What to expect from every night out in Edinburgh

Nights out always end in Hive. This is an unexplained scientific phenomena.

So you’re off on a night out with your friends! Maybe it’s your first few days in Edinburgh, maybe you’ve been here for four years, it doesn’t matter: all nights have the same basic pattern.

In the afternoon you’ll start deliberating about what alcohol to take to predrinks. Maybe you’ll text your friends to ask what they’re bringing, maybe you’ll go it alone. Whatever you choose will be the wrong choice. If you go for beer, everyone else will be doing shots of peach schnapps. If you go for peach schnapps, everyone else has made jelly shots and filled a watermelon with ice tea infused gin (it’s Edinburgh, people think outside the box, or indeed, the box of wine). Either that or everyone is drinking buckfast and tennents, ironically if they’re posh, unironically if they’re working class, or Scottish.

All you need

Now you’ve got to choose an outfit. You’ll have thought about this in your head and picked one out. You’ll always change this at the last minute and end up scrabbling through your wardrobe to find something else. Most people in Edinburgh go out dressed pretty casually: jeans and a nice top, perhaps. This will come as news to everyone from the North, and Wales, who on their first night out will wear a sparkly halter dress and heels so high you’re a danger to air traffic control.

But in the end, no-one really cares what you wear. Though, in the hilly and cobble encrusted streets, I would suggest a pair of flats. Also if you’re going to wear your hair down on Edinburgh’s very windy nights, don’t wear lip gloss: the two will become fused in an inseparable bond, and you’ll awake trying to cough up a hairball.


No matter who hosts  it will always be in a second floor flat and you will always fall down the stairs on your way out. This is non-negotiable. Don’t worry, you’ll be so drunk this won’t hurt all…until the next morning. Predrinks will involve a lot of slightly too sexually explicit games, like the always terrifying ‘never have I ever’. You will learn things about friends and acquaintances you never wanted to know. On the other hand, if one of them ever becomes prime minister you can sell the story to the Sun.

1st stop: The pub

Yes you’ve already had some drinks but it’s still too early to be fashionably seen at a club, so you go down the local pub. Knowing Edinburgh, this means you’ll be drinking weirdly silty cocktails, like it’s got a little layer of sand in it, a little ocean floor in a glass that tastes vaguely of rose water and regret. You might choose craft beer or cider instead, which will be overpriced and weirdly flavoured. You could just order a cider and black: you’ll be bloated, but probably have enough for the taxi ride home.

At some point during the pub, the weakest members of the group will fade away like tiny woodland creatures into the scenery, mumbling something about their nine a.m. start. It’s good that you got rid of these people, they were only holding you back. Without them you are free to party, they’ll be so jealous when they see the photo of you pretending to hump the David Hume statue with a little bit of unidentifiable substance in your hair.

2nd stop: The club

This is the classy club. Maybe you and your friends have decided on this one in advance, or maybe you’ve seen it on a buzzfeed list. Apparently it’s the place to be. When you get there you find out is the place to be, if where you want to be is stuck on a crowded dance floor between two very fashionable and really bony people who keep jabbing your drink arm, causing your mortgage-takingly expensive vodka and cranberry to keep splashing in your eyes.

A man wearing too much cologne will wink at you and you’ll have a sudden phobia that your drink might have been spiked when you went to the really well decorated bathrooms. The music makes a vague whum-whum noise with no recognisable lyrics, which everyone else but your group seem to know how to dance to. You all realise they’re not going to play Britney Spears any time soon, and decide to leave. You probably steal a branded glass on the way out to display in your room, so people think this is the sort of place you go.

As you walk past the bouncer you hide the look of shame that you are really too poor and mainstream to be in this club.

3rd stop: Hive

Nights out always end in Hive. This is an unexplained scientific phenomena. No-one even has to say the word ‘Hive’, but all the people in your group will find themselves being slowly and surely sucked into the sticky vortex.

While inside you’ll have a pleasant conversation with the lady in the toilets, get someone else’s drink down whatever item of white clothing you happen to be wearing, and buy a pitcher of steve-o. This is surprisingly delicious, but by the time you’ve got half way down the jug you know this is a bad decision and you start trying to hand it to all your mates, like a more sloppy version of pass the parcel. Eventually you give up and hide it on the floor for some other poor sod to put their plimsoll in.

Hive is unique

You’ll also get your picture taken by the Hive photographer. One of the people in your group will look absolutely stunning in this picture, the rest of you will look like you just rolled down Arthur’s Seat and landed in a jumble sale. There’s no knowing who the stunner will be, usually everyone gets a turn at some point during their uni career, so be patient.

You’ll alternate between the main dance floor and the small cheesy dance floor. In both there’ll be an older man in a suit trying to approach you or your friend so you have to tactfully move away, it’s a little bit like space invaders.  You’ll make friends with some Australians in the smoking area while you try and blag cigarettes even though you don’t usually smoke. One of you will get thrown out by the bouncers for looking like a bit of a wrongun, and the rest of you will follow your fallen comrade back onto the street.

4th stop: Food

If it’s still early enough, one of you will suggest McDonald’s, and even though you’re two miles from the nearest one you’ll all heartily agree and set off in search of this fabled castle of delight. Maybe you will get there and satisfy your heart’s desire, but probably you’ll give up when you all start complaining about being cold, and pile into the nearest kebab shops.

Whatever you get, it will be delicious. You’ll wake up the next morning with a few bits of it on your desk. You’ll eat this for breakfast, even though it has now congealed. You congratulate yourself on a job well done. You will miss all morning lectures. Don’t worry about this, it’s perfectly normal. The Hive stamp on your wrist is a badge of honour, wear it with pride.