There’s something really satisfying about ending the day by sitting outside with a cool drink in hand as the sun is beginning to sink lower in the sky. At this time of year – late June – the sun lingers, and you can be outside, drink in hand, until late into the evening. But where should you be?
Given the beautiful Scottish climate and its propensity for pouring with rain there aren’t nearly as many as places with outdoor areas as you might find further south or on the continent. That’s not to say that you need to take your bottle to the local park or a street corner though; if you know where to go then there are plenty of places about town to relax in.
The Pear Tree
Probably Edinburgh’s largest outdoor beer ‘garden’, the Pear Tree offers a wide selection of picnic benches to choose from as (what often feels like) half of the city’s population descends on it. Throughout the summer they capitalise on this and all the things going on around them with a stage in one corner. Sometimes showing sport, other times with local bands or acts, there’s usually some sort of entertainment on at the weekends and other busy days.
It might seem odd to add four different restaurants and bars in one, but they all share a few things in common, and are pretty much all next door to one an other at the western end of George Street. Not the most original of choices, and often a bit over run (on a sunny afternoon their limited outdoor seating fills up pretty quickly) but each carries its own charm and over the next few weeks as George Street’s pavements are broadened there will be loads more seats to choose from.
There is more outdoor seating planned though – full details here.
Hidden away in the blocks and mews of the New Town, the Cumberland Bar is not necessarily obvious unless you know it is there. And in fact most people who know it probably discovered it whilst out for a walk one day. Serving a variey of well known brews and some craft beers, as well as a variety of spirits this is probably the best of these options for those who like their beer and want to escape the madness of Princes Street. Its mainly a locals bar, but its sunken garden is full of benches and picnic tables to share a joke over and everyone is welcome (there’ll probably be a few dogs around as well).
The Golf Tavern
A bit out of the way if you’re in the dead centre of town, but those heading up to Marchmont will find this local favourite the perfect place for the summer (and winter, for that matter). Whilst it doesn’t have an actual beer garden, its position on the edge of Bruntsfield Links allows you to chill out on the grass right throughout lazy afternoons and evenings. If you’re feeling a little more active there’s also the Meadows Short [golf] Course right beside it – the Golf (as its often known) offers some excellent deals that include golf clubs and a drink, so there’s really no excuse for not trying your pitch-and-put skills.
If you’re down in Leith you’ll struggle to find somewhere more appealing than Teuchters to spend a few sunny hours. Sitting on the edge of the old quays, this is a little hidden away, but boasts a large outdoor seating area by the water’s edge. With great beers, spirits and snack foods served by the mug-full this place is crying out for long summers evenings and good company.
And that is our list. There are loads more places – Rose Street is virtually pedestrianised and Marchmont, Leith and Broughton street all have places with a few seats outside – to choose from, but these are the few we chose. Where would be your pick and why? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.