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Bookshops, drag nights, cafés – Ash’s favourite queer spots in Edinburgh

Bookshops, drag nights, cafés – Ash’s favourite queer spots in Edinburgh

Let’s be honest, normally the first thing that jumps to mind when thinking about Edinburgh might be the medieval old town, the amazing views from Arthur’s seat or even the city’s closeness to the Scottish Highlands. However, when I first moved to Edinburgh as a queer person, it was incredibly important to me to find welcoming and accepting spaces, where I could be fully myself! So, after living here for three years, I wanted to share my favourite spots and events with you! 

Lighthouse Bookshop

This is an independent and radical bookshop, less than 5 minutes away from the central campus area on West Nicholson Street. The shop has one of the best queer book sections I have ever had the chance browsing, ranging from practical non-fiction books about identity to wonderfully illustrated queer YA and children’s books. They also have a range of other sections, such as radical poetry, feminism or other political books, and regularly host wonderful events and author talks, as well as an annual radical book fair. Even if you are not that much into reading, I would highly recommend visiting the bookshop, as they also have incredibly cool badges and stickers!  

Kafe Kweer

As stated in the name, Kafe Kweer is a queer-owned café that provides a sober and inclusive queer space in the city. Located in Bruntsfield, it is perfect for a little treat and hot drink after a walk through the meadows or along Union Canal. The café also offers some sober queer events throughout the week, from poetry nights and craft fairs, to free STI testing and their ‘chatter’ days, where you can meet new people from all around the city! Some student societies I’m part of have also rented out their space for events and I love the warm and welcoming attitude whenever I come in. 


The Edinburgh drag scene is obviously not as big as London’s or even Glasgow’s, but I think you could find a drag show somewhere in Edinburgh almost every day. Here are some of my favourites:  

Tracks Mondays in Subway – almost a rite of passage for every queer in Edinburgh, it is the city’s biggest drag night. 

Fruit Salad in Paradise Palms – started by Edinburgh University graduates, this drag show combines cabaret with fun and camp dress and is truly a wonderful time. Every last Sunday of the Month 

The Bro Code – a drag king-only night, these drag shows are some of the funniest I have ever been to. And its location in Leith also lets you explore a new part of the city, specifically if your accommodation and studies are based around central campus in old town.  

Queer Film Night 

Last, but not least, the Edinburgh Queer Film Night is a volunteer-led organisation that screens LGBTQ+ films every second Tuesday of the month in the Student Housing Coop. Recently, the collective has also started running video and photography workshops. So, whether you want to get into photography, are a massive film nerd, or just casual viewer, you should definitely check them out!  

Of course, there are so many more queer-friendly bars, events and spots in the city where you can find your crowd! But I hope this guide can give you some inspiration and a starting point into the city’s queer scene!  

Blog by Ash

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