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A view of Edinburgh Castle from the Cold Town House bar
Photograph: Cold Town House

The 12 best beer gardens in Edinburgh

Fancy some sunshine with your pint? Here’s our pick of the best beer gardens in Edinburgh

Arusa Qureshi
Written by
Niki Boyle
&
Arusa Qureshi
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Despite what many assume about Scotland, we do have the occasional warm, sunny day and when that happens, you best believe everyone will be making the most of it. Whether you’re a beach-goer or a keen outdoor enthusiast, one place most people will enjoy on a scorching afternoon is a classic local establishment with a beer garden. And luckily, Edinburgh has plenty to choose from, and many are popular come rain or shine.

If you’ve already read up on the best pubs and bars to visit in Edinburgh, here’s a list of places that will let you take your pint outside. So whether you’re meeting friends for a drink in the open air or just looking to enjoy your own company in the sunshine, check out one or more of these brilliant beer gardens in Edinburgh.

Best beer gardens in Edinburgh

  • Art
  • Arts centres

Edinburgh’s best multi-arts venue comes into its own as a bustling hub during the Festival month of August, but the courtyard space in the centre of this former vet school is a year-round destination for drinkers and diners at its Royal Dick bar.

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  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs

Fancy a beer garden with a view of Edinburgh Castle? Look no further than the Grassmarket, where you’ll find the laid-back rooftop terrace bar of Cold Town House. They serve their own Cold Town Beer, born and brewed in the city, plus pizzas, loaded fries, burgers and plenty more. 

No one should be left out when it comes to being able to enjoy an ice cold pint on a warm day, and that’s exactly the kind of thinking that Bellfield operate under. All of their beers are not only delicious but also gluten-free, certified by Coeliac UK and registered with the Vegan Society. The Taproom and Beer Garden are both located next to their brewery in Abbeyhill with tours, tastings, food pop-ups, quiz nights and more on offer throughout the year.

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  • Bars and pubs

If you’re willing to walk around 15 minutes north of Princes Street into the heart of the New Town, the Cumberland is a great find. From the hanging baskets and beer garden outside to the warren of rooms inside with their simple, traditional decor, you can tell this is a highly civilised pub. Where some bars have a time of day – or year – that suits them best the Cumberland is more multifaceted. You would be as happy here with a seat in the beer garden on a summer’s night as you might hiding away from a Scottish winter some dark January afternoon.

  • Bars and pubs

It may be overshadowed by the tall Cowgate buildings around it, but there’s no question this is one of Edinburgh’s most bustling beer gardens, particularly at night thanks to its huge screen showing sports.

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On St. Leonard’s Lane, right by Holyrood Park, you’ll find a 180-year-old building that has been beautifully renovated into a distillery, which you can tour and experience at your leisure. The folks at Holyrood Distillery make high-quality spirits but their Courtyard Bar is an excellent place to hang out in the sunshine too. You’ll be able to try out their finest drinks, plus local beer options and food from nearby Luxford Burger, who will deliver direct from their kitchen to your table.

  • Bars and pubs

Tucked away where only locals and true aficionados can find it, Outhouse is a lot better than its toilet humour name might suggest. The drinks menu in this friendly hangout is eclectic, with plenty of space in the backyard beer garden for a sunny afternoon out with friends.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels

This boutique hotel housed in a former Georgian family home occupies a cosy nook in the well-heeled Stockbridge neighbourhood. The restaurant serves afternoon tea and delicious Sunday roasts, but for a refreshing drink outdoors, take a seat in the beer garden, which is kitted out with stylish benches as well as heaters in case the temperature suddenly drops. Order one of their many craft beers or ciders, or go for a classic cocktail or a wine from their extensive list.

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  • Bars and pubs

Set right on Portobello promenade and yards from the beach, the Espy’s idyllic outdoor area is open all year round, serving good food, breakfasts and typically friendly local pub fare inside.

  • Bars and pubs

Part of Edinburgh’s A Room in... mini-chain, Teuchter’s Landing serves great craft beers and affordable, mug-based bar snacks on the small fixed pontoon moored where the Shore’s dock meets the Water of Leith.

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