Scotland prides itself on being one of the most progressive countries in Europe on LGBTI rights. This can be seen in Edinburgh’s vibrant gay scene, commonly known as the Pink Triangle (although many now call it the Rainbow Triangle, as pink seems to connote overt femininity associated with LGBT community). This area is found at the top of Leith Walk, near the end of Princes Street, and all the bars offer different vibes to cater for every individual’s ideal night out. All located within walking distance of each other, here are some top picks.
- CC blooms – founded in 1994, CC Blooms is one of the oldest and arguably the most popular gay venue in Edinburgh. The owners, Mitch and Tim, describe it as ‘a bit fiery, plenty of comedy value, star of a few tragic stories, hostess to many, and altogether a roaring success’. A trendy bar and restaurant by day and a nightclub by night, with reviews complimenting the friendly staff and a good mix of music, CC Blooms is the place to be.
- Planet bar – A small bar in the Pink Triangle, Planet Bar is known for its good atmosphere, friendly staff and chart music. Despite being primarily known as a lesbian bar, Planet Bar definitely doesn’t discriminate and caters to everyone with lots of drink promotions, karaoke, pub quizzes, and even the odd cabaret show!
- Regent Bar – Differing from the night-out clubs and bars, this real ale pub is much more chilled and comfortable. Voted Edinburgh Pub of the Year in 2008 and 2019 by the Campaign for Real Ale, the pub serves drinks and traditional Scottish food, without the hard-to-talk-over music.
- Café Habana – A friendly café in a prime location and set over two floors, Café Habana is a favourite with the locals. The top floor provides slight relief from the hot and hectic atmosphere downstairs, and it even has a little balcony. With different DJs every night of the week and karaoke nights of Wednesdays, Café Habana provides the ideal place for your pre-night out drinks.
If you’re looking for something different from the top LGBT bars and clubs, many of the city’s mainstream clubs offer one-off LGBT friendly nights. Edinburgh College of Art often hosts LGBT friendly nights in the Wee Red Bar. HEY QT, one of the Wee Red Bar’s nights, is described as a ‘dance party for queers and their pals’, and boasts a modest £3 entry with the promise of killer funk and disco DJs. In Cowgate, popular club Sneaky Petes hosts Miss World for one Monday every month. Miss World is an all-female DJ collective with disco, house, soul, techno and funk music. The night operates on a safe space policy. Similarly, Hotline is an all-female run club night in residence at The Bongo Club, supporting local women and non-binary DJs.
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