Even as restrictions continue to relax, we know that many of our clients and delegates are still keen on dining and socialising outdoors, particularly when visiting a new city and meeting new people. Despite the chilly autumn/winter weather, Edinburgh is home to a remarkable selection of year-round outdoor spaces to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat – from cosy heated courtyards to elegant rooftop bars. Here are 12 of our favourites.
After work drinks
Cold Town House, Grassmarket
A fairly new addition to Edinburgh’s bar scene, Cold Town House is spread over three floors and offers some of the city’s most stunning views. Guests can enjoy comfortable outdoor seating all year round – either sitting out in the hubbub of Grassmarket or relaxing within the stylish interior.
With Edinburgh Castle rising majestically above it, you can also kick back and enjoy the après-ski ambience on the rooftop bar. Fluffy blankets, gondola booths and covered seating will keep you warm and dry on cooler days. Head over to the repurposed vintage Nissan van/bar to order from a healthy selection of pizzas, burgers and more, as well as a broad selection of beverages, including beers from the in-house brewery.
coldtownhouse.co.uk | 0131 357 2865
The Royal Dick Bar, Summerhall
Situated on the southeast corner of the Meadows, Summerhall is a multi-purpose event and arts space that is also home to the Royal Dick Bar. Originally the Small Animal Hospital of the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies (AKA the Dick Vet), the bar has a quirky decor and a unique atmosphere, from its welcoming interior to its vast courtyard bar space.
With covered space and twinkling fairy lights, the courtyard bar is a perfect spot for outdoor drinks come rain or shine. Enjoy a Barney’s craft beer or Pickering’s gin and tonic, both of which are made on-site at Summerhall.
www.summerhall.co.uk/the-royal-dick | 0131 560 1572
The Blackbird, Bruntsfield
Home to one of Edinburgh’s most popular beer gardens, The Blackbird on Leven Street is a delightful spot for quirky cocktails and street food-style bites. Just a stone’s throw away from the EICC, the Blackbird is perfect for an outdoor gathering, having appeared on The Times’ 2021 list of the 30 best cocktail bars and terraces in the UK. Complete with cushioned seating and fairy lights, you can keep the festivities going even when the night begins to draw in.
theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk | 0131 228 2280
The Fishmarket, Newhaven
If you’re taking a trip down to the seafront (a must on a visit to Edinburgh), The Fishmarket in Newhaven is the perfect destination for a casual lunch or supper enjoyed outdoors. With a bright and airy interior, as well as comfortable outdoor seating overlooking the harbour, it is perfect for a balmy evening by the sea. The menu includes fresh fish, oysters and langoustines from today’s catch that can be paired with a glass of wine, or a local beer.
Alternatively, you can grab fish and chips (arguably the best in the city) to take away and find yourself a spot along the stretch of Newhaven’s coast, where you can enjoy views of the Firth of Forth, the Newhaven lighthouse and over to the Forth Bridge.
www.thefishmarketnewhaven.co.uk | 0131 552 8262
Sheep Heid Inn, Duddingston
Duddingston, a historic village in the east of Edinburgh, can be reached on foot, by bike or by bus down the low road that runs parallel to Arthur’s Seat. There you will find the Sheep Heid Inn, a snug and stylish gastro-pub once visited by the Queen on her way home from the Musselburgh Races. On the menu is a range of hearty mains and sharing platters, Sunday roasts and vegetarian and vegan options.
As well as its elegant interior, the Sheep Heid has a pretty beer garden for outdoor drinking and dining year-round. On warm days, it is a sun trap, but it also has covered areas for wet weather days, making it ideal for drinks or a post-walk roast, whatever the weather. This hidden gem is also home to its very own traditional skittles alley – perfect for groups looking for a fun and unconventional night out.
www.thesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk | 0131 661 7974
Divino Enoteca, Old Town
Upmarket Italian restaurant and wine bar Divino Enoteca is a great place to enjoy a fine dining experience in an atmospheric outdoor space. Tucked away in the restaurant is a pretty and cosy courtyard surrounded by stone walls, with heaters and an enchanting roof of fairy lights. There you can enjoy classic Italian cuisine such as tagliatelle alla bolognese and frittura mista, alongside a fine wine from Divino’s extensive list. Winner of the Scottish Italian Awards ‘Most Romantic Restaurant’, it’s the perfect choice for an intimate dinner for two or an elegant work night out in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
https://www.vittoriagroup.co.uk/divinoenoteca/ 0131 225 1770
Indigo Yard, West End
Just a ten-minute walk from the EICC, Indigo Yard is a stylish setting in which to enjoy rustic food and drink in Edinburgh’s West End. Their outdoor courtyard, covered by large parasols, is full of character and offers a sheltered space to share food and drink in the open air.
