flare: £4/5 entry, £2 drinks)
A night out at Lava Ignite is possibly a one-of-a kind experience. Located on West Tollcross, itʼs a hidden gem which offers three rooms (Lava, Ignite, & Sugar Lounge VIP Room), two stories, and a good number of bars. Dance like youʼre at a genuine 70ʼs disco in Lava or enjoy the DJʼs beats in Ignite, the largest of the two dance floors, holding up to 750 people. Ignite also has a state of the art sound system, recently added as part of a high-end renovation, which does a good job at spouting out a mix of mainstream chart music as well as RnB and HopHop.
Getting on the guest list will guarantee you a queue jump which, given its acclaim among Edinburghʼs finest, could prove to be very useful and lead to a more enjoyable night.
Open: Fri – Sun, 10 PM – 3 AM
Best Nights: Fridays (Broke!: £2 entry, £1.20 drinks)