The amount of pubs in Edinburgh is extensive, how do you know which ones to visit first? From old, traditional pubs to trendy watering holes, Edinburgh has something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for. With so much choice and outside space being more important than ever, we wanted to give you a run-down of the best beer gardens in the City.
As they say in Scotland, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, so grab a jacket, head to one of these outdoor drinking dens and enjoy!
Pear Tree – A student favourite
Sitting directly opposite the central University of Edinburgh campus at George Square, the Pear Tree is a firm favourite with students and is recognised as one of the best beer gardens in the city. The large cobbled courtyard, jutting out from one of the oldest buildings in the area, is full of wooden benches and boasts a large screen for sports as well as a stage for live music.
Not only do they offer a great selection of beers, ciders, wine and spirits, but they also have an extensive food menu offering great pub grub including burgers, nachos and chicken wings, all with a discount if you show your student card.
On a sunny day, the atmosphere is incredible. Without a doubt, the Pear Tree should be top of your list of beer gardens to visit while living in Edinburgh.
The Three Sisters Bar – For a party atmosphere
Sitting in the depths of the Cowgate is The Three Sisters Bar, another strong favourite for students in Edinburgh. Touted as ‘The Best Sports Bar in Edinburgh’, The Three Sisters has a huge screen in the large courtyard in the front of the bar (as well as flat screens throughout the bar inside). For the bigger live sporting events, they open up an outdoor bar and food stalls so you don’t even need to go inside.
The bar itself is styled as ‘Your Union Bar’ for students from all universities as well as it being a ‘student recommended’ venue, meaning they offer special student prices on selected food and refreshments. From beer and cocktails to burgers, pizzas and loaded fries, The Three Sisters is a fun, student-focused bar with a buzzing beer garden.
Cold Town House – For great views (and beer)
Cold Town House has the most breath-taking view from their roof terrace beer garden, it’s also one of the coolest beer gardens in town. Sitting in the Grassmarket, the roof terrace looks directly up at Edinburgh Castle, you’ll certainly get a few Instagram-worthy shots taken up here. The terrace has an apres-ski feel to it, with fluffy blankets, a fire pit and old gondolas that you can sit in and even a vintage van serving drinks so that you don’t even have to leave the terrace - this place has it all!
The beer in this brewhouse does not get much fresher as they have their own microbrewery on site and produce a range of their own, excellent Cold Town beers including lagers, pale ales and sour beers. Unsure of which to choose? Go with a tasting flight, with small glasses of each. And if you’re not into beer, they have a whole floor dedicated to prosecco, pizza (cooked in their wood-fired ovens) and hanging grills.
This place is certainly a must for any beer fans but it’s well worth the visit for the terrace view alone.
The Blackbird – For relaxing
Self-styled as ‘The Best Beer Garden in Edinburgh…probably’ is The Blackbird in Tollcross. The decked terrace to the rear of the bar is full of tables and chairs, twinkly lights and a covered area if the rain decides to make an appearance. The Blackbird invited artist ‘Mr Doodle’ (an English graffiti artist) to work his unique magic onto the walls around the terrace.
They won the Scottish Style Award in 2013 for their cool urban style, inside and out. Along with live music, they offer cocktails, craft beer and a great selection of food. With student discount on food, you can choose from a selection of chicken dishes, burgers, fries and salads (with veggie options), it won’t break the bank.
With a much more chilled out vibe than The Three Sisters, The Blackbird beer garden is well worth a visit, perhaps after a long day relaxing in the sun in the Meadows park nearby.
The Pitt – For food lovers
OK, technically not a beer garden but certainly a cool place to hang out and grab a drink in the fresh air with your friends. The Pitt Street Food Market, based in Leith, runs every Saturday and Sunday and offers a range of award-winning street food, craft beer, wine and desserts, as well as live music.
The Pitt champions local suppliers such as Barney’s (another Edinburgh based craft beer brewer) and Smith and Gertrude, a wine bar offshoot from their local wine and cheese café in Stockbridge. With regards to food, the Buffalo Truck (3-time Scottish Street Food Award winners), Barnacles & Bones (surf and turf) and MOO PIE gelato (dessert and hot drink experts) are all regulars. Guest street food vans are invited each week as well to keep you on your toes.
With benches indoors and tables outdoors, The Pitt is every food and drink lover’s dream and a place you’ll want to visit regularly.