Six Edinburgh nightclubs that will make you wonder how you came out alive

Vaccinations are resuming, restrictions could ease even more soon, so no doubt many of you have your eyes on a night out in Edinburgh very soon.

In the meantime, we take a look back at nights gone by and, in particular, those nightclubs that were fun at the time but can’t believe we managed to look back.

Still, once we’re cleared to return to the dance floor, we can’t say we’ll be avoiding these highlights of Edinburgh nightlife.

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Join us as we remember the best, worst and infamous parts of these six Edinburgh nightclubs.

The Beehive

The positive side of all of us used to keeping hand sanitizer on us at all times is that we’ll be prepared for the sticky charm of the beehive.

Edinburgh’s dirtiest nightclub divides the city into the city center, with some adoring cheap drinks and others insulting sticky floors.

At least the lights are still dim enough and the music loud enough that you can’t really see why your shoes are sticking to the floor, or why you had to pull your glass so hard to lift it off the bar.

It brings a mix of clientele, with its prime location on the Royal Mile inviting unsuspecting tourists alongside savvy locals.

This is definitely the place to go if you want a cheap night out and don’t mind ruining the pair of shoes you decide to brave in the venue.


Can you find your bearings during this eventful evening at La Ruche?


Every town has this club that goes through multiple rebranding, which means every other person you meet has a different name for it.

Cav, or Coasters, The Hoochie, The Network, the most recent Avik, and countless other nicknames, may have known different names above the door, but everyone will always know that at the base the club remained the same.

Getting in is a feat in itself, with notoriously rude bouncers deciding who gets in seemingly on a whim.

Once inside, there are enough floors with different music to suit everyone’s taste, as long as you can avoid the equally mean staff inside, greeting and serving visitors with Cav politeness.

Your Cav survival primarily depends on your ability to dodge or charm bouncers, with varying levels of success.


The biggest threat at Bongo’s is undoubtedly the sound. There doesn’t seem to be any volume control, or if there is, it broke a long time ago.

Nonetheless, if you like bass and the electric music they play, you will be in luck.

Bongo’s also regularly invites big name DJs from all over Scotland, so these nights are often jam-packed with clubs, so be prepared to step out soaked in the sweat of dozens of other people.

Still, once you get used to the volume levels and find a place with a little room to breathe, there are definitely worse places to spend the night.


by Garibaldi

Another downtown location means you have to fight your way through groups of drunk tourists at Garibaldi’s.

You won’t be able to get far, however, with the notoriously small dance floor making even the average night there seem crowded.

Go with a large group or you risk getting trampled or crushed completely.

Once you have enough room to dance, set it up like yours. Once you leave it, you’ll have a hard time getting it back!

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La Belle Angele

Your battle to survive La Belle Angèle begins in the queue, with famous long lines.

At least it’s located in a quaint corner of the old town, so you’ll have a good view while you’re freezing to death in the queue outside.

Still, there’s nothing quite like standing in line, slowly sobering up and losing the feeling in your feet to get ready for a dance party. Right?

Once inside, you’ll warm up quickly, with tiny dance floors forcing you to quickly get up close to complete strangers.

At least you’ll probably have had time to get to know everyone during the bonding time outside of the queue.

A line of young people waiting to enter a nightclub with a bouncer in a black jacket stands in front of them.
Prepare for a long line at La Belle Angèle.

Sneaky pete

Sneaky by name, sneaky by nature, this nightclub is one of Edinburgh’s most intimate places. And by intimate we mean tiny beyond belief.

Like all the little clubs in town, Sneaky Pete’s very quickly becomes Steamy Pete’s, with sweat literally falling from low ceilings.

With a maximum capacity of 100, you need to get there early to catch concerts of local talent and musicians from across the UK.

Even in the dead of winter, you won’t need to bring a jacket, with short wait times and volcanic temperatures as soon as you walk through the door.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement