Propping up the bar is a no-go as Covid-19 measures now discourage drinkers from standing while ordering or drinking a beer, and with that there has been a big move towards table service and drinking outdoors.
There are a growing number of options for city drinkers to enjoy a get-together al fresco and with moves by the city council to reduce traffic in the city centre and increase outside space around hospitality venues, Edinburgh could rival other European capitals where eating and drinking outside is the norm.
The Cold Town House in the Grassmarket led the charge when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited just before the relaxation of measures on outdoor areas, while the wider Grassmarket area has benefited as a place where bars and restaurants have traditionally offered outside eating and drinking. The Pear Tree, with 50 tables a huge TV screen and BBQ area, continues to enjoy its status as a Southside favourite, while just off Broughton Street, The Outhouse was concerned it remained an unknown outsider and commissioned a catchy video to tell potential clients of its sunny beer garden.
In the New Town, the Cumberland Bar hopes drinkers will take a butcher’s at their outside facilities and is in stellar company with neighbour the Star Bar shining a light on its small but perfectly formed outside area. Deeper in to Stockbridge and adjoining The Neighbourgood Market on the site of Grange cricket ground is the popular family friendly The Raeburn.
In Morningside, the once infamous but now spruced up Canny Man’s has a large beer garden area and while venturing inside visitors can marvel at the stark “No mobile phones” sign which is a relic from the days of a former no-nonsense licensee. Up the hill and close to the King’s Theatre the trendy Blackbird in Leven Street claims to be home to “the best beer garden in Edinburgh (probably)” as you would if you were a former winner of the Scottish Style Awards.
And for those who like their food and beverages served with a splash of culture, the grounds of the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art have reopened with a pop-up café serving coffee and cake for visitors who can wander through specially created sculpture trails in Modern One and Two free of charge. The gallery buildings remain closed but staff are working hard towards a phased reopening later this month.
The much talked about The Little Chartroom visits the seaside from 1 August with a pop-up BBQ offering on Portobello Beach, Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 6pm or sold out.