The Best Gay Bars in Edinburgh

Madeleine Bazil

Sandwiched between Princes Street and Leith Walk is an area referred to as the ‘Pink Triangle’. This is the epicentre of gay nightlife in Scotland’s free-spirited capital city. From student bars to cabarets to sophisticated cocktail boîtes to dance parties, here are six of the best bars in Edinburgh for the discerning LGBT traveler.

Cafe Habana

This bustling bar hosts a variety of pop and dance DJs during the week, and has karaoke on Wednesdays. The bar is small in size, but check out the upstairs balcony, which offers a view of the downstairs seating area. Centrally located, Cafe Habana makes a great place to start off a night of bar-crawling or clubbing.

CC Blooms

Named for Bette Midler’s character in ‘Beaches,’ CC Blooms is a stalwart on the scene, generally attracting an older clientele. Open from 7 pm to 3 am every night, the bar features two stories, each of which has a bar and dance floor blasting house and pop music. Don’t wear anything too nice, as spilt drinks are an inevitability, but be prepared for an unpretentious, wacky night out.


This locals-only bar tends to attract regulars time after time, but fear no, Planet is a friendly, welcoming bar where you’re bound to get chatting with new people. Serving up reasonably-priced tipples (including Fanta on tap) with frequent weekday drinks offers, the bar has been recently refurbished and is a good place to grab a drink on a casual night or before heading out to a club.

Boda Bar

This Swedish-inspired bar is cozy, atmospheric, and quirky. With a standout cocktail menu specializing in gin, occasional live music, and even some outdoor tables, this is the perfect spot for a fun and laid-back evening.

The Street

From an afternoon spent listening to DJ sets, sipping coffee and noshing on ‘Street Snacks,’ and perusing the art hanging from the walls, to an evening spent drinking and enjoying a quiz night, cabaret performance, and more, there is something for everyone at The Street.

Chalky’s Late Night Lounge

After changing hands last year, this bar/club is on the up and up. Each night of the week is a different event, from ‘Retro Rewind’ on Mondays to ‘Uptown Funk’ on Wednesday evenings. Book ahead for the VIP Suite, which is perfect for birthdays.

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