Have a Wild Night Out in Edinburgh's Historic Old Town

It is the cosmopolitan mix of people that makes Edinburgh so alive at night and there’s nowhere in the city more lively and bustling than the Old Town. Tourists and locals populate the pubs, bars, and night clubs in search of a great time, and, more often than not, they find it. Traditional taverns and contemporary bars sit side by side and you won’t have to walk more than a few steps to get a drink.

The crowds in the Grassmarket spill out of a row of bars and create a wild atmosphere in the street. If you head towards the Cowgate, or walk up the cobbled streets towards the Royal Mile, you’ll find clubs like Cabaret Voltaire. Further down, past the cathedral and beyond the bridges there are cavernous vaults full of merrymakers dancing the night away.

Of course, not everyone wants to throw shapes on the dance floor, and there’s no need because the Old Town is also home to a wide range of pubs. If you want a quiet pint or a good malt whisky Bow Bar, is worth seeking out. For live music and a venue that falls between club and pub, you should make for Whistle Binkies. Check out our list for more options.



This venue is focused on fun and it's a popular destination for party groups celebrating birthdays or hen nights (bachelorette parties). They have a number of club nights and the odd live gig. The dance floor is quite small but they also have...  Read More



This busy Grassmarket pub is at the heart of Edinburgh's nightlife. It's a cozy pub that's always packed to bursting. It's popular with locals and visitors alike. The name derives from the gallows which once stood nearby, where there were public...  Read More



Once named "best drinker's pub in Britain," the Bow Bar is known for its huge selection of ales, malts and whiskeys. At last count, there were 140 kinds of malts on the menu! The bar staff are friendly and always ready to help newcomers choose a...  Read More



This labyrinth club is very popular with students and it offers a couple of dance floors and several bar areas. It tends to be very cheap in comparison with most of the other clubbing options in the city but it is also loud, crowded and sweaty....  Read More



Sandy Bell's is a world famous folk bar situated in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, close to the Royal Mile. Folk and traditional musicians travel from all over the UK and Ireland to take part in live jamming sessions in the afternoons and...  Read More



This club is a bit more accessible than many of the crazier places in Edinburgh, but it still maintains its hip edge. Descend into the underground venue and you'll find a massive dance floor with plenty of room to roam. Some of the best new...  Read More



Wash Bar is a friendly and unpretentious bar nestling in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Mound. The bar is split over two levels and on a sunny day the tables and chairs outside make for some great people watching. Downstairs...  Read More



Tucked snugly away under the catacombs of the Royal Mile near the trendy Grassmarket nestles Bannermans Bar, a fixture in the Edinburgh rock scene for many years. The venue still sports the original rough-hewn stonework of the original building...  Read More



Whistle Binkies is a relaxing bar that offers live entertainment seven nights a week. It hosts folk, country, rock, and blues bands, with an occasional comedy act. Don't be surprised if you run into a local folk musician that you just heard...  Read More



Just off the Royal Mile, Cabaret Voltaire has long been one of the best underground dance clubs in Edinburgh. With a string of popular DJs playing sets to packed dance floors it has always been a popular venue with locals. A friendly atmosphere...  Read More


Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

After...  More About Simon