Home to four universities, Edinburgh is a real hotspot when it comes to student nightlife. With a whopping 275 bars per 100,000 residents, Edinburgh has no shortage when it comes to evening entertainment. Here’s our line-up of the top clubs to visit as a student in the capital:
Situated underground in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, Cabaret Voltaire is an iconic live music venue and club that has been host to both indie rock legends and the finest up-and-coming DJs on the underground electronic music scene.
Affectionately referred to as ‘Cab Vol’ by locals and students, the venue itself is a somewhat confusing space, with a multitude of rooms and spaces, set in the underground cavern space of Cowgate.
So, if you’re into thumping basslines and getting up close and personal with your fellow ravers, Cab Vol might be the one for you. Don’t worry if not though, you may well find a side room pumping out pop classics instead!
This legendary Cowgate music venue is one of Edinburgh’s most famous. A club by night, live music venue by day, this tiny 100-person capacity space has something for everyone.
Sneaky Pete’s offers uniquely intimate live gigs from a variety of artists during the early evening, before evolving into a busy nightclub into the early morning hours.
The venue offers a fantastic atmosphere and ideal for those looking for a no-frills kind of vibe (and someone not afraid to navigate their way through a crowded dance floor!)
With a more premium feel, Why Not sits at the more glamorous end of our nightclub recommendations. Often touted as ‘Edinburgh’s best nightclub’, the venue’s multiple bars, innovative lighting and luxury booths make a great setting for your big night out.
Why Not offers a really cool atmosphere through its different ‘spaces’, such as the vivid ‘LED room’ which is lit up by over 22,000 individual LEDs. You can also head outside to cool off in the venue’s outdoor garden, where snacks are also available if you get peckish on the dancefloor.
Another popular live music venue, Liquid Room is a popular spot on many artist’s tour schedules. Under the cover of darkness, Liquid Room also becomes a thriving club scene.
With a substantial capacity, Liquid Room welcomes thousands of Edinburgh’s students to its many regular themed club nights. Whether you’re into club classics, indie bangers or hits from yesteryear – there’ll be something for you on at least one day each week.
Feeling like a throwback to the 70’s, Lulu has a distinct disco vibe – with an illuminated dance floor to boot. Offering cocktails and classy decor, Lulu is a hit with both young professionals and students alike. Drinks may be slightly more expensive than other nightclubs in Edinburgh, but as one of the city’s newer clubs, you’ll rarely find this place without a decent crowd.
Independently owned and operated by local arts charity, Out of the Blue, The Bongo Club is a hive of creative activity. Founded in the underground cellars beneath Edinburgh’s Central Library, The Bongo Club is one of many establishments to set up shop in the city’s vast subterranean space.
By night, the club is home to some of Scotland’s most iconic resident club nights and one-off sets from leading DJs, electronic artists and bands. Depending on the day, you’ll find everything from drum and bass to funk and soul, with the occasional live gig to boot.
Club Tropicana ↗
Located on Lothian Road, off Princes Street, Club Tropicana is nestled in the heart of the city. Hailed as the number one retro club in Edinburgh, expect to dance the night away in this permanent throwback to the 80s. From Bowie to Blondie, Club Tropicana welcomes thousands of punters every single week for their dose of nostalgia.
This late-night liquor joint is perhaps more of a bar than a club but nevertheless still features on many student’s night out itinerary. Perfect for those who prefer a more relaxed vibe, 4042 is a great place to hang out and while away the early morning hours.
Alternatively to most recommendations on this list, 4042 play almost exclusively hip-hop and R&B with a lineup of DJs every weekend. What’s perhaps most unique about this place is the ping pong hall, offering visitors the opportunity to hit the table, rather than the dancefloor.
Nestled in the grounds of Edinburgh’s College of Art, this small bar-club holds a special place in the hearts of many students that have studied in the capital. Unlike many of the more conventional clubs on this list, this tiny establishment offers an endless line-up of gigs from performers spanning almost every genre.
The venue also hosts regular club nights, such as The Egg which has been running for over 20 years. As a student bar, this place also offers some of the cheapest drinks too, so if you’re after great-value entertainment for the evening, be sure to keep an eye on their line-up!
CC Blooms is Edinburgh’s first and best-known gay club, regularly hosting the capital’s best drag and cabaret parties with dancing into the wee small hours. A pillar of the LGBTQ+ community, CC Blooms has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. By day the venue serves a variety of food and drink in a stylish bar setting, but late-night revellers will find themselves heading downstairs to the venue’s dedicated underground party space, Lab.
So there you have it, our top 10 favourite student nightclubs in Edinburgh. If you’re looking for the perfect base to explore the city as a student, check out our student accommodation in Edinburgh.