A 150-capacity sweatbox on Edinburgh’s main clubbing thoroughfare, Sneaky Pete’s has punched well above its weight to become the finest gig and club venue in the city. Resident club nights Juice (Thursdays), In Deep, #notsosilent (both alternating Fridays) and Teesh (second Saturdays) bring in some of the finest DJ talent in the country, with Erol Alkan, JD Twitch, The Juan Maclean, Bill Brewster and Deep Shit among the recent highlights.
The Bongo Club occupies a distinctly bohemian library-basement location with a character all of its own, offering occasional gigs, theatre workshops and a monthly ‘rock ‘n’ roll ping pong’ event. The clubbing programme is the highlight, however, and a selection of weekly and monthly residencies cover a range of genres that Edinburgh rarely hosts elsewhere. Throughout most of the week (Sundays and Mondays tend to go dark) expect to hear hip hop, reggae, drum & bass, soul and much more.
Housing just a few hundred across the main dancefloor and the balcony above, the Liquid Room is a dark box housed in the basement of a nineteenth century church on Victoria Street. Its diverse clubbing menu incorporates indie and retro nights at one end of the spectrum and high-profile house nights with big-name international touring guests at the other, while it can also host smaller-scale club parties in its recently added new extension to the rear of the building, the Annexe.
Formerly known as Calton Studios, a mainstay of the strong Edinburgh techno scene back in the 1990s, the rough and ready but atmospheric Studio 24 has taken on a certain elder statesperson role on the city’s live scene, although its tastes are eclectic. Expect to hear a blend of harder-edged techno and metal across the club and local live band programme, although only rarely on the same bill.
One of Edinburgh’s most atmospheric venues enjoys a location like no other, hewn out of a series of brick arches underneath the city’s famous Old Town. Across two dancefloors, state of the art sound systems play a forward-thinking blend of house, techno and bass seven nights a week. The repertoire of weekly and monthly residencies is switched up every few months to keep things fresh, but it generally follows a format of cheaper or free entry residents’ nights earlier in the week, with larger fees at the weekend.
Located in the grounds of the city’s hip Edinburgh College of Art, the Wee Red Bar is something of an institution for those of a certain age. Largely a student hangout – but open to and used by others – this is a step up from your usual sticky floored student gaff. The club nights (not to mention the cheap drinks) are largely sound, especially long-standing Saturday indie night The Egg, which doles up a solid roster of tunes from the likes of Pixies, Kraftwerk and Bowie.
Seemingly intent on being all things to all people, the Voodoo Rooms does a good job of pulling the trick off in grandiose circumstances. In addition to a main bar that sits along one wall of a long dining room illuminated by high-arched Victorian windows, the venue also contains two internal concert/club spaces, both fairly compact and informal interior rooms that don’t echo the style of the rest of the joint, and their programming (including burlesque classes and raucous cabaret shows) is eclectic.