A quick guide to the best of Edinburgh’s LGBTQ+ nightlife

Here’s where you can get your MARINA fix

Whether you’ve been in Edinburgh a while or have just moved here, you might be struggling to find opportunities for LGBT+ student nightlife. Considering its size, Edinburgh does have a large LGBT+ community and is very queer-friendly, but it can be hard to find places to go that cater to young people.

The best nights out are, in my opinion, nothing like the places a quick google will tell you to go. Be assured – there are plenty of queer students here in constant need of some Charli XCX, and these are some of the places you can find them.

CC Blooms

Located at the top of Leith Walk, CC’s is open through the day and night for food and drinks.  It is Edinburgh’s biggest gay bar and club that hosts huge amounts of different LGBT+ events, as well as club nights over the weekend.

Every Tuesday, their drag show The Rabbit Hole showcases Scottish drag artists and they frequently host queens from Drag Race. If you’re a Drag Race enjoyer, they also host weekly viewing parties for new seasons.

Subway Monday

Tracks, aka Subway Monday, consists of a drag show followed by a night of classic queer tunes and is guaranteed to be a chaotic and fun LGBT+ night out. First of all, it’s great to support local drag, with different artists performing pieces ranging from the unhinged (Björk tributes) to iconic (Kylie remixes).

If, like me, your mental health is almost entirely reliant on being able to listen to Lady Gaga and drink as many venoms as you can once a week, the free after-show club night is the place for you. Despite having attended Tracks religiously for a year, I have almost no photos to prove this is the case.

This is because of an unspoken understanding between my friends and me to put our phones away on entry, German sex club style, in order to facilitate a night of absolutely feral venom-fuelled behaviour that any teen drama’s writing room would raise their eyes at.

A rare Subway Monday photo

Café Habana is a small gay bar and café that hosts karaoke, as well as loads of different DJs. It’s a great place for a couple of drinks or a meeting point for a big night out.

If you’re feeling a drinks night as a pose to a big clubbing trip, Paradise Palms hosts cabaret night and queer DJ sets. Although not solely an LGBT venue, their welcoming atmosphere and vegetarian menu mean you can go for a more lowkey night out and still feel at home.

The Edinburgh College of Art’s little-known Wee Red Bar hosts a huge range of arty events, with film screenings, live music, talks and parties that often cater to queer interests.

Located in Edinburgh’s Pink Triangle (at the top of Leith Walk) Planet is a small bar with cheapish drinks, a good atmosphere, and a pool table. It makes a great place to start a night out or go for a quiet night with your friends.

Other Club Nights

There are some semi-regular LGBT+ club nights such as Femmergy and Headset’s Gay Garage, with more and more being established post-pandemic. These often take place at Bongos or elsewhere on Cowgate and are great if you’re into house, techno or remixes of classic LGBT+ anthems.

Events spaces with LGBT+ events

Summerhall in Newington hosts plenty of LGBT+ film screenings (especially during Pride month) as well as occasional gay club nights. For example, 249 has a monthly spot there, with live music, drag, live DJ’s and open mics.

If you want iconic remixes, from Kate Bush to SOPHIE to Flo Rida, definitely check it out. Edinburgh’s other independent cinemas also show plenty of queer movies from around the world, which leaves you feeling smugly cultured and cool.


This is definitely a weird one to include for Edinburgh, but Glasgow (specifically Merchant City area) has plenty of different queer bars, events and clubs. The bus is free with a Young Scot Card (except between midnight and 4am) and it’s worth checking out venues like Polo, Delmonica’s and axm if you fancy going somewhere different.

Charli XCX performed in Glasgow earlier this year

Be assured, you can find plenty of different queer and queer-friendly nights out in Edinburgh that will provide you and your friends with enough embarrassing anecdotes to bully each other through your time at uni.  If you’re more interested in sober and daytime things to do around the city, check out our article here.

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