Eat, drink and party in Edinburgh

There's a variety of nightlife on offer in Auld Reekie
 

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Kirsten Alana

Kirsten Alana 
HomeAway travel expert


Eat drink and party in Edinburgh Edinburgh is a city perhaps not known to visitors, as cities like New York and London are, for being open all hours and offering abundant options for those seeking good nightlife. In Scotland's capital city, a great after-dark scene is expected during festivals like the Fringe and Hogmanay, but there are options year-round for all kinds of party-goers! From chic cafes that serve the late night set and modern bars with million dollar views, to historic pubs that stay open till the ghosts call the drinks in, Edinburgh has nightlife options to offer every type of visitor. Where you choose to go, of course, depends on what type of experience you're looking for!

It's a city fuelled in part by university students and their desires, but it's also experiencing an influx of young professionals working at new start-ups and corporate headquarters. Both of these groups have invigorated the city with a need for quality evening and weekend entertainment, and it seems to be working. While the mainstay pubs like historic Greyfriar's Bobby continue to serve locals and visitors alike, the changing atmosphere is driving a revolution in dining and drinking culture. New businesses are opening, and construction on a new light rail is helping areas of the city once less accessible be far more so now, which makes going out on the town easier on everyone.

 

Whatever your tastes in late night fun, Edinburgh has something for you

The Liquidroom The Liquidroom

Newly refurbished and reopened after a fire caused it to be shuttered for two years, The Liquid Room is now - as it was before - the best place to discover new bands during its Indie Nights. Yet it's also a nightclub which draws big name DJs from around Scotland and the world. There's a beer garden, for when the air inside feels more suffocating than cool dingy, and it's still underground in that way only the best nightlife spots are; even post-fire. Now that they've even expanded to feature The ANNEXE as well, it's the place to be for all music fans whether your preference is for Hip Hop, Rock, Country or Pop.

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The Standing Order The Standing Order

This newer pub, a Wetherspoon property, in the expansive space of the former Union Bank of Scotland: it's usually filled to the brim after working hours, when the office set exits its narrow confines and blows off steam before going home. Luckily for visitors, there are a lot of tables, a lot of rooms and many places to comfortably stand and sip your pint. With the traditional architectural details of an old bank preserved, the pub has a sophisticated feel but the reality is a comfortable one. Its location on George Street, not far from Princes Street Gardens, makes it ideally located for a good time in the New or Old Town of Edinburgh.

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1708 1780

When it comes to historic pubs in Edinburgh, there are more than a few options; places like the White Hart and the aforementioned Greyfriar's Bobby are classics. 1780 stands out, however, because the restaurant portion of this pub/dining room far surpasses the offerings of any other pub. The Bard's Haggis (affectionately known as the "Haggis Tower" around town) made this non-believer a fan of Scotland's most debated dish, and their sticky toffee pudding still makes appearances in my foodie dreams. The eccentric interior showcases a mix of antique furnishings and their extensive selection of bottled Scottish ales is not to be missed.

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Urban Angel Urban Angel

This divine cafe-bistro on Hanover Street in the New Town specialises in organic and fair-trade food. It is best known for brunch but it's a relaxed place any time of day that's open till 'late', making it the ideal place to linger in the PM when a club isn't your scene and a pub is just a bit too rowdy. It's just five minutes’ walk from the Omni Centre, Vue Cinema or The Playhouse and offers nightly specials to the theatre-going set. Their coffee is not to be missed - a Flat White even graces the menu - and with their concentration on local Scottish produce, it's yet another way to get an authentic Scottish experience when you visit Edinburgh.

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Cocktails at Harvey Nichols Cocktails at Harvey Nichols

The Fourth Floor at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh's New Town is a modern, sexy space decorated with the colours of jewels and actual crystals too. As the name suggests, it's found on the fourth floor of the well-known department store, but don't let its location divert your attention. Once the shoppers have gone home for the day and the workers have come out to play, there's a vibrant atmosphere which matches that of the constantly changing colours in the ceiling and in their excellent cocktails. Though it encompasses a bar, brasserie and restaurant, it's the bar that shines brightest as a nightlife spot: their starchy snacks are some of the best I've ever had to accompany a good martini, and I'd highly recommend simply telling the bar staff what you like, in order for them to craft you something truly special. Oh, and don't miss the view of Edinburgh: it may only be on the fourth floor, but its views far surpass the humble floor number.

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