Tucked away under the Royal Mile, halfway down the treacherously steep Blair Street, lies one of the best alternative clubs in Edinburgh: Cabaret Voltaire. Its name derives from the favored haunt of the early Surrealist movement and the club does its best to live up to that illustrious predecessor through its dedication to live performances and its cool bohemian atmosphere. It even sports some Surrealist prints on the walls.
Cabaret Voltaire — Photo courtesy of Cabaret Voltaire
The upstairs bar is generously proportioned, with numerous wide, wooden benches and cozy little booths around the fringes which can be reserved. The drinks are not particularly cheap (but no worse than most city center nightclubs), and the cocktails in retro teacups are great fun.
Downstairs is the cavernous club with two dance floors linked by another two bar areas. The dance floors have a wonderfully intimate feel, with DJs and live bands playing very close to the audience. And as the night progresses, the club always becomes very busy.
When you need a break, head to the aptly titled (and wonderfully cool) “speakeasy” chill out area, which is festooned with LED lights and comfortable couches.
The music ranges from big name DJs (such as Annie Mac, Steve Aoki, Krafty Kuts and Justice) to local and up-and-coming bands and the hottest alternative acts.