With summer just around the corner, there are few places better to make the most of those sunnier days than a beer garden.

Relaxing with a cold drink and enjoying the sun’s rays is a rare but welcome treat for us Scots. Thankfully, the country’s pubs, restaurants and bars are aware of the importance in soaking in a good atmosphere as well as the sunshine. Here are some of the most popular beer gardens to sample this summer…

Akva, Edinburgh

Akva has one of the largest beer gardens in Edinburgh located on the sunny quay of the Union Canal with room for over 200 people and its own outside bar. This quirky spot is a great place to sample their delicious menu and cocktails in the sun. The colourful beer garden buzzes with good vibes on a sunny day and is open for brunch from 11am weekdays and 10am on the weekends.

The Herald:

If you want to make the most of the summer days head down as early as possible. When the sun sets the fairy lights are switched on, so grab a blanket and keep soaking up the atmosphere into the wee small hours.

One of the best times to visit is when Akva host their Swedish Midsummer party on the 21st of June from 4pm where they have lots of tasty BBQ food, akvavit and of course traditional frog dancing round the maypole.

The Herald:

The BBQ can be hired for private parties alongside its own little beer hut - for enquiries please contact events@bodabar.com


Cùl Cùil, Glasgow

Cùl Cùil is much more than your ordinary beer garden. This summertime spectacle is split over a sunny raised wood terrace amongst plenty of ivies, flowering shrubs, jasmine, honeysuckle and other dramatic greenery. From above on the tiered mezzanine spot, you’ve got a gallery view over a twinkly festoon-lit garden patio, for when day turns into the night.

The Herald:

As well as recent kitchen and behind the scene enhancements, due to popular demand and because they like it up there, Cùl Cùil ‘s renowned Glasshouse area has just been extended across the whole mezzanine space. It's doubled in size, and with the windows open wide into the fully landscaped garden spectacle, it really could be "Outside you are in...”

The Cùil cosy, intimate vibe, and unique atmosphere, which has made it so special, since they opened, still remains. They’ve just made things a bit longer and cosier. Just think - the quirky appeal of spending a relaxing evening with friends sat in their secluded Glasshouse alcove or in the garden, listening to retro vinyl cuts.

The Herald:

Regular diners, special guest drinkers and weekend warriors are spoiled for choice when it comes to stepping inside or out, for a tipple or a tasty treat. There is taps tradition to top, craft beers, cosy cocktails, gin and rum renowned. Why not meat and greet over a chargrilled ribeye or share a creamy baked camembert with a bottle of red. Alternatively, you can settle down for a  handmade burger Oot the Back or dive into some seafood delights on the glass enclosed urban mezzanine.


Facebook: @CulCuil // Twitter @CulCuil // Instagram @CulCuil


The Old Mill Inn, Pitlochry

The Old Mill Inn is one of Scotland’s top pubs and country Inns as you’ll see from its burgeoning awards shelf when you visit. Just a short journey by car or train from the central belt make sure to include a visit this summer to the town’s most happening place to be.  

When you arrive, you’ll find a lovely stone-built Inn and a working water wheel, set back off the main street. With its friendly bar and sunny south facing beer garden there’s plenty of space, so grab your squad and head for a day out in the country where you can explore their wide range of whiskies, gins, cocktails, real ales and ciders alongside your usual top-quality bar brands. 

Their bistro is hugely popular and focusses on top quality local produce on their menu and specials board. Why not make a weekend of it and stay overnight in one of their luxurious 12 bedrooms allowing you to enjoy their live music every Friday and Saturday night? You can find all the details on gigs, menus and book rooms online at www.theoldmillpitlochry.co.uk

Mill Lane, Pitlochry PH16 5BH, 01796 474020



The Old Toll Bar, Glasgow

With a history going back to the 1870s, this wee hidden gem was described by the Victualling Trades Review, in 1893 as “the most handsome bar in Glasgow!” In Glasgow’s Kinning Park in the Southside of the River Clyde, on an unassuming corner of Paisley Road West sits The Old Toll Bar. Beautifully preserved since 1874, it is the doorway to a past age when architecture and ambience were considered inseparable.

