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Live music with teenager

We will be visiting Edinburgh in February with our 15 (almost 16) year old daughter. We would love to experience some live traditional music together. Does anyone have any suggestions for venues or pubs in which we can enjoy some music? We would be fine with having a meal if that would allow us to bring our daughter along. From what I have read, it seems most pubs are quite strict on allowing anyone under 18.

Thank you!

Frank

Posted by
931 posts

Hi, Frank,

First of all, thank you for introducing your daughter to traditional Scottish music! The best places for live music sessions are Sandy Bell's, the Royal Oak, and the Diggers Arms, although there are other venues around Edinburgh.

You didn't say when in February you'll be in Edinburgh, but the Edinburgh Folk Club has two excellent concerts lined up for mid February. They meet every Wednesday in the Pleasance Cabaret. On the 13th. they are presenting Tony McManus, who is a superb Irish fiddler. On the 20th., the Tannahill Weavers will be performing. They are one of the best traditional groups in Scotland, so all of you would be in for a treat. They have been together for 50 years in various incarnations, and this is possibly a farewell tour.

If you decide to see the Tannies, I'd advise making reservations. That one is bound to be sold out soon.

Sandy Bell's has sessions most nights, and Sunday afternoons.

Enjoy the music!

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: You shouldn't have any trouble at all bringing your daughter in to the pubs for live music, as long as she doesn't order a beer!

p.p.s.: I just checked the EFC website. Tickets are still available for the Tannahill Weavers, and they are very reasonably priced. Your daughter may be able to obtain a student or concessions ticket, which is even cheaper.

Posted by
4 posts

We will be in Edinburgh from 19 February - 23 February, so we may be able to check out the Tannahill Weavers, thank you for the suggestion. I am also glad to hear that having her with us at a pub for a bit to listen to music won't be an issue.

Posted by
931 posts

Hi again, Frank,

The Digger's Arms (Athletic Arms) and Sandy Bell's both have food. It may not be much more than a toastie (equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich) or a Scotch (meat) pie. I'm not sure about the Royal Oak.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
4 posts

Just want to update the thread in case others find the information helpful.

We had a wonderful trip to Edinburgh. As far as my original question, we were surprised at how strict many of the pubs and pub/restaurants were about having our daughter with us. Besides asking here, I emailed several pubs, receiving several responses and I researched various places online.

Some of the pubs that I found were advertised as family friendly and also had live traditional music. However one of them did not allow under-18s after 9 PM which was when the music started. Another was closed for remodeling. I did find one pub that advertised live music on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, we went in around 6:00, we were allowed in, ordered meals and a dessert. Once 7:30 rolled around and I asked the bartender, he said they hadn't had any music on Tuesday's for a while. So we struck out with live music with our daughter in the pub setting. There were also other places we wanted to stop in but were turned away because we also had our daughter. In a few places there were separate rooms for families, but in one instance it was full so we had to leave. In summary, I couldn't find any pub where we could relax as a family and listen to some traditional music in that setting.

On our last night, I did leave my wife and daughter at our apartment and I snuck out to Sandy Bells on Friday so that I could have this experience. I absolutely loved it, met some very nice people and got a taste of what I wanted.

Posted by
931 posts

Hi, fduross,

Sorry you didn't have more luck in having your daughter hear live traditional music. Just out of curiosity, which pubs turned you away? That might be useful to know for future reference.

Thanks! I'm glad you still had a good time, though. There are a few (very) short videos on YouTube of live music at Sandy Bell's in case you want to check them out.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
4305 posts

Most pubs in the UK will not allow children beyond 9pm and for good reason. Most pubs are for drinking and with that comes adult behaviour, language etc. Things can get a bit rowdy in some pubs post 9pm (or earlier depending on the pub and location). They were never really a place intended for children but as times have progressed they are being tolerated more and more, up to a point.

I have never taken my children to a city pub, they've been to quite a few more rural pubs where we've had a meal and the atmosphere is more restaurant like but a typical city pub is not a place for children in my opinion. I was out yesterday with a few friends and we had a late lunch and a few pints at a "pub with kitchen" and there were several young kids (3+) who were just left to run around whilst their parents sat there drinking and chatting and they were still there when I left around 6pm, it's neither fair on the children or other customers. Obviously teenagers aren't going be to running around getting in people's way but you have to have an age limit and 18 seems acceptable enough.

Posted by
4 posts

My hope was to find a nice pub/restaurant where we could sit at a table enjoy a meal together (understanding under-18s would not be allowed in a pub without food) and listen to some music. In my research I had come across conflicting information. Some said children would be accepted as long as there was food and they were with their parents. Our AirBnB host thought that it would not be a problem at all for our daughter to tag-along in a pub. I read that in many areas of the UK the pub was a center of social gathering for adults and families. Perhaps this was a naive, or old-fashioned idea because I also read online that licensing in pubs had gotten more restrictive in regards to under-18s.

I emailed Sandy Bell's and was told she wouldn't be allowed in, the response also said that the only place with a children's license that also had live music sessions was Dalriada on Portobello Beach. When I contacted them, they explained that children were not allowed after 9PM and their music sessions started at 9PM. I also had researched the Sheep Heid Pub, they have live music and I think had a children's license. Unfortunately they are currently closed for remodeling. The pub that we had a meal but there was no music was The Barony.

Posted by
4305 posts

I read that in many areas of the UK the pub was a center of social gathering for adults and families.

Where did you read that? Traditonally pubs were a centre of social gathering for men after work, women tended to join their husbands on a weekend evening and they would often sit in the lounge bar, children were not allowed in the pub.

When I was growing up in the 80's I was never allowed in the pub, we had to sit out in the beer garden, bribed with a packet of crisps and a soft drink to ensure good behaviour and to some extent, that attitude still prevails for many city pubs. Rural pubs tend to take a different approach and are typically more welcoming towards chidlren and will often describe themselves as family friendly.

City pubs are more akin to bars in the US so if you ask yourself whether you'd consider taking your daughter into a number of bars local to you you might have a better appreciation of why children are less welcome in some establishments.

Posted by
1713 posts

We spent a week in Ireland last summer and while it is not part of the UK, my two daughters ages 11 and 14 at the time, were allowed in the pubs past 9pm. In fact, in Dingle, there were whole families and many children in the pub listening to the music. So OP, next trip go to Ireland, seems things are different there.

Posted by
4305 posts

Things aren't different in Ireland, they were likely simply flouting the law. Under the 2003 Intoxicating Liquor Act all persons under the age of 18 must vacate a licensed premises after 9pm (10pm in the summer months).