'Five Alive' - Top Five Potential Live Music Venues in Edinburgh

6th November 2014
Written by:
Matt Ward

The lack of “larger” live music venues in Edinburgh has been well documented in recent times and is something that really needs to be addressed.


Believe it or not but there are venues out there which could well be used, yet currently catch dust and grow more derelict with every passing day.

So with that in mind, below is a list of the top five venues which could 'potentially' be redeveloped to help put Edinburgh back on the music map.


Housed just off Ferry Road and rebuilt in 1961 after war damage, this building has witnessed performances from Thin Lizzy, Slade & Dr. Feelgood in years gone by. It reportedly seated 1,500 people. In 2014 the theatre was handed over to the Leith Theatre Trust on a 5 year lease agreement with the intention of restoring it. Could this be used for more live music?

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(2) 205 Great Junction Street:



Situated beside the Water of Leith and opened back in December 1938 as a “Luxury Super Cinema”, the old super cinema closed its doors in 1972 and has since been used as a nightclub and bingo hall. It reportedly seated 1,650 people. With this property being listed as “At Risk” this will no doubt take a bit of time and money to help restore it to its former glory, but could this be one building worth investigating further?


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(3) 7 Clerk Street:



Located in the city centre and opened in 1930 as the “New Victorian Cinema”, this historic venue once hosted the likes of The Kinks, The Who and AC/DC, to name a few, before closing down in 2003 as the Odeon Cinema. It reportedly seated 2,000 people. Since then possible plans of redevelopment have been mooted and development is now underway to develop the rear of the building into student flats, but is it too late to turn the front of the building back into a viable live music venue?

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(4) 125 Fountainbridge:



Found in the heart of the city and opened in 1911 as the largest cinema in Edinburgh, this venue was once an ice rink, ballroom and bingo hall before closing in 2006. It reportedly held 2,000 people on its dancefloor. With other redevelopment in the area, the old Palais De Dance has remained dormant. Could this be a feasible option for returning as a live music venue?

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(5) 31 Lothian Road:



Positioned just off Princes Street and opened in 1923 as the Caley Picture House, this building has previously been a cinema, nightclub and live music venue before its untimely closure at the end of 2013. It reportedly held 1,500 people. Planning permission has been submitted for turning this iconic venue into a JD Wetherspoon pub but this has yet to be signed off. Still time for Edinburgh Council to veto this proposal and for someone to step in and save the day?

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The venues featured above would undoubtedly require a lot of TLC and investment to bring them back to life, but with their history and size surely this is something that could (and should) be seriously looked at by Edinburgh Council? There's no reason why one of these buildings coudln't be used by the local community during the day and then a function hall and live music venue on an evening.

Not only would this help create jobs, generate money, give local musicians a platform to show off their talent, attract more well known acts, but it might also be a very small step towards regaining some trust in a local council which has been lacking for some time.

Useful Links:


(1) Leith Theatre:

The Word on New Music

The Word on New Music