Glasgow's best beer gardens
The Chip is one of the West End’s best-known boozers, however, its roof terrace is one of its lesser-publicized features. Perhaps because it's tiny – there’s room enough for perhaps just 30 or so people at a very tight squeeze, at a handful of small tables and fitted benches running along the outer railings. Nab a space, though, and you’ll enjoy a panoramic vista across the Hillhead rooftops that feels a world away from central Glasgow. With heat lamps and a license that runs as long as the pub is open, you can even continue your open-air drinking session past dark until closing time.
Once but a bare, unmarked slope of burnt grass at the rear of the pub casually used by drinkers spilling out of the conservatory on hot days, Belgian-themed bar Brel on Ashton Lane has put a lot of work into claiming and upgrading their beer garden in recent years. There are now lots of permanent tables and benches, and a substantial covered area for outdoor drinking and dining even when the weather turns. Plenty of grassy bum space remains on the hillside too, and its all well used when temperatures permit – people flock here, students in particular (it's right by Glasgow uni), to enjoy strong continental beers beneath a hot sun.
One of the only beer gardens in the city centre, Charles Bukowski-homaging bourbon bar and restaurant Chinaski’s al fresco eating and drinking locale can be find at the rear side in an enclosed courtyard. It’s small (small is a theme with Glasgow beer gardens, you’ll notice) but perfectly formed – a few covered tables on a wooden balcony as you step out the rear door of the bar, then at the bottom of some steps, a paved space with fitted wooden tables and picnic benches. You don’t get a huge amount of sun, ringed as it is with tall buildings, but it’s well kept and equipped, with lush greenery and heat lamps and a barbecue. You can hire it out for private parties if you feel like gambling on the weather.
No Bavarian-inspired brewery anywhere in the world would be complete without a sizeable beer garden, and WEST boasts the biggest and best in Glasgow. We’re not talking the 8,000-seater Hirschgarten here or anything – just a modest spread of 20 or so picnic benches and tables. But there’s plenty of grass to pitch up on too, and with open views over Glasgow Green you get lots of direct sunlight (subject to availability). Perfect for sloshing back a few big frothy St Mungos of a warm afternoon.
This one’s comfortably the most out-of-the-way pick on our list, situated as it is way out in the wilds of Anniesland, but it's not quite as challenging to reach as you’d think – especially if you’re a keen walker or cyclist. Lock 27 is a pub and restaurant situated, as the name rather suggests, at Lock 27 on the Forth & Clyde Canal. Its parasol-equipped outdoor tables row the south bank of the canal right on the tow-path, making it a perfect stop-off for a well-deserved tipple of a warm day’s trekking or pedaling along this lengthy swans-populated waterway, which runs all the way from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Not that we’re advocating drunken cycling or anything (we are).