Owned by the G1 group (the team behind Glaswegian gay haunts Polo, Moda and FHQ, amongst others), GHQ has become the crux of Edinburgh’s gay scene since its unveiling in 2007. Composed of two bars, two dance rooms and a VIP area, this average-sized club never fails to pull in a fairly large crowd, particularly on Saturdays where you can occasionally end up queuing for twenty minutes or so before unfriendly bouncers grudgingly let you past.
Like most places in the Pink Triangle the dress code is casual to the point that dressing up nice is almost seen as weird, but the club’s stylish decor nevertheless rivals that of the more upmarket venues found in New Town. The atmosphere is really relaxed, and with lots of booths and beds for lounging across there’s ample seating for those who’d rather sit and chat with friends than dance themselves into a pop-induced frenzy.
Recent additions to the club include the VIP room’s hot tub, complete – fear not, health & safety fans – with scantily clad lifeguard. (GHQ will accept no liability for any STIs caught in said hot tub.) Prices vary on different nights of the week, with Tuesday’s Love Traffic offering free entry and cheap drinks but Circus Saturdays demanding a £6 entry fee and rather costly tipples. It should also be noted that on Wednesdays the club becomes Groove HQ and hosts Movida, a straight student night.
Music varies throughout the week, but in general the main dance area is dedicated to a mix of current and classic pop hits while the dance bar churns out heavier house tunes. Monthly nights such as the revoltingly-named Furburger, Edinburgh’s biggest lesbian night, provide a bit of musical variety, but in general the music at GHQ is very mainstream, and it’d be nice to see the DJs venturing out of their comfort zones and introducing something a bit different into their sets once in a while.
Other gripes include the fact that the only smoking area is right by the front door, so you trek home smelling like an ash tray no matter how many fags you’ve consumed. Despite these small cons, a night out at GHQ is usually good fun, the staff are lovely and the loyalty of the club’s very many regulars is testament to its good service and friendly atmosphere.