When Scotland’s capital city is finally blessed with its week in the sun, where will you be? If the answer is ‘in an amazing beer garden’ then you’re in luck.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite places to drink al fresco with friends – and we bet there are a couple you haven’t even heard of yet.
The Cumberland Bar
Close enough to ever-bustling Princes and George Streets for a restful shopping break, New Town institution The Cumberland Bar’s beer garden is still a relatively well-kept secret from those who rarely venture past Queen Street. The traditional set up here may be standard for your average beer garden, but in central Edinburgh a picnic table and some greenery can be hard to come by for pub-goers.
1-3 Cumberland Street, EH3 6RT – more info
alljengi / Flickr / CC
Whether you’re a Portobello local – or just fancy a trip to the beach – the quaint Dalriada bar on the promenade actually has two great beer garden spaces, both at the front and back of the building. Take your drink out front for panoramic views of the Forth and stay to watch the sun setting over Portobello beach.
77 Promenade, EH15 2EL – more info
A serene slice of calm in the midst of the city centre, The Blackbird’s urban beer garden is the perfect place to sip some of Edinburgh’s best cold cocktails on a warm summer evening. Like the TARDIS of beer gardens, this leafy courtyard hidden to one side of the bar is surprisingly roomy with more than enough space for large groups, as well as cosy corners for date night. Trendy industrial-looking wooden and metal fixtures plus some twinkling fairy lights make this one of the most aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces in the city, and you can shelter under their practical parasols come (inevitable) rain or (rare but welcome) shine.
37-39 Leven Street, EH3 9LH – more info
The Three Sisters
If you’re a sports fan The Three Sisters has the Edinburgh beer garden for you, complete with live games on an enormous screen, endless cold pints and a buzzing atmosphere. On the rare occasion that there isn’t a popular football or rugby match going on, the courtyard here is still a lovely place to catch some rays and hang out with friends.
139 Cowgate, EH1 1JS – more info
George Street Bar and Grill
Although you might not think it, George Street Bar and Grill has a secret sun trap – otherwise known as their atrium – hidden up its sleeve. A reasonably sized outdoor courtyard in the centre of the building means that on a nice day sun-worshippers can be served lunch or just some refreshing drinks while soaking up the sunshine. Best of all, if the temperamental Scottish weather takes a turn for the worst, you won’t have far to run for cover.
130 George Street, EH2 4HQ – more info
The Beehive Inn
The beautifully cobbled and peacefully pedestrianised Grassmarket is the ideal place for a beer-garden-cum-pavement-café, and the majority of bars and restaurants here take advantage of their location during the warmer months. The Beehive Inn is one of many pubs here with plenty of tables out front for people-watching, but they also have a decked beer garden hidden away at the back with stunning views of the Castle. A big tree and plenty of parasols will provide shade here on a sweltering day, but there are plenty of sunny seats too.
18-22 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU – more info
Students, professionals and tourists alike flock to The Peartree’s beer garden on sunny days, so it’s lucky that this is probably the roomiest beer garden in Edinburgh. With picnic tables galore and some sheltered seating there’s room for everyone, and their outdoor bar means you don’t even have to walk indoors to get another round in – genius.
38 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DD – more info
The Leith Beer Co.
Another pavement beer garden, but this time with a front row view of the Water of Leith in the trendy Shore area. Forget the Seine in Paris – you can spend a balmy summer’s evening watching the world going by from a table outside The Leith Beer Co. for just the cost of a beer (or two).
58 The Shore, EH6 6RD – more info
It’s slap bang in the West End but it doesn’t feel like it. Set on a cobbled lane, this bar attracts after-work drinkers by the dozen with its cocktails, food deals and small outdoor area.
7 Charlotte Lane, EH2 4QZ, more info
Tucked in off popular Broughton Street, this beer garden may not always catch the sun, but it’s a great pre-club option with DJs in the bar, and a good-time crowd.
12A Broughton St Ln, EH1 3LY, more info
Main image: Getty Images
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