Drinks at The Opal Lounge

I’m writing this post up a little late; but with Christmas and New Year in Edinburgh I never found time before. On the 30th December 2005 a few of us headed to George St to take a look at the pre Hogmanay Catalonian St festival, namely The Night Afore International street carnival. However it was very cold, fairly busy and knowing we would be at The Street Party the next day we headed into The Opal Lounge for drinks. On the Street itself were stages of live music, performers (some made a human tower) and impressive, large model dinosaurs wandering around. The Opal Lounge is the bar pitched as a ‘high class’, ‘upmarket’ and ‘hip’ location: it played host to a private party for stars attending the MTV Europe music awards, here in Edinburgh, in 2003.

The Opal Lounge has, not before time, recently had a face-lift. Apparently this cost £300,000 and they aim to host many corporate events as a result. It’s now sleek black and pink decor inside; the basic layout remains the same although better use of space is made with a long wooden bar near the entrance and better booths. We got there about 8pm and headed into the back room. This room is the ‘Members Only’ room. Some persons pay an annual membership fee and get access to this room; unfortunately I can’t report how much this ‘privilege’ costs as clicking the Members link on their website returns a page not found error. Personally I don’t think it’s worth the money - you tend to see a lot of persons entering that room from privileged backgrounds who have a rather elitist and ‘up themselves’ attitude. Maybe that’s just my opinion - but it’s shared by everyone I’ve spoken too.

The Opal Lounge menu on the table, George St, Edinburgh

Anyhow we made ourselves comfortable here and had about 6 pints of the draft Budweiser. It’s always a decent pint in The Opal Lounge and the service at the bar was fairly decent; your change is served in a metal tray though, implying give the bartender a tip for having to queue and then take your drinks back to your table! However, it got to 10.30 and suddenly we were evicted by the female security guard! Apparently the room takes its members only status at 1030 and after this point everyone who isn’t a member i.e. everyone who was in there, had to leave. We didn’t know this. So everyone flowed into main part of the Opal Lounge and, of course, there’s no where to sit. Suffice to say we finished the drinks we had been enjoying on the seats in the ‘Members only’ part and left. There wasn’t even one of the bean bags in the room with the projector available ;-( I find this ‘bean bag’ room a little pointless and random: it just doesn’t seem to fit with the style and atmosphere of the main bar and eating areas. It’s impractical seating. Iit’s more annoying than humorous to see adults struggling to get up and down from these 70’s styled bags of beans! It’s even more annoying when you’re sat on one!

The Opal Lounge interior, George St, Edinburgh

I don’t know what my opinion about The Opal Lounge is. There are those that love it and those that absolutely hate it. I’m probably somewhere in between: I’ve had many an enjoyable night there but sometimes I just look around and wonder if it’s the place I really want to be drinking in Edinburgh. If you’ve already been you’ve probably formed an opinion on The Opal Lounge; if you haven’t I would recommend a visit for drinks and see what you think. If you’re with friends and sat in a booth there’s potential for a good night out, but if you’re there looking around you might feel you do or don’t fit in. Perhaps not the kind of thoughts you should be thinking in a bar where you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself?

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