Edinburgh: Gig Venues & Clubs

Feature | 03 Sep 2013


Studio 24
24 Calton Rd 01315583758
The Studios have been around for as long as some of you lot have been alive. A well-loved and eclectic venue, it's a wee bit out of the way, but if you're looking for something a little different then it’s well worth a look. Nights range from Balkanarama – a Balkan musical orgy (we kid you not) – to 60s night The Go-Go with its occasional live Beatles tribute bands, and all points in between. 

Wee Red Bar
74 Lauriston Pl 01312216000
The Wee Red Bar may be located on ECA territory, but don't be put off by the thought of asymmetrical haircuts and awkward conversations about trips to India, for this isn’t your average student disco. A near-constant stream of gigs take up the evenings, and the wide range of clubs keep things interesting until the early hours. 

The Hive
3 Niddry St 01315560444
The wild and cavernous Cowgate haunt is a notorious student haunt for good reason. It’s open every night of the week, grabs 5am licences whenever it can, and serves up everything from hip electro to chart ‘classics’ from the late 90s. Oh, and their roaming photographers are always on hand so you don’t even need to bring a camera. 

The Liquid Room
9C Victoria St 01312252564
Following a brief fire-enforced absence, The Liquid Room is back and better than ever. With impressive live music and clubbing credentials, The Liquid Room plays host to touring bands and DJs as well as an array of weekly club nights. The addition of The Annexe just adds to the fun at the Edinburgh institution. 

Cabaret Voltaire
36 Blair St 01312474704
Deep in the heart of the Old Town, Cab Vol is one of the city’s most iconic clubs. A recent refit turned the upstairs room into a trendy cafe and meet-up point for during the day, while downstairs has kept much of its sweaty former glory. A new soundsystem has upped the noise level, and a range of club nights from electro to dub give the DJs a chance to put it to good use.

The Opal Lounge
51 George St 01312262275
George Street by day is all about vaguely posh country-inspired shopping, but by night its basements turn into some of Edinburgh’s swankiest clubs. Opal Lounge might be the pick of the bunch - managing to be both dark and shiny inside, it’s a fun place to go for a different kind of club night from the old town haunts, with student nights like Mansion drawing big crowds from across the unis.

The Voodoo Rooms
19a West Register Street 01315567060
For those of you who like your gig venues with a bit of glamour, the Voodoo Rooms can help. The venue bar is surrounded by leather-backed booths that make the place feel like one big sofa, while regular gig night Limbo pulls together bands from across the country and beyond and plonks them into a grand ballroom for your amusement. 

Picture House
31 Lothian Rd 01312212280
A constant fixture on Lothian Road over the years, the Picturehouse’s latest incarnation is as one of the best gig venues in the city. Nicely kitted out and capable of holding so many more people than other city venues, it plays host to touring bands that avoid Glasgow’s powerful orbit. Their enormous student-friendly indie club nights which run all weekend aren’t too shabby either.

Henry’s Cellar Bar
8 Morrison St 01312211288
The stage is tiny, and appears to be lit solely by fairy lights. The PA is at least three times too loud. Take a wrong turn out of the toilets and you’ll end up in the building next door. That said, Henry’s puts on the kind of low-key, grassroots gigs and club nights you just won’t find elsewhere, so the need to carefully retrace your steps is a small price to pay.

Electric Circus
36 Market St 01312264224
Tucked away behind Waverley station, Electric Circus gives you a bit of everything: the club space doubles up as an intimate gig venue, the private karaoke rooms with dedicated bar staff are your next birthday party, and the retro clubs like Beep Beep, Yeah! give you the chance to windmill around to Motown classics in a modern and quirky setting.

Bongo Club
66 Cowgate 01315588844
Having been driven from its longtime home on Holyrood Road, the Bongo is back (11 months of the year) in the centre of town in the space that you may have seen dressed up as the Underbelly during the Fringe. The Bongo is still home to everything from jungle nights to burlesque evenings to ping-pong tournaments, filling some of the gaps in Edinburgh’s nightlife. 

Sneaky Pete’s
73 Cowgate 01312251757
It’ll make your flat seem like a palace, but what Sneaky’s lacks in area it makes up for with volume. A huge range of weekly and monthly club nights, from electro to house to funk, the kind of sound system normally found in a club four times the size, and an ever-present crowd make Sneaky’s a great shout every night of the week.