Edinburgh nights: There is more to Scotland's capital than sitting in hot, sweaty fringe venues. Calvin Bush checks out its hottest, sweatiest nightspots

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The Independent Culture
It may be flyer-mania up here but even the famed Scottish hospitality has its limits. During the Festival most club-runners are content simply to pander to the needs of anyone out after midnight looking for somewhere dark, licensed and noisy. You want it, they'll tell you it. Not Burger Queen (Saturdays, Vaults) however. The notorious scallywags are well-known for their irreverent attitude, both to musical snobbery and to the boundaries of good taste. Every Saturday, Kylie and Take That rub turntable shoulders with upfront house music. Looking around, the boys could be girls, the girls could be boys, as long as fashion is king. So their aggressive flyer, laid out in Jamie Reid / Sex Pistols style should not deter anyone who is still filled with teen spirit.

With 'cosmopolitan' the city's temporary prefix, the sound of the so- called 'new eclecticism' is spreading fast. At Dogtastic (fortnightly Saturdays, La Belle Angele), mellow acid jazz and soul gradually give way to rougher house-style grooves. But don't be surprised to suddenly find yourself flailing wildly to a casual Led Zeppelin or Nirvana thrash.

As well as the London influence, New York also has a part to play: Yip Yap (fortnightly Saturdays, La Belle Angele) is very in vogue. Disco Inferno (fortnightly Saturdays, Venue) is retro heaven or hell, depending on how white your suit is, while Divine Inspiration (Sundays, La Belle Angele) favours in-demand DJs like Harris and Glasgow's Slam to provide the Greenwich Village vibe. Tribal Funktion (fortnightly Saturdays, Venue) is probably the closest you'll get to NY's legendary Sound Factory and Paradise Garage. Upstairs the rhythms are deep, warm and moist. As are the crowd. A young German wanderer, top off, eyes wide, sweats past, stickily 'This club really groovy, no?' he inquires. His street-patter is not quite as accurate as his assessment. He is, as we say around here, 'mad wi' it'.

He might also have enjoyed Pure (Fridays, Venue), one of Edinburgh's longest-running clubs, which is devoted to all things teutonic, trancy and, naturally, techno. Sartorial elegance is not at a premium. At Sativa (Saturdays, Vaults) things get even grungier, but do stay for their end of the night drumming troupe.

For those not as loose of limb, there's plenty of world music on offer. London's Mambo Inn (Saturdays, Fringe Club), Edinburgh's own answer, The Mambo Club (Saturdays, Cavendish) and Club Latino (Saturdays, Assembly Rooms) provide rumba, salsa, African and other forms of ethnic music. Latino is particularly appealing with its live bands Buendia Havana and Salsa Y Ache and the first hour spent learning the requisite dance steps. Mark Lamarr was spotted here in a 10-minute burst at the weekend.

Only breakfast television's Smiley would admit to having partaken of the local clublife, enthusing about Sativa and Dogtastic. 'It's the wildest club scene outside of me own Belfast. People here are so up for it.'

There is only one gay club to go to. Joy (Saturdays, Calton Studios) combines the best elements of London's Trade and Manchester's Flesh. By midnight it's packed, temperatures rising. It may not have quite the kitsch splendour or sense of fashion outrage, but the peak-time atmosphere here could be bottled as elixir vitae.

Finally, a word of warning. Incredible as it may seem in a city once famed for its all-night drinking establishments, Edinburgh has been officially curfewed for nearly a year. So no clubs will allow admission under any circumstances after 1.30am. For some, that might be just as well.

Venues include: Assembly Rooms, George St (031-226 2428); La Belle Angele, 11 Hasties Close (031-225 2774); The Calton, Calton Rd (031-558 3758); Cavendish, West Tollcross (031-228 3252); City Cafe, Blair St (031-220 0125); Fringe Club, Teviot Row House (031-225 3872); Vaults, Niddry St (031- 556 0001); Venue, Calton Rd (031-557 3073) Additional research: Bethan Cole

(Photograph omitted)

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