Top 12 Places to Party in Scotland this Christmas, The Chic Edit
When Chic Scotland asked me to check out some venues for Christmas/Hogmanay I thought – ooh, easy brief that one! Until I started doing my research. Gone are the days when a Christmas night out was with the office; now everyone is on it. We’re self-employed, we work from home, companies have downsized, we celebrate with friends, families, partners and the holiday season has become a time for catching up. So, on that note, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but check out what you can do in Scotland this festive season.
This A-listed Glasgow institution is set over five floors on Ingram Street and offers a range of eating, drinking and entertainment options including its own in-house casino and club. Over the festive season in addition to the normal options you’d expect from this stylish establishment you can also enjoy Festive Afternoon Tea, Festive Cocktail Masterclasses and the family-friendly option – Kids Cinema Presents: The Grinch. It’s certainly not Bah, Humbug!
This restaurant had me at Chocolate Brownie Pagoda! Who seriously would not want to try that? The Pagoda is part of the celebratory sharing menu that this new addition to the Edinburgh dining scene are offering to mark their first Hogmanay in the capital. There’s also a host of unique entertainment on offer with live musicians and DJs. For me, apart from the Pagoda, it’s also the setting that I’m looking forward to sampling, the interiors are absolutely stunning. This is destination dining!
At the start of the North Coast 500 and located on the banks of the River Ness, the newly opened Ness Walk hotel is embracing its first festive season and music is playing an important part. To accompany their Festive Fling dinners, the Anne Dickson Trio will be providing a range of music from traditional Scottish to folk, or for something a bit edgier and vibrant, book in for the Jazz Collusion Dinner and enjoy the sweet sounds of jazz while you dine. Opt to stay over and you won’t need a designated driver either.
Wild Cabaret in Glasgow is an independently-owned cabaret restaurant and late-night, live music venue. Its Christmas and New Year packages come in two forms - family-friendly or adults only and they offer guests of all ages the chance to immerse themselves in jaw-dropping circus, beautiful burlesque and dazzling magicians. All this whilst enjoying a sumptuous three course meal in the afternoon or evening. Kids can have a mini Christmas dinner or order from the children’s menu – just remember at Wild Cabaret you dress to impress!
Continuing their ‘nourishing you from soil to soul’ mantra, this renowned wellness, yoga centre and cafe in Edinburgh is offering a mean, vegan, Christmas menu this December. This is vegan cooking at its best, and there’s not a halo in sight. Virtuous it is not with – my name’s on the Chocolate Fondant and there’s a great variation on the traditional Christmas turkey and trimmings. Seasonal canapes and a cranberry mocktail on arrival are included in the price and it’s BYOB. Deep breath and relax…
If you’re celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh, you want a view and Harvey Nicks’ rooftop restaurant certainly has one. It doesn’t come cheap at £220 for their Hogmanay Package but that does include a champagne and bagpipes reception, a contemporary Scottish, five-course meal with paired wines, a live ceilidh band until the wee small hours and a late-night buffet. A night to remember.
After you’ve spent all your hard-earned cash on Christmas presents, you might need cheering up so why not crack a smile with a Christmas party at Glasgow’s Glee Club? They’re running Christmas Party Nights throughout December. The package includes performances by four stand-up comedians, an after party and a range of food and drink options.
A beautiful destination in Perthshire, Ballintaggart encompasses Ballintaggart Farm, The Grandtully Hotel and the Ballingtaggart Cook School. Each venture is focussed on providing an exceptional Scottish food and drink experience. For foodie friends, small corporate groups or just a delicious meal, it’s well worth checking out for a more intimate festive experience. I know my hostess skills could certainly benefit from a Christmas Canapes and Winter Entertaining Masterclass!
Victor and Carina Contini are masters of reinvention and Contini now incorporates three venues – Contini George Street, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar and The Scottish Café and Restaurant. My fav however, is Contini, which started out as Centotre where I tasted my first Espresso Martini – many years ago! Which is also why, I’m drawn to their Sparkling Afternoons at Contini George Street. So civilised, so elegant - three small plates and a festive cocktail £25pp served daily 3pm to 6pm. You’ll find me at the bar!
A renovated townhouse set over four floors, Hummingbird has been custom-designed for parties. Housing a restaurant and cocktail bar and several function rooms, small or large, quiet or loud, Hummingbird offers everything from dancing to karaoke. Book a booth, book a private room, or even a cocktail masterclass. They pride themselves on providing good mood food and all tastes are catered for but remember to bring your dancing shoes.
Newly opened in Aberdeen this August, The Esslemont is already forging a reputation for its vibe and its food. Located in the former Esslemont & Macintosh building on Union Street, it houses a contemporary 100-seater restaurant, a luxury glass-fronted private dining area for 12 and a contemporary bar. The menu is expansive and kids, vegans and gluten free are all well catered for and its Christmas menu doesn’t disappoint either. Word on the street is book now.
Fans of Freddie unite as the theme at Kimpton Charlotte Square this year is Bohemian Christmas. This actually refers to the decoration which is lush and gorgeous rather than the singer! The Bohemian Party Nights include a three-course meal, with a singer, DJ, disco and photo booth and Bohemian Lunches include a three-course meal with DJ and disco. Freddie chanting is optional: “We Will, We Will Rock You.”
Christmas is a state of mind and whether you celebrate it or not, it’s quite a good state to be in. Live in the moment and enjoy the holidays wherever you are and whoever you’re with.