Both Edinburgh and Glasgow offer much in the way of clubbing, but we all need somewhere to hang out until the clubs open. Thankfully, you needn’t fret – we’ve got it covered.
In Edinburgh, you’ll probably want your pre-club drinking establishment to be close to Cowgate, where the majority of dancefloors are located; hence, we recommend Bannerman’s, a rock’n’roll bar with a noisy back room for gigs, and City Café, which does a nice line in food and games as well as alcohol, making it very popular with the Cab Vol set. At the other end of the scale, Brass Monkey, Under the Stairs and Black Bo’s provide more relaxed establishments where you can ease yourself into an evening.
Away from Cowgate, Lebowski’s is on hand to cater for those wishing to experience the West End’s clubbing pleasures – it’s the sister restaurant to a similarly-named hangout in Glasgow, and offers the same menu of decent food and Dude-inspired drinks menus. In the New Town, Reverie and Star Bar can be tricky to find, but worth it if you do; while even further afield in Leith, Joseph Pearce provides a classy place to chat ahead of a night on the town. If you’re heading to one of Edinburgh’s fine LGBT establishments, The Street, Planet Out and Café Habana will get you in the mood.
Over in Glasgow, the aforementioned Lebowski’s is a great place to start the night, for all the same aforementioned reasons (drink, food, Dude). A place that shares a similar atmosphere (and a few of the letters) is Chinaski’s, which also has a cracking beer garden for those rare warm evenings. MacSorley’s, The Flying Duck and The Liquid Ship are good pubby-pubs that double up as gig venues, while Bar 10 and The Ivy Bar go for sleeker, more fashionable pre-club vibe. There are a few special places that double up effectively as their own pre-club entertainment: Mono, Oran Mor and The Arches are three excellent examples. Fuelling up is necessary before a truly wild night, so you may also wish to grab some food at The Butterfly & Pig (which is also home to The Buff Club upstairs) or the German- accented Bier Halle, which has some great food-plus-drink deals.
In terms of LGBT establishments, The Polo Lounge, Delmonica’s and Revolver are all very reliable places for getting your night off to a flying start.