Proving that you don’t need to look too far to find a fantastic array of live music in Edinburgh, on any given night of the week, you’ll find a variety of music being performed in the city’s pubs & bars.
Ideal for those who prefer their music on a smaller, intimate level, these bars pride themselves on hosting established artists as well as shining a light on up and coming talent.
Combining good music with good food & drink in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, have a look at our top live music bars for a night of fun & friendly entertainment.....
Folk & Traditional Music Bars
Visit today for: toe-tapping harmonic tunes that have been played by Scots musicians for centuries.
As a pioneer for the Scottish folk music scene, Sandy Bell's has been attracting musicians, writers and poets since the 1920’s - Barbara Dickson, Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty have all dropped by for an impromptu performance. If the walls of The Royal Oak could speak, they would certainly have a tale to tell - this 200-year-old pub has been at the heart of the Scots folk music scene since the 1960s. Pop along today to hear live music every night, with piano, guitar and other instruments free to use, if you want to join in.
For family friendly music taverns, The Ensign Ewart and The Fiddler’s Arms are worth visiting, the latter of which also has a tasty food menu, with a firm emphasis on Scottish dining. Or if you want to feed your eyes, as well as your ears, be sure to pay a visit to The Voodoo Rooms - originally intended to be a gas appliance showroom before it became a hotel and then The Cafe Royal Bistro Bar, today, the building’s original features, woodwork and plasterwork have been restored to their former glory and it’s a popular city centre venue showcasing leading Scottish folk singers.
Irish Folk Music Bars
Visit today for: tuneful fast jigs and reels that take their roots from Irish folklore.
Both Biddy Mulligans in the Grassmarket and Dropkick Murphys in the Cowgate are sound choices if you’re looking for traditional bars that resound with the uplifting sounds of Irish folk music. Be sure to order a pint of the black stuff to truly appreciate the jigs and reels.
Alternative Music Bars
Visit today for: bars that have lots of stings to their bow! Pop along today and experience everything from Motown to rock.
If you’re in the mood for musical entertainment and open to any genre, you won’t struggle to find a bar in the city playing a variety of crowd-pleasing music. Open six nights a week, Bannermans features everything from traditional folk through to hard metal, while from Thursday to Sunday, George IV Bar is the place to be for live music ranges from folk and ceilidh to Motown and Indie. Music is a big deal at Footlights Bar & Grill with open mic nights every second Thursday. If Blues music is your thing, be sure to hot foot it to The Scotman’s Lounge every Monday night.
Not much has changed in The Royal Mile Tavern over the years, and it’s all the better for it - decked out in retro wood panelling and vintage mirrors it’s a cosy place to hear a selection of live music featuring local musicians. If the sounds and look of the 50s are more your thing, then don’t miss The Rat Pack Piano Bar where you can experience live piano and jazz every night. Or head to Leith's shore and you'll find The Shore Bar & Restaurant, an 18th century inn complete with open fires and more than just a hint of jazz in the air.
Visit for: your chance to see up and coming bands, and the chance to say, “I saw them first!”
Part of Edinburgh’s College of Art, The Wee Red Bar is so much more than a student bar. Yes the drinks are ridiculously cheap, but the venue's unique sound system attracts an in the know crowd to see hugely popular up and coming bands.
View this post on Instagram
Or indulge your literary side in the Victoria St bar named after Irish writer James Joyce’s novel, Finnegan’s Wake. Live music till late can be found at this lively Irish themed bar each night, and it’s extensive whisky selection takes some beating.
Late Night Bars
Visit for: late night musical entertainment that’ll see you though until sunrise.
Hosting live music, open nights and dance events, Banshee Labyrinth is a maze of three unique bars, underground dancefloor and cinema – and it’s also regarded as Edinburgh’s most haunted pub! For something less scary, if you fancy testing your vocal talents on Edinburgh's patrons, Monday is Open Mic Night at Whistle Binkies, the longest running open mic night in the city.
For soaring acoustics, head to Stramash – housed in a converted church this massive bar has a huge stage with dance floor and a cosy bar and seating area downstairs. Open until 3am daily, it showcases some of the best up and coming bands from Scotland and beyond. Love jazz? Enjoy the soothing sounds of late-night jazz at Scotland’s leading independent jazz venue, The Jazz Bar – a multi award winning speakeasy, it's bursting with energy and hosts multiple acts every day until 3am.
Or enjoy a feast for your ears and eyes at Superico Bar and Lounge – this 19th-century Georgian building and former banking hall is a ‘fiesta for the eyes’, having been transformed into a Chilean-inspired, sun-drenched party palace. With a state-of-the-art sound system, enjoy free live DJ sessions every Wednesday to Sunday until 1am.
From large-scale stadiums tours to underground clubs, whatever kind of music gets you on the dancefloor, Edinburgh has it covered – discover more in our Guide to Live Music in Edinburgh >