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Entertainment in Edinburgh, Scotland

If you enjoy socialising, and let’s face it most of us do, then you will enjoy going out in Edinburgh because it’s cheap. Thanks to a large student population and the city’s ever-increasing popularity among backpackers, there are drinks promotions to be found all over the city centre every night of the week.

The Old Town is the most popular part of the city with backpackers. Cowgate, various streets along the Royal Mile, and Grassmarket (an area heaving with bars) are all here. Bars range from rock-themed bars, more traditional haunts and late-night ones too.

In the New Town, Rose Street, which runs parallel to Princes Street, also has many bars, although they can be tacky. Georges Street has more modern haunts, where hairdressers and the city’s retail staff can be found eyeing each other up. Most clubs can be found in the West End, while Edinburgh’s gay quarter is around Broughton Street in the eastern end of the New Town.

Possibly Edinburgh’s best feature when it comes to going out is the opening hours which are a fry cry from London’s. You can rest assured you’ll get served here well into the early hours of the morning.

For the best guide to what’s going on in Edinburgh try and get your hands on a copy of 'The List' magazine which is a comprehensive source of listings published fortnightly, costing £2.25.

Entertainments in Edinburgh

  • Bar 38

    126-128 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

    This slightly upmarket bar is full of Edinburgh's trendy heads with wine and cocktails being the most popular tipples. With a DJ pumping out nice 'happy-house' tunes, there is always a good atmosphere here at the weekends.

  • Espionage

    Victoria Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

    One club on 5 different floors making it one of Edinburgh's biggest. Well worth a visit.

  • Bannermans

    212 Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Located in the depths of the Cowgate, this bar consists of three separate vault areas to create a fairly intimate atmosphere. It has a good range of excellent real ales and a food menu. During the week musicians come and go and occasionally DJs play the decks here.

  • Rush Bar

    3 Robertsons Close, Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Rush Bar is a haven for backpackers for many reasons. Firstly, because of the cheap drink. Before 9pm all drinks are £1.25 and after that they are increased to £1.75 which isn’t too expensive you have to admit. Because of these inviting prices, backpackers come to it in their droves while during term, Edinburgh’s growing student population frequent it also. Check it out.

    Open daily from 4pm-1am.

  • Hebrides Bar

    17 Market St., Edinburgh, Scotland

    Tiny old-fashioned bar near the station with good crack, friendly service and occasional song.

  • Opium

    71 Cowgate, Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland

    If you packed your backpack full of black Metallica and Slayer t-shirts before going anywhere you have to pay Opium a visit. Each night there is a different theme – on Mondays its... Tuesdays are. One of the most popular days are Sundays when all drinks are £1. The quizzes on Mondays are good fun also.

    Open 8pm-3am 7 nights a week.

  • Café Royal

    17a West Register St, off Princes St., Edinburgh, Scotland

    A beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar with original Victorian décor. It is often frequented after office hours by city professionals.

  • The Venue

    Carlton Road, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Although the atmosphere suffers from having a big pillar right in front of the stage, there have been some almost legendary nights in The Venue. Buy your tickets in advance as they tend to triple in price on the night. Typical live bands during the week are rock and progressive whilst at the weekends this is a clubbing venue.

  • Tapsters

    Howden Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

    For comedy this venue is a must with excellent up-and-coming acts every Wednesday for £3 admission.

  • Opal Lounge

    51 George St, New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Not exactly one for the scruffy traveller, Opal Lounge draws Edinburgh’s beautiful people every weekend. Maybe it’s the spectacle of the staff behind the counter who can make up many cocktails at the shake of a stick, or maybe it’s the happy house tunes which the DJ spins on the decks. Whatever it is, it is full every Friday or Saturday night. If you don’t mind paying a few extra for your drinks, and are in the mood to get up and get down, find the chicest clothes you stuffed into your bag and check it out.

    Open 7 days a week from midday until 3am (club from 10pm).

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