Stepping out on the town? Nights out in Edinburgh can be as vibrant or as gentle as you wish. And as we say goodbye to summer and hello to winter, evenings in the city take on a wonderful atmosphere. Let's discover some of the best ways to get your evening entertainment hit in the city this winter.
As the temperature dips, nothing beats warm comforting food. Whether its warming soups & stews or sumptuous cakes and bakes, you’ll find an array of delicious and filling delights in Edinburgh’s cafes, bars and restaurants.
With 17th century oak panelling, stunning interiors and equally exciting food, The Witchery on at the top of the Royal Mile is something special; while slouchy seating, woodburning stove and chunky wooden tables all add to the homely atmosphere of Timberyard.
The cosy rustic-chic atmosphere of Origano Cafe & Pizzeria in Leith is the perfect place to enjoy mouth-watering bowls of pasta and gourmet pizza, while the stone walls adorned with Scottish art are a lovely setting in which to enjoy the fresh, seasonal dishes at Howies Victoria Street.
Find more unique places to satisfy both your belly and your soul in our guide to Comfort Food in Edinburgh >
Cosy bars & beer gardens
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Classic cocktails, aged whiskies, exciting gins or crafted beers – whatever your favourite tipple, the city has a bar to suit you. And as night descends, there’s no shortage of cosy bars to warm you up.
If it’s a traditional bar you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the Jolly Judge – low beamed ceilings, a roaring fire and plenty of real ales make this a popular local on a winter’s evening. Or get in quick and bag yourself one of the comfy Chesterfield armchairs in the Queens Arms, before choosing a rare malt whisky, seasonal cocktail or cask ale from their extensive menu.
In need of a nip of Scotland’s national drink - the options are plenty. Housed in an old Victorian pump house, The Devil’s Advocate has over 200 whiskies to choose from, The Albanach has 220+ malt whiskies including several single cask bottlings and a large selection of rare malts, while over at The Bow Bar you can enjoy the cosy atmosphere while experiencing their extensive whisky list.
For a relaxing pint, the cosy, rustic interior of Brauhaus creates a lovely atmosphere, and their range of natural wines, whisky and spirits cater for wider tastes. Or sink into one of the comfy leather sofas and enjoy one of the many draught beers on offer in The Hanging Bat.
We’re a fairly hardy bunch here in Edinburgh and although it may be cold, enjoying a drink in one of the city’s beer gardens during the winter months is an experience not to be missed – not only will you get the pick of the seats, but you’ll see the city in all its sparkling glory.
In the Grassmarket area, the rooftop bar of Cold Town House has unrivalled views of Edinburgh Castle, and the beer garden at Kick Ass Hostels Greyfriars offers spectacular views of the city's Old Town.
If you’re looking for somewhere with a more magical winter-ski village vibe, Bar Hütte Alpine Après Ski Bar at St James Quarter have cosy ski hüttes that are perfect for get-togethers, while the ski gondolas at McLaren’s on the Corner in Bruntsfield are snug spaces for an intimate drink or dinner.
Head down to Leith and pay a visit to the waterside pontoon of Teuchters Landing for a unique sunset experience or make your way to the neighbourhood of Tollcross and bag yourself a seat amongst the fairy lights of The Blackbird's colourful beer garden.
Explore our favourite bars and pubs in our Guide to Edinburgh’s Bars >
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Want to experience Edinburgh’s winter evening atmosphere, but don’t fancy a trip to the pub? There are several cafes that stay open a bit later to ensure you get your caffeine fix.
In the Old Town, Thomas J Walls is a former optometrist shop turned coffee shop (open till 7pm) and Café Edinburgh is open until 8pm for both your cake and coffee fixes. In the Southside area of the city, the comfy sofas and rustic wooden tables at Kilimanjaro Coffee (open till 8pm) are the perfect for escaping the wintery chill, while The New Amphion (open till 7pm) have a lovely selection of pastries to accompany your coffee.
When only a warm and silky hot chocolate will hit the spot, The Maytree Café in Bruntsfield is open till 6.30pm and have a tempting selection of flavours, while further along in Morningside, deliciously dedicant hot chocolates are served at Edward and Irwyn until 6pm.
Discover more places to get a cuppa and a slice of something nice in our Guide to Edinburgh's Cafes and Coffee Shops >
World renowned theatre
Side-splitting entertainment shows, breathing dance performances and thought-provoking dramas - a night at one of Edinburgh's renowned theatres is sure to be a night to remember.
Theatre goers can choose from a raft of top class city centre venues and are sure to find a play, musical or performance to suit their tastes. Choose from The King’s, The Festival Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Traverse and Edinburgh Playhouse - all of which provide a truly astounding theatrical experience.
Did you know that Edinburgh is home to one of the oldest theatres in Scotland, or that one of the city’s concert halls has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest? Discover more in our guide to The History Behind Edinburgh's Theatres >
Spectacular live music
Edinburgh nightlife gyrates from hip-hop, techno and soul to jazz and blues and folk music. The city certainly vibrates to a beat that will hit the mark with music and dance lovers of all genres.
Whether you want to be entertained in one of the city's bars, clubs or renowned large scale venues, find all the info you need in our guide to Live Music in Edinburgh >
Want to catch the latest blockbuster, or one of cinema's classics? Edinburgh is packed with a range of top-notch cinemas for movie-lovers.
Vue Cinema at the Omni Centre in Leith Street offers movie fans a great choice of all the latest blockbusters in the city centre. Further out of town are two more large cinema complexes at Ocean Terminal and Fountain Park.
The century-old Cameo Cinema in Tollcross maintains its tradition of arthouse screenings alongside the latest big releases and indie flicks, while in Morningside, the Dominion is a local favourite, famous for its comfy sofas in place of traditional cinema seats. Or settle down for a night of movie magic at Everyman Cinema at the St James Quarter – the city’s latest cinema, it even has a cocktail bar and at-seat service!
Nothing beats a good laugh. Edinburgh's range of stand-up comedians, one man shows and comedy classics know how to tickle the funny bones.
Enjoy Edinburgh at sunset
And finally, as the sun is setting, why not pause and take time to enjoy the magical colours against Edinburgh’s stunning skyline.
Head up the historic Royal Mile to the wide expanse of Edinburgh Castle's esplanade and be rewarded with a spectacular view across the city; get the leg muscles pumping with a walk up Calton Hill and capture the perfect image of the hill’s monuments silhouetted against the evening sky; or feel the air in your lungs with a walk through Holyrood Park and catch the sun setting on the ancient Arthur’s Seat.
From exhibitions to festivals, musicals to sports events, for a round-up of events coming to Edinburgh, visit our What's On page >