Alternative Student Nights Out in Edinburgh & Glasgow

Fancy dancing the night away without enduring all the shite tunes? Well, our guide to alternative clubs has you and your night out fully covered

Article by Dylan Tuck | 02 Sep 2019

If you’ve ever been dragged along to a club that wasn’t your preferred destination and forced to endure a night of tragically mediocre pop songs, then this one’s for you. The next time your flatmates ask "So, where we heading tonight?" before tanning pre-drinks and scrambling for a taxi, make sure you’re heading to one of these alternative destinations. 


15 Union Street, Glasgow

Say the words ‘alternative club’ and Cathouse is the first that springs to mind – mainly because it deals exclusively in alternative music. With two floors of punk, metal and everything rocky (not Balboa) in between, this is a scene-teen haven and will surely release any inner emo to sing along and get moshing. They also host a shed-load of after-parties for shows and festivals, with various band members gracing their steps for a taste of Glasgow nightlife, if fawning over famous people while slurping some cheap drinks is yer thing. 


341 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Located on the ever-buzzing Sauchiehall Street, Firewater is an absolute student hotspot, and not without good reason. Thursdays see this place positively heaving, largely thanks to the significantly discounted entry price and, dear god, the cheaply priced drinks, starting from just 90p(!!) for a single. Music-wise, expect a bit of everything, which nicely caters for even the fussiest of musical tastebuds. It’s a please-all kind of place and an absolutely cracking night out – you can trust us on that.

The Banshee Labyrinth

29-35 Niddry Street, Edinburgh

A place drenched in pretty dismally dark history as a former prison for the poor, Banshee Lab is now one of the capital's most iconic night-time venues. Beware haunted spectres and spooky underground vaults, Banshees is a free alternative ‘entertainment centre’ like no other – boasting a pool room, multiple bars over several floors, and a 50-seater cinema (naturally). If you like your night out to consist of rock music, ex-torture chambers and creepy dungeon gear, Banshees is the place to be. 

The Flying Duck

142 Renfield Street, Glasgow 

A deliciously-good vegan basement restaurant by day, a buzzing nightclub by nightfall: The Flying Duck is a thriving centre of activity right at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre. Hosting a huge variety of events, from gigs, club nights, DJ sets and film screenings, as well as regularly playing a whole ton of eclectic music, it seems there’s always something good going on in this hipster labyrinth. Oh, and they also have board games and a free toast policy too.


71 Cowgate, Edinburgh

Alexa, define ‘alternative club’. Located in the Cowgate, Opium is not one to be missed for any alt-music fans knocking around the ‘burgh. Often hosting gigs, but more often than not providing brutally loud classic rock and metal tunes, guest DJ appearances and, you guessed it, ‘rockeoke’. It’s one of those places you’ll end up in as the night reaches its end, as this place seems to be open all night (it’s not by the way, just 'til 3am) but it's certainly never a bad way to wrap up your evening.

Cabaret Voltaire

36-38 Blair Street, Edinburgh

Another venue built in Edinburgh’s underground vaults and decked out in extremely trendy decor. A hugely hip destination, it’s more on this list for its intensity as a clubbing experience than anything else. Musically, they host a lot of live music, often with guests on the decks, and a tendency to play booming dance music, a night in Cab Vol is a serious night out. But if that’s too much, the side room plays all sorts of sing-alongs, so, y’know, enjoy that instead.

The Garage

490 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Most notably recognisable for the garishly large truck-front that bulges out above the entrance to this iconic Glasgow institution, The Garage is famed for having something on every day of the week, 365 days a year. While it’s not exclusively an indie/rock club, it hosts many alternative bands and ensures there’s at least one room playing your favourite rock tunes on the regular, with Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays ramping up the distortion. So if your pals drag you to the chart remix room, live safe in the knowledge that some gain-heavy singalong escapes are lying just around the corner. 

Flat 0/1 

162 Bath Street, Glasgow

Okay, sure, Flat 0/1 doesn’t play alternative music, but you try finding a more hipster place than this. It’s literally a flat, decked out with fully functioning audio equipment and a bar, slap bang in Glesga city centre! There’s always DJs doing some madness on the decks, decor time-travelled straight from the 70s, and, thanks to a generous free entry policy, always feels like the ultimate flat party experience that you’re welcome to gatecrash every week. What’s more, this is a party that won’t be getting shut down either – unless the roof caves in (again).