LGBT Edinburgh

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  • Bristo Square lit up during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
    The Edinburgh Festivals include a great range of shows with LGBT themes
  • Edinburgh Castle lit up during the Royal Military Tattoo - photo by Kenny Lam
    Edinburgh, Scotland's inspiring capital
  • Cafe Habana, a gay bar in Edinburgh's city centre
    Cafe Habana
  • Pride Scotia celebrations on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh - image courtesy of Pride Scotia
    Pride Scotia, held in Edinburgh each June
  • Exterior of the Street, Edinburgh - photo by Naia Lebrun
    The Street

Open, friendly and with a wealth of world-class attractions, Edinburgh is home to a vibrant gay community and warmly welcomes all LGBT visitors.

Culture & festivals

Edinburgh offers a year-round calendar of activities and events but is at its most lively in the summer months, when its fantastic festivals – including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe – transform the city into a stage overflowing with theatre, dance, drama, comedy and much more. The programmes always include a wide choice of shows with an LGBT theme, from theatre and comedy to clubnights and exhibitions.

In February Scotland celebrates LGBT History Month with a great selection of programmes and activities both in Edinburgh and other parts of the country, ranging from film screenings and debates to parties and ceilidhs.

Edinburgh’s gay pride festivities, Pride Scotia, take place every June and always make for a fun day out. The colourful parade sees people of all ages and from all walks of life march through the city, finishing with a festival including a BBQ, a health and community fair, live music and entertainment. Check out their official website for the full line-up.

Other essential Edinburgh events include the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April, the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, and of course the city’s world-famous Hogmanay celebrations.

Restaurants, bars & clubs

Edinburgh is a foodie’s delight, with a huge number of eateries catering to all budgets and cooking up a delicious variety of cuisines, while you’ll find dozens of stylish bars and clubs dotted all around the city. LGBT visitors will enjoy a warm welcome at bars and restaurants all across the city, and there’s also a small but friendly gay scene home to a number of great cafés, bars and restaurants.

CC Blooms on Greenside Place is something of an institution, having been a vital part of Edinburgh’s gay scene for more than two decades. During the day it offers a range of Scottish and European dishes in its elegant upstairs diner, while in the evening it becomes a vibrant cocktail bar with a buzzing downstairs dance floor offering free entry.

Just along the road, The Street is a classy gay-friendly bar offering a wide selection of cocktails and a tasty menu of burgers, wraps and nachos. Like CC Blooms, its proximity to the Playhouse Theatre makes it an ideal choice for an after-show drink. Themed nights and pub quizzes take place during the week, and you can even commemorate your evening in the bar’s old-school photo booth.

Café Nom de Plume on Broughton Street is famed for its cosy atmosphere, welcoming staff and hearty home-style cooking. Eccentrically decorated with fairy lights and quirky knick-knacks, it serves up simple yet delicious dishes such as fish pie or haggis, neeps and tatties, with lots of vegetarian and vegan options and an impressive choice of beers.

The Regent on Montrose Terrace claims to be ‘the best real ale gay bar in Edinburgh’, serving up a great range of beers and ales. This relaxed, dog-friendly bar has won CAMRA’s Edinburgh Pub of the Year Award several times and has a loyal following of ale-loving regulars, both gay and straight.

Pop into the loud and ever-busy Café Habana on Greenside Place for good value drinks accompanied to pop tunes. Just down the road, Planet Bar on Baxter’s Place offers comfy seats and a pool table plus quizzes and karaoke on certain nights.

Various other bars around Edinburgh also throw occasional LGBT nights and events: Woodland Creatures on Leith Walk holds LGBT social evenings, while Henry’s Cellar Bar, the Mash House and the Annexe all host pop-up club nights.

Find more stylish bars and restaurants around the capital in our guide to food and drink in Edinburgh.

Upcoming events

  • BRIEFS
    18 Dec - 4 Jan 2015, various times and prices
    Part of Edinburgh's Christmas, this high-octane, all-male cabaret has been described as 'an Aussie Cirque du Soleil meets Ru Paul’s Drag Race'.
  • Gay Gordons
    Monday at 7.45pm, Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church
    Ceilidh and Scottish country dance classes for LGBT folks and allies - all ages and levels welcome.

Find more things to see and do in our event listings, or take a look at LGBT events around the rest of Scotland.

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