Summer is almost upon us once again! The mornings are that little bit brighter, the mercury is slowly creeping higher, spring lambs are frolicking in the meadows, and the grim spectre of exam stress is now lurking just around the corner.
Once you’ve overcome those dreaded end-of-semester assessments, you’re perfectly entitled to kick back, enjoy some cold beverages, and enjoy the summer sun. With this in mind, here’s some of the best spots in Glasgow and Edinburgh to have a celebratory drink this summer.
THE THREE SISTERS
The Cowgate is home to perhaps the most famous Edinburgh beer garden; The Three Sisters. It almost seems an oversight to describe The Three Sisters as a bar, as it’s more of a hub of activity, spread across several areas.
On top of the beer halls and rooms that can be hired for functions, there’s the impressive courtyard. During festival season in August, expect this area to be crammed with tourists and people handing out leaflets.
THE BEEHIVE INN
Along the city’s iconic Grassmarket, in the shadow of Edinburgh castle, there’s a row of pubs and bars that attract tourists and visitors throughout the year. If you’re looking for a nice spot when the sun’s out, be sure to try the BeeHive Inn.
Like much of Edinburgh’s old town, tradition reigns supreme, and the BeeHive does a great job of invoking a traditional London pub. There’s seating both out the front and back, so you can make sure you’re always in the sun throughout the day.
If you find yourself on the West edge of the Meadows in need of a stylish tipple, you’ll be in the right neighbourhood to check out The Blackbird Bar and Restaurant. If you’re in the mood for a modern twist on traditional Scottish cuisine, then the Blackbird is the place for you.
They also offer an extensive drinks menu featuring exclusive cocktails for every occasion, and a glorious outdoor patio featuring artwork from the street artist Mr Doodle!
THE HANGING BAT
For those looking to get in the craft beer act on the East coast, the Hanging Bat on Lothian Road cuts out all the clutter and offers straight up beers and lagers. The trendy interior reflects the in vogue drinks behind the bar, and if you’re lucky, you’ll grab one of the seats that sits at street level outside the front door.
It’s the perfect spot to sit with a fine ale and contemplate the impending summer while people make their way up and down the street.
If you find yourself in the Edinburgh New town, you’ll be hard pressed to find a sleeker and cooler bar than The Street on Picardy Place.
Cocktails, beers, wines, pitchers and shooters. The Street has all of it, set in a modern, funky interior. Outside, there’s a sizeable seating area for you to enjoy your fancy drinks and soak up the unique atmosphere offered by this great pub.
To the East of the city’s Meadows area, you’ll find the arts and events venue, Summerhall. Throughout the festival period, this space hosts dozens and dozens of events and acts, representing the best in the arts community. Part of the venue, that was once a small animal hospital, has been converted into a bar called The Royal Dick (no giggling at the back!).
The inside has been creatively furnished to give the place a strong sense of character, and the bar offers a wide array of drinks, including gin from their next door neighbour; the Pickering’s Gin Distillery. There’s a large outside seating area off the street that keeps you separate from nearby traffic, and is the perfect place to unwind with a cool G&T.
Just within spitting distance of the Strathclyde student union, you’ll find the Ark. It’s the perfect stepping stone between the university and the city centre, with one of the biggest beer gardens in central Glasgow. Here you can try a broad selection of beers, wines and cocktails as well as decent food, all whilst controlling the music on the stereo. Worth remembering that although the Ark has a big beer garden, it’s also next to a big university next door, so it gets busy.
For those of you in the West End of Glasgow, there are few places that can offer a beer garden with the scenery of Kelvinbridge’s Inn Deep. Not only a great bar, but also a great spot for food, Inn Deep quite fittingly sits on the edge of the River Kelvin at the point where the river winds into Kelvingrove Park. Be on the look-out for cyclists and dog walkers following the path that runs along the main entrance to the bar!
THE VILLAGE HOTEL
This one is a little out of left field, but the Village Hotel is the perfect spot if you’re going to a show at the Hydro, or are planning on spending an evening across the river in Finnieston once the sun has disappeared.
Along with a cracking bar that’s somewhat undiscovered, you can also take advantage of the £1 burger with any drink deal that’s on every Friday, all within view of the regenerated Clyde.
If you’ve been in any bar in Scotland over the last couple of years, you’ll have seen that the country is in the midst of a craft beer phenomenon. The likes of the Brewdog and Drygate have put Scotland on the map as a leader of these fine ales and beers.
If you want a proper taste of the latter in appropriate surroundings, take a stroll down to the brewery that sits just a two minute walk from Glasgow Cathedral to the East of the city. There’s always a buzzing atmosphere of a summer’s evening, and plenty of heated areas for when the sun goes down.
THE RUM SHACK
For the discerning drinker wanting to stay south of the river, there’s plenty of bars and hotspots in the city’s up and coming Shawlands area. One of the trendy bars that’s worth checking out is The Rum Shack. If you’re looking for something beyond the usual beer and wine fayre, you won’t be disappointed.
Taking inspiration from the Caribbean, the drinks menu is full of rums and cocktails and there’s also jerk chicken dishes on offer. The beer garden is sizeable and catches the sun for most of the day.
Where the Rum Shack might be for those fond of spirits, if you’re in the market for beers, lagers, and ales the Bier Halle on Gordon Street is where you want to be.
Popular among the local student population for its famous two for one pizza deals, the seating area for the Bier Halle extends part of the way along Gordon Street, in front of TGI Fridays. It’s the perfect spot to do some people watching.
Like what you’ve seen above? Think we’ve missed an undiscovered gem? Let us know by tweeting us @TSA_Newspaper!