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Edinburgh is one of the most loved cities in Europe. It has everything – history, architecture, an incredible food scene, nature, shopping, and of course, a booming nightlife. The country’s capital is certainly a popular spot for a night out, with several areas across the city promising a good time. Whether you’re with your family, partner, friends, or colleagues, Edinburgh has so much to offer. Here’s where to find the best nightlife in Edinburgh.

Old Town

The nightlife in Old Town is made up of four main thoroughfares: Grassmarket, Cowgate, George IV Bridge, and the Royal Mile. All of them are brilliant nightlife areas in their own right, with a huge variety of open-air bars, restaurants, traditional pubs, and clubs. Make your way here and you’re definitely in for a good night, easily bouncing around from one to the other. However, it’s the Royal Mile that takes the cake for the best nightlife in the Old Town. Actually, it’s probably where you’ll find the best nightlife in Edinburgh.

Although it sounds like one long street, the Royal Mile is a collection of streets that have a history steeped in entertainment. Today, it’s the location of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but it’s a blast whatever time of year. The old area is packed with pubs, although many of them are tucked away in ancient corners. With pubs slinging plenty of warming whiskey and thirst-quenching ales, while also having a friendly atmosphere, you’re onto a winner.

Best Nightlife in Edinburgh

New Town

Edinburgh’s New Town is the main tourist hub of the city. By day, you’ll see shoppers and tourists swarming the street. But when night falls, New Town transforms into a buzzing, cosmopolitan hub of bars, lounges, and clubs. New Town is made up of several streets, but the most popular is George Street. With a huge selection of upscale spots and flashy cocktail bars, it’s the place to be and be seen in Edinburgh. It’s also where you’ll find the city’s clubs. There are very few nights that don’t end up seeing the night out in George Street. Places like Opal, Why Not, Bourbon, and many more, are where you’ll see many staying until the bitter end.

West End

Edinburgh is teeming with culture and history, but West End is the city’s self-proclaimed cultural hub. You’ll find many of the city’s theatres and venues here, including the Usher Hall concert venue, the Royal Lyceum, and the Traverse Theatre. It’s also the city’s financial district, surrounded by offices and workspaces. The combination of offices and theatres has called for a need for classy yet casual evening drinks. There are tonnes of bars and pubs in the area that cater to that market, such as Thomson’s, Bonham Hotel, and Sky Bar. Even if you’re not coming for an after-work or a pre-theatre drink, it’s still a great place to start the night. The West End is also home to some of Edinburgh’s best restaurants, such as Illegal Jacks, Castle Terrace, and more.


Leith has been making waves recently. It was named one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods by TimeOut in 2021, with an innovative spirit that only seems to develop. Its vibe is different from the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, Leith has its own spirited personality. The restaurants are creative, the pubs are friendly, and the bars have great cocktails. While it might not have the party-all-night spirit of other places in Edinburgh, its cosy and charming atmosphere is enough to keep you here all night. Make your way to the docks for some waterfront drinks with excellent views, before warming up beside a roaring fire in a pub.