Whatever the time, mood or occasion, Indigo Yard can provide – it’s open every day from 9am to 1am, serving boozy brunches, elegant mains and bar bites, as well as an extensive drinks menu.
www.indigoyardedinburgh.co.uk | 0131 220 5603
Street food style
Rose Street Garden
Found behind The Dome, the Rose Street Garden is Edinburgh city centre’s premier outdoor venue. Frequented by stars like Scottish footballing legend Scott Brown and Line of Duty’s Martin Compston (after whom they named the Compston-politan), it serves a wide selection of gins, cocktails and shooters, alongside an indulgent street food-style menu that includes pizza, bao buns and dirty fries.
With comfortable outdoor sofas, giant umbrellas and cosy heaters, Rose Street Garden was a real hit during coronavirus restrictions and will continue to be a convenient and comfortable pit stop during the colder months. They even provide outdoor entertainment into the wee hours, with DJs hosted in their late-night garden 7 days a week, from 8pm to 1am.
Bear in mind, this is a very popular spot – be sure to book in advance!
www.rosestreetgarden.com | 0131 624 8633
The Pitt, Leith
On Pitt Street in the heart of Leith, The Pitt is an independent street food market that opens every Friday to Sunday. The market hosts vendors of award-winning edible delights, locally brewed craft beers, wine and desserts. There’s truly something for everyone, with plenty of plant-based choices – you’ll want to go back again and again.
Although a little out from the city centre, The Pitt is a place to spend an afternoon, indulging in delicious food and drink while supporting local businesses. There’s plenty of outdoor seating space on offer (often replete with a fire pit), whilst the indoor space, in old warehouse, is still open-plan and airy.
www.thepitt.co.uk | 07534 157477
Coffee, cake and brunch
Just 300m away from the EICC, Loudons Fountainbridge is a fantastic choice for coffee and cake, brunch and casual lunches. Bright and airy inside, its tranquil atmosphere spills out into the spacious outdoor seating area, which is sectioned off from the street.
Loudons serves a range of delicious food, from pancakes to burgers to cooked breakfasts, with plenty of plant-based and gluten-free options. To drink, they have locally produced Artisan Roast coffee, a selection of teas and freshly squeezed juices, or for a boozy brunch, you can also order beers, wine and cocktails.
www.loudons.co.uk | 0131 228 9774
The Terrace Cafe, Botanic Gardens, Stockbridge
After you’ve taken a stroll around Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, the obvious next stop is The Terrace: a bright, newly renovated cafe located inside the gardens next to Inverleith House. There’s a vast outdoor seating area overlooking Inverleith Lawn and the Castle in the distance, so you can sit safely and comfortably amongst nature all year round.
Enjoy delicious baked goods made on-site, savoury bites and a range of artisan coffees and teas; low-gluten and vegan options are plentiful. For a real treat, order the ‘Botanical Afternoon Tea’ in advance – a selection of savoury and sweet treats, a glass of fizz and an edible plant pot!
www.rbge.org.uk | 0131 552 0616
Söderberg, The Meadows
With six premises around the city, Söderberg is known and loved in Edinburgh for its quality coffee, delicious Swedish baking and open airy spaces. The Meadows cafe in the Quartermile development has plenty of outdoor seating on its sun-drenched patio, which is a particularly pleasant place to be on a bright autumn day with crisp leaves surrounding you.
The cafe has blankets on hand to keep you warm while you enjoy a kardemummabullar (cardamom bun) or an open sandwich and a cup of artisan coffee. The cardamom hot chocolate is a luxurious treat, bringing warmth and spice to even the most chilly Edinburgh day.
www.soderberg.uk | 0131 228 5876