string(9) "edinburgh"

A rundown of Edinburgh’s best LGBTQ nightlife

Satisfy the post freshers’ blues with one of these iconic queer spots


If you’re new to Edinburgh, you may not know that the city has a long-standing tradition of iconic queer bars and clubs. Hidden in Cowgate and beyond, you don’t need to travel far to experience the best LGBTQ nightlife Edinburgh has to offer.

Whether you’re in the mood for a wild night out filled with drag queens and extravagant cocktails or a cosy night with friends, here are our top picks for Edinburgh’s best LGBTQ nightlife:

Tracks Monday

Got a case of the Monday blues? Head to Subway’s iconic Tracks Monday and expect all the bangers with their queer anthems and hits, kicking off the night with a fun-filled drag show featuring iconic drag queens and special guests every week. But the party doesn’t stop there; dance your heels off at the after-party that goes on until 3am.

Tracks is an unofficial student hub on Mondays. So, if you’re a student at any Edinburgh university, this is your sign to be there.

The Doghouse

Located in Newington, The Doghouse is a staple part of LGBTQ nightlife in Edinburgh. The bar is one of my favourite spots for queer nightlife with its eclectic interior design and wide variety of drinks. It wins major bonus points for the ferret man who is a regular at the establishment and, as the name suggests, is regularly adorned with live ferrets. However, you do have to temporarily put your dignity aside to order one of the embarrassingly named cocktails at the bar (I’m looking at you, slippery nipple).

C.C Blooms

One of the best-known gay bars in Edinburgh, CC Blooms remains an established part of the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. From drag queens to regular joes, CC Blooms truly has it all!

The Regent

The Regent describes itself as an ‘LGBT+ & Straight-Friendly Real Ale Pub’, perfectly encapsulating the pub’s way of honouring tradition whilst still accepting all. Offering a traditional Scottish pub experience with quality beer and cosy vibes, The Regent is an excellent alternative for those less into the glitz and glam of the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene.

Habana

Located next to the Playhouse, Habana provides the perfect spot for a post-theatre cocktail. An iconic part of the pink triangle (the triad of gay bars in New Town), Habana remains an Edinburgh cultural symbol.

The Wee Red Bar

At the heart of the ECA is the Wee Red Bar. Known for its live music and artsy crowd, the Wee Red Bar offers cheap student-priced drinks and a wide range of society events and club nights. They frequently prioritise queer events and host a variety of nights centred around marginalised groups.

Summerhall

Summerhall is one of my absolute favourite Edinburgh spots. As an independent art venue, it features various events, from theatre to visual art shows. It also regularly holds parties and events with a queer focus, such as their 249 Ramshackle Queer Party. This event features live music and open mic segments, creating a welcoming environment for all.

Casablanca

For those on the look out for a more decadent experience, Casablanca is a queer centred bar and drag club that offers a hedonistic take on the classic Cowgate experience. Nestled between the likes of HIVE and Subway, Casablanca is a queer oasis in a sea of heteronormativity.

Paradise Palms

As the name suggests, Paradise Palms is full of maximalist and eccentric decor. They have a wide range of cocktails, both alcoholic and non. The deep-fried pickles alone make this spot one of my absolute favourites.

Recommended related articles by this writer: