Edinburgh Festivals 2014: a guide to the city's LGBT scene
Visiting the Fringe this August? Here's an insider's guide to the local LGBT nightlife
This article is from 2014.
Whether it’s dancing your cares away or just a quiet pint with friends – whatever you’re in the mood for, the Edinburgh gay scene has something for you. Kaite Welsh explores the city’s array of queer delights
Edinburgh’s gay scene converges at the top of Leith Walk, where the city’s most infamous gay club, CC Blooms has had a bit of a revamp in recent years. A club so gay it was named after Bette Midler’s character in Beaches, what was once Edinburgh’s favourite disco dive is now an altogether classier joint, offering lunch and pre-theatre menus as well as an impressive range of cocktails. But don’t worry – at the weekend it reverts to its roots, where you can dance your cares away on a floor sticky with gin, glitter and bad decisions. If you want camp without breaking the bank, Planet is just a short stumble away from CC’s. With cheap drinks on Monday nights and the campest pub quiz this side of Butlins, it’s the pre-club favourite you can’t quite bring yourself to leave.
For a cosier evening, head for The Regent. Pitched as Edinburgh’s Gay Real Ale Pub, it’s family friendly with pub grub and a good selection of beers. The Street is laid-back during the day, with bar snacks and coffee plus huge windows that are ideal for people-watching. In the evening, the labyrinthine basement turns into a pretty raucous club.
If Leith Walk isn’t your scene then hop in a cab for a night on the tiles with a less cheesy feel. The Georgian facade of the New Town Bar hides a subterranean dancefloor with a welcome 2am licence on the weekend. It may divide opinion but it’s also a good spot for a quick after-work drink or three.
Tucked away just off Princes Street is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets: The Voodoo Rooms. Along with two bars and a dining room decorated in opulent Victorian style, the ballroom is one of Edinburgh’s hottest cabaret venues and the speakeasy bar is the place to go for a night of discreet decadence. For something more underground, Dive! is a self-branded ‘eclectic queer party’ blending spoken word, live music and comedy with a filthy disco to finish. August will see them popping up at various guest spots around town – check out the website for more details.
If you’re new in town or just looking for a change from the bar scene, the LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing offers everything from book groups and film nights to family events, film screenings and counselling sessions. And if you are going out on the scene, remember not to overdo it – what’s the point of having a wild night if you can’t remember every scandalous detail the next day?