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Where to find cheap drinks during the Fringe: A definitive guide

Six quid for a pint? No thank you


Studying in Edinburgh is always a steep learning curve. You feel you know your adopted city, having traversed its student nightlife throughout term-time. Then the Fringe comes along, and you have an entirely new month of debauchery to embark upon.

You walk into your trusted Teviot, a bit of familiarity in the lights to kick things off – but things are different. You make one drinks order, and your entire month's budget dissipates before your eyes. You even had to type in your pin code. You won't make that mistake again. Let me direct you towards some alcohol you can actually afford and away from the fate of Fringe-induced bankruptcy.

Cargo Village

A lesser-known pop-up spot situated out at Fountainbridge, this is one of the major venues of the Ed Free Fringe with four stages. Anyway: let's talk business. Go right past the Aperol bar and deckchairs, show a student card, and you are offered £2.40 Strongbow, £3 Broughton Brewery pints, £2 spirit mixers and £1.50 shots. Smashing, and a decent stop-off on your way into or out of town.

Address: 159 Fountainbridge, EH3 9PU

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Bedlam Theatre

The home to the beloved Improverts throughout August, this converted Gothic church is a hidden gem right in the middle of the chaos. Its bar is as intimate as its stage, and charges a modest £2.50 for its house pilsner, as well as having a rather affordable cocktail list. It's a pretty cool spot.

Address: 11B Bristo Pl, EH1 1EZ

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The Three Broomsticks

Carrying on the dark, gothic, slightly spooky theme, a good pop-up with Harry Potter overtones has installed itself just beside Blackwells on South Bridge. Go in for a cheap can of Guinness as dark as its venue, stay for its nightly ghost story readings.

Address: 51 South Bridge EH1 1YS

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Forest Cafe

A little cafe in Tollcross run as an arts and events project, Forest Cafe is easy to walk past but carries very authentic festival vibes. A vegetarian cafe by day, its basement is transformed into a live music venue at night, which, you would never guess, is BYOB – with only a small corkage fee.

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The Hanover Tap

Probably the most familiar name on this list – and there are no expensive surprises here, you will be glad to hear. This stalwart serves the social circles of New Town well, and will serve you well if you feel like heading in the direction of £2.50 Carling. Let's face it – who doesn't?

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