The Herald:

Close to the busy Finnieston strip, and a short walk from the Hydro and STV and BBC studios, they host regular live music, a weekly comedy club and other events in the evening, lit by atmospheric candlelight, and in better weather, you can enjoy your drinks in the secluded beer garden. Step inside or out at The Old Toll Bar and experience a unique marriage of old-fashioned style and modern hospitality.

The Herald:

Monday – Wednesday – Special Drink Offers & Martinis and Oysters on a Monday.

Wednesday Night Pub Quiz.

Friday & Saturday Night - Funk Soul Disco DJ Sets

Saturday Afternoon - Live Traditional Music Sessions

Sunday Afternoon - Live Piano

Sunday Evening - Old Toll'd Comedy Club


Facebook: @theoldtollbarglasgow // Twitter @theoldtollbar // Instagram @theoldtollbarglasgow


The Castle Tavern, Inverness

The Castle Tavern is a family run, award winning traditional real ale pub and restaurant in the heart of Inverness. The venue is a listed building that was built around the mid 1700’s and has kept its charm from centuries past.

The venue has a bar, first floor restaurant and a beer garden that is open all year round. Guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of the Inverness Castle and River Ness.

The Herald:

The beer garden is dog friendly and has table service. Families with children are welcome in the beer garden and first floor restaurant.

With six real ale taps in its bar, the Tavern offers a very extensive drinks menu that includes locally produced ale, Scotch whisky and a selection of gin. Their seasonal food menus feature hearty made to order meals that use as much local produce as possible. They have seafood being delivered daily to ensure freshness.

Weather is unpredictable in the Highlands, so the beer garden is equipped with table umbrellas, a permanent canopy, electric and gas heaters. It’s hosted live entertainment with local musicians and the Inverness youth ceilidh band. There are two large screen TVs (venue has six screens in total) showing major sporting events aired on BT Sports and Sky Sports throughout the year.

The Herald:

The beer garden is home to a life-size fibreglass mould of the Striding Man – Johnnie Walker. He stands on a plinth and is said to be more photographed than the castle in the summer months!

The end/start of the Great Glen Way is just a few metres away and has proven to be a popular celebratory stop. The Castle Tavern provides a completion certificate, free of charge to commemorate the 78-mile journey from Fort William to Inverness.

The Castle Tavern is popular with both locals and tourists alike and prides itself in its warm and friendly hospitality.





The Oystercatcher, Otter Ferry

With arguably one of the best beer gardens in Scotland, The Oystercatcher sits only 20 meters from the banks of Loch Fyne. Just a two-hour drive from Glasgow down the scenic coastal road of the B8000 brings you to the beautiful Hamlet of Otter Ferry.

The Herald:

There are sailing boats moored in the natural harbour and views across to The Kintyre Peninsula. In good weather there is no better place to enjoy the array of fresh Scottish seafood. You can expect shellfish from Loch Fyne and local pork and lamb from the hills behind the restaurant. Accompanied by Fyne ales from the top of the loch, a rotating list of guest beers from across the UK, more than sixteen small batch gins from all across Scotland.

The Herald:

After all this you might want to grab a takeaway coffee and walk the dog down the coastal tracks surrounding the pub, lounge out front on the grass, or the beach. Or head inside to enjoy a great selection of Scottish single malt whisky by the bar. The Oystercatcher, Otter Ferry is a great day escape from the city.






The Machair, Glasgow

The Machair boasts a spacious beer garden where you can enjoy a fantastic range of beers and sample an expertly crafted and delicious menu created by ‘Lost Bothy’ while taking in the lively atmosphere of Glasgow’s West End.

Lost Bothy have taken over the kitchen at The Machair for the next couple of months and bring only the finest locally sourced produce from all around Scotland.

The Herald:

The aim is to bring restaurant quality food to the street. They take traditional dishes/concepts, add a touch of class, and revive the country’s traditional dishes to new exciting levels.

The Machair is open from 12pm until midnight every night. Guests can enjoy ‘Old Time Sessions’ held every Thursday, a pub quiz and roasts for meat eaters and vegans on a Sunday, craft beers and cocktails galore…there is something for everyone.

The Machair also provides a reliable delivery and takeaway service.

372-374 Great Western Road, G4 9HT

0141 337 3111