Outside is the new inside


Despite confusion reigning over the rules right now, here are ten of the best pub outside areas in Scotland – because outside is the new inside.


The Lisini Pub Company refurbished a few areas in four of its venues in October last year – including the outside area of Angles in Uddingston. They wanted to create a third space outside with its own bar to replace the temporary one, complete with app ordering to minimise queues.  So that’s exactly what MD Lisa Wishart and sister Siobhan Edwards, Lisini’s Marketing and Purchasing Director, did. The jewel in the crown is the bar designed by Frank Adams. It combines cut glass inside, cork, a living wall of fresh mint. Also looking good is all the new seating, including higher tables, and while this area looks fab during the day, it looks magical in the evening because of the creative use of lighting.

Brig & Barrel


Antos Dog-Friendly Pub of the Year is now officially The Brig and Barrel in Dunbar after last year’s Scottish Bar & Pub awards thanks to the efforts of owners James and Sarah Hughes and Labrador Fozzie. It’s very dog friendly. The pub is right between the Famous Bridge to Nowhere and the 300-year-old Belhaven Brewery and its outside area is absolutely on point. It’s all decked with wood heavy furniture that screams built-to-last. It backs onto a greenfield area at the very back and with lots of gazebos and fairy lights and little conifers planted in a divider in the middle, it has lots of room for human and doggie social distancing.


Cranside Kitchen



Kevin Campbell and Toni Carbajosa opened the 200-capacity Cranside Kitchen on Glasgow’s Tunnel Street in Finnieston in July last year right in the eye of the pandemic storm. The outdoor restaurant venue offers menus from nine restaurants plus pop-ups. The two centrepiece ‘pergola’ style marquees cover customers when it’s wet, plus it has lots of greenery, industrial walls, picnic tables and outdoor furnishings. The Rotunda parking area has been was altered into the outside restaurant venue that gives space for food service, plus Cranside offers its customers cracking views of the Clyde.


The Giddy Goose (main picture)


Lauren and Calum Runciman are past winners of the Scottish Bar & Pub Awards Emerging Entrepreneur accolade for their Dundee businesses, The White Goose and The Giddy Goose. They designed the outside area at The Giddy Goose themselves and its quirkiness was its strength. But they’ve been at it again redesigning the outside area and gone are the pergolas, lights, wooden bench seating, floral arrangements, even a swing, and in their place is their new Bohemian Garden creation with lots more space between the original wooden booths that line this outside area’s curvature which has also helped afford more of the tables a view of the Tay.


Hugo’s Café Bar

Dalgetty Bay

Licensed Trade Hero 2020 was a brand new category at last year’s Scottish Bar & Pub awards honouring those that went above and beyond during the Covid crisis. Sarah Allan & Jamie Pryce of Hugo’s Cafe Bar & Louie Brown’s Bar Kitchen & Deli, both in Dalgety Bay, walked away with this award. Among their roster of great achievements is their beer garden at Hugo’s Café Bar. What a gem. Spacious and clean, it’s a lovely wee spot with lots of greenery and the colourful outside of the pub with its yellow sign all add to the ambience and there’s plenty of fresh air circulating here to make this a safe space.


The Fort Hotel

Broughty Ferry

Licensee John Black’s outside area at The Fort Hotel in Broughty Ferry is the current holder of the Scottish Bar & Pub awards Kopparberg Best and Most Improved Outside Area accolade. John and his team worked flat out to build it last summer in the former car park as a response to the Covid crisis and the result was a 72-capacity outside space made to accommodate social distancing. Beautiful decking and canopy plus lights and glass panel separators between the tables and flowers and plant boxes for miles are some of its standout features. The flora and fauna truly make this outside area one of the best for miles. It’s also heated.


The Liquid Rooms


John ‘Mick’ McWilliams Edinburgh music venue the Liquid Room has a beer garden and a half – in fact one satisfied customer on its Facebook page described it as ‘the best beer garden in town.’ It’s a walled courtyard with a huge parasol and some attractive lights. It has bench seating and more banquette-style seating too. It looks just as good in the day as it does at night.



The Locale


Josh Barr’s first venture without father Colin that he’s leasing from Fergus McVicar has a really interesting and creative look as well as a name, as Josh has christened it a Beer Yard. It really is the jewel in the crown of this place. With a