Edinburgh after dark – nightlife, food and culture

Pubs frequented by ancient monarchs and ‘scran’ knocked up by Michelin-starred chefs – Edinburgh has it all going on after dark…  


Book train tickets to Edinburgh

A few drinks…

From ancient boozers to classy cocktail bars and cool craft beer – Edinburgh has watering holes to suit every thirst. We love…

  • The Sheep Heid Inn is perfect for an historic pint. It dates back to the 16th century, and was a favourite watering-hole of monarchs and poets – rumour has it Mary, Queen of Scots enjoyed a tipple. Nowadays it’s the perfect pit-stop for those tackling Arthur’s SeatFind the Sheep Heid Inn on the Causeway, Duddingston Loch 
  • Bramble Bar is all jazzy cocktails and good taste. Sit back in the plush, red-leather armchairs and sip away at one of the many expertly-made cocktails on offer – Red Rum, made with 8-year-old Bacardi rum, floats our boat. The low-key cellar vibe pushes all the right buttons for date night. Find Bramble Bar on Queen Street
  • Brewdog Edinburgh is the spot for cool craft beers. Based in Scotland, the Brewdog brewery has brought punk spirit to beer. It has bars up and down the country, but its Scottish pubs feel that little bit more special. Think an ever-changing roster of craft beers (both Brewdog and guest ales). Find Brewdog on Cowgate in Edinburgh’s Old Town

A bite to eat…

From grub in gothic castles to authentic Italian pizza – Edinburgh has plenty for foodies to love. 

  • The Witchery is impossibly glamorous. Set in an historic 16th-century building, this is decadent dining. Think oak-panelled walls, artistic ceilings, twinkling candelabra, and a setting at the gate of Edinburgh Castle. Food-wise, local produce is the star of the show, from steak tartare made with Aberdeen Angus beef to roasted pigeon from the Borders. Find The Witchery at Castlehill on the Royal Mile
  • The Scran & Scallie is a super-cosy bolt-hole serving rustic food with flair from Michelin-starred chefs. Sit by the wood-burning stove surrounded by bare brick walls and contemporary folky touches. Foodies will love dishes like roasted hake with braised chicory and pancetta and confit or pork belly with cocoa beans and basil. The less brave can find gastro-pub classics with a twist. Find the Scran & Scallie in Stockbridge
  • La Favorita serves pizza good enough to make a grown man cry. Locals rave about the efforts of the Crolla family at La Fav. Dough is made by hand and left to mature for 48 hours before being rolled, topped with lush ingredients and baked in a traditional wood-fired oven. The toppings are traditional Italian – think chicken with rosemary-infused potatoes and Italian sausage with stem broccoli. Find La Favorita on Leith Walk  

A bit of culture…

  • Take a tour of pubs loved by famous writers

Writers and books loom large in the story of Edinburgh – from Robert Burns to JK Rowling. No wonder it’s among UNESCO’s official Cities of Literature.

Explore the city’s literary history with a tour of the Old Town pubs frequented by famous Edinburgh writers down the years. Listen as your guides Clart and McBrain tell the stories of Burns and Sir Walter Scott over a couple of choice ales. Heady stuff.

Book tickets for the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour

  • Enjoy a concert in a grand, historic hall

Usher Hall has been at the heart of the Edinburgh music scene for over 100 years. This elegant, dome-shaped building is recognised as one of the best concert halls in Europe. Its excellent acoustics and grand design make it the perfect place for classical music, so it’s no wonder the Royal Scottish National Orchestra call it home. 

The well-behaved, sat-down vibe also suits acoustic singer-songwriters, with Bon Iver and Ed Sheeran plucking their guitars recently.

What’s on at Usher Hall?

  • See a show at the Edinburgh Playhouse

If you’re looking to see a blockbuster musical, the Playhouse is the place. Originally built as a grand, architect-designed cinema, the Playhouse thrived during the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s.

Nowadays, this Grade-I listed theatre is home to shows like Billy Elliot, the Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon and Mamma Mia! It’s the UK’s largest working theatre, and with over 3,000 seats, you should be able to get a ticket.

What’s on at the Playhouse?

Something random…

Step back to the psychedelic Summer of Love at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.

Explore far-out holograms and 3D pictures which shape-shift before your eyes, and bendy mirrors and giant kaleidoscopes of colour. It really is groovy, baby – don’t forget to wear a kaftan and put flowers in your hair…

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