The best late night bars to check out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With all the madness of the Festival Fringe, it can be a requirement to stay out for a post show pint or two.

Published 14th Aug 2017
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

Luckily, the capital isn't short of a watering hole or three should you need to sate your thirst.

However, should you need to stay out a little litter than you're in luck because during the Festival, the city is as nocturnally vibrant as it is during the day - only a little less busy and filled with bright lights.

Here are a few of the best late night bars to check out should you be looking to paint the town red (or simply extend the festival fun).


(2 - 28 August 2017,  Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1)

Late night
Picture: Underbelly

Home to seven performance spaces and buzzing with Festival atmosphere, Underbelly in the Cowgate is a great place to head after a full day of shows.

With three bars (one large, two smaller) and a beer garden on hand and plenty of drinks including Moo Brew, which was brewed especially for Underbelly and the Fringe by Edinburgh's Caledonian Brewery.

Open til 5am, you'll more than likely rub shoulders with performers, tourists and locals as you party the night away.


(4-6 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL)

Late night
Whistle Binkies bar on Niddry Street. Picture: Greg Macvean

If live music is more your thing, and you like your tunes heavy, then Whistlebinkies, which lies just off the Royal Mile, is open until 3am on the weekends and regularly features up to six live bands on Fridays and Saturdays.

Its atmospheric interior, which has been built into an underground vault in South bridge, is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best rock, funk and blues around and offers a great range of beer and spirits - including more than a few examples of Scotland's national drink.

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Should you be a musician yourself and fancy playing a few of your own tunes then Binkie’s also hosts the city’s longest-running open mic night, every single Monday.

Cabaret Voltaire

(36-38 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR)

Nightclub, bar, gig venue, Cabaret Voltaire (Cab Vol) wears many masks, but if you are looking for a hugely enjoyable and eccentric night out in the capital it can't be beaten.

Café Voltaire, is described by the team as a "weekday evening hangout and a speakeasy weekend space" and is open seven days a week, until 3am with an array of live DJs that's nearly as varied and as interesting as its drinks line-up.

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And should you be looking for a proper night out then every Friday night, Domino Club fills the Cab Vol’s re-purposed vaults the best (and loudest) Funk, Hip Hop and Soul tunes.

Dropkick Murphy's

(7 Merchant Street, Edinburgh EH1 2QD)

Picture: Dropkick Murphy's Facebook

No, not the awesome Boston-based punk band, but instead an equally awesome Irish bar located in the vicinity of the Cowgate and the Grassmarket.

Cheap and cheerful and always filled with great craic (sorry), Dropkick Murphy's is the kind of place you'll struggle to leave as the great value and electric atmosphere have you whiling the night away in the company of a fun mixture of Irish people, tourists, locals and the occasional comedian who has just performed that night - oh, yeah and did we say the comedy performances - that run during the festival - are usually free too?

Ghillie Dhu

(2 Rutland St, Edinburgh EH1 2AD)

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Picture: Ghillie Dhu

For something more traditional why not head along to the west end and the Ghillie Dhu, where the decor has a bit of a ballroom feel to it, with marble flooring and spacious leather-seated booths.

The stunningly opulent interior is the perfect setting for a fun night out and the mix of traditional Scottish and contemporary tracks will have you up dancing in not time.

Don't forget to check out the bar for a excellent selection of both of Scotland's favourite spirits - whisky and gin.

The bar offers a crowd pleasing range of drinks, and the music played is a mixture of traditional Scottish and contemporary tracks.


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