One of Edinburgh’s most famous underground venues, The Bongo Club is the top choice for those serious about new music in the city. The club attracts the best dance acts from around the country and supports a burgeoning local live music scene.
This is not the biggest of clubs compared to its counterparts in other cities in the UK, but there are two floors with their own bar and dance floor. There is also ample space outside, at the back, for smoking, hanging out and cooling off. The interiors are fairly functional, particularly downstairs which has very little seating area to complement the stage and dance floors. The bar downstairs is small and is more of a simple outlet for drinks than a social spot. Upstairs is used as a cafe during the day, so it acts as a comfortable, chilled out alternative to the main room below.
When not acting as a night club, The Bongo Club rents out its space to local artists and community groups. Situated on Holyrood Road, near the Scottish Parliament, the club is slightly off the beaten track but well worth the extra walk.
The Bongo Club attracts one of the coolest crowds in the city; people are drawn here because of its reputation for hosting cutting edge underground music. The atmosphere can vary to a degree, along with the genre of performers, but generally it is the centre of the music scene for Edinburgh’s artistic and student community. You are pretty much guaranteed a good party. The crowd is often young and can be a little cooler than thou for some, but anyone serious about their music is not out of place here.
Known for being a centre of all forms of dance music, from hip hop and reggae, to drum and bass, The Bongo attracts a regular cast of top guest DJs. Past masters, who have visited the venue, include the likes of Lee Scratch Perry, Moby, DJ Format and Wiley. Popular regular nights at the club are Headspin, Messenger Soundsystem and Hobo.
The Bongo Club also prides itself on supporting local folk acts, up and coming musicians, theatre and other visual artists.
This is not a venue for eating at, though paninis, salads and light snacks are sold throughout the day in the upstairs cafe, as well as coffees and non-alcoholic refreshments.
There is nothing adventurous about the drinks on offer here. They include the usual collection of lagers such as Stella and Tennents, which are priced £3.50 and £3.20 per pint, respectively. There are other bottled beers such as Budvar and Corona, which range from £2.80 to £3.90. During the week, between Sundays and Thursdays, mixers and spirits are reduced to £1.50 each.
The Last Word
This club is a jewel in the crown of Edinburgh’s nightlife. Great beats, affordable drink, and the best local and international music make this the ideal place to discover what the city’s cultural underground has to offer.