Cocktail Bars, Clubs & Live Music Venues

BARS 2014

Panda & Sons. Edinburgh West End. 

A sneaky wee exterior belies what lurks behind this Barbar Shop frontage. Situated on the corner of Queen Street and Charlotte Square next to Knight Frank the posh estate agents, knock on the door and you will be welcomed in and shown downstairs. Mystery will soon give way to a cosy, delightful bar. Upholsered sofas, chairs, a speakeasy vibe and great cocktails served by very sophisticated smiling staff. Book ahead at the weekend – you do not want to be disappointed. Get thee to Panda & Sons now.


Harvey Nichols. St. Andrews Square. East end of George Street.

Harvey Nichols 4th floor – glass walls, and a panoramic view across the city. This is the Sex in the city cocktail bar perfect for a champagne cocktail to start the night off.

Chaphroaya is strictly a restaurant but it has great Margaritas – it has an incongruous entrance at the top of Castle Street at the west end of George Street. You go straight into a lift and whizz up to the top floor where you can take advantage of a uniquely close view of Edinburgh Castle. They have a wonderful terrace in the summer, the moment the sun comes out everyone runs up here. Inside or out though this is a top spot to enjoy your Manhattan.

Bramble is seconds from George Street on Queen Street but unless you know where it is you would never find this chilled, low-key, subterranean bar. Dark, intimate and a great wee place to hole up

Tigerlily is like being transported back to 1980’s, glitzy, shiny and fun on George Street again. If you want to go the whole hog for a big party weekend you can stay too. Lulu is the club that lurks downstairs for those whose handbags need to be danced round.

DragonFly – West port, on the road that runs up from The Grassmarket. Cocktails are the speciality in this cracking wee spot. Mixologists come to your table to talk you through the imaginative cocktail menu and you can by spirits by the bottle too, stylish, chilled, fun fun fun.



During August in Edinburgh it seems there are more comedians than locals. Happily The Stand on York Place is here all year and delivers constant hilarity on a daily basis. Sometimes even at lunchtime. Centrally situated it’s a minutes walk from Princes Street, George Street and St. Andrews Square. Great eclectic mix of stand-up.


The first 3 listed are glam, mainstream, all in George Street and attract a sophisticated crowd.

Lulu under hip hotel and bar Tigerlily full of West End girls and boys. Often queues on Friday and Saturday nights. Open 7 nights til 3am

Opal Lounge just a few steps down to this moody dark sophisticated venue. Open all day for coffee, drinks and snacks then late on it turns into a favourite Club. Lots of different rooms give it a very intimate and some way confusing layout. Famously where Prince William partied when down from St. Andrews University for the weekend

Shangai Club
under Le Monde Hotel towards thehas a clutch of party bars anyway, this is the late night dancing spot

This next group are more niche with a mix of club nights, DJs, gay and straight.

The Bongo Club just off The Royal Mile. Open daily til 3am
Has been going for years and has a great mix of clubs and music covering all genres. If clubbing is your thing you will find your way here
Cabaret Voltaire.
Set in underground vaults in the Old Town. Including Gay Club, Dare. Small, dark and some might say claustrophobic, though it is a really great intimate venue for live music. You can literally reach out and touch the stage.

Citrus Club just off Lothian Road on Grindlay Street.
Wed,Thurs,Fri, Sat 10.30pm – 3am

Liquid Rooms
Does it all. Gigs, DJ’s and clubs. Endless list of up and coming gigs.DJ’s, Reggae, Led Zeppelin tribute band, Ska, Folk. They cover all genres best thing to do is check out the website. Which looks wrong but is in fact correct! On Victoria Street close to Grassmarket & The Royal Mile
Live Music
These are open all year and have a lively 365 day a year scene.

The Jazz Bar Not so much a bar as a way of life. 3 gigs a day, 7 nights a week, basement Jazz Bar enthusiasitc, friendly with brilliant live sessions.
Open til 3 am every night and gulp 5am during the festival. Note they take Cash only and due to planning restrictions on listed buildings in the city sadly no disabled access. On Chambers Street , two minutes from The Royal Mile.

Sandy Bells Despite our postcard image traditional Scottish music isn’t on every street corner but this is a great place to pop in to hear a session. Between The High Street and the meadows, a foot tapping extravaganza guaranteed. There are lots of bars where you can see traditional music this is your starter for ten.

Liquid Rooms see above.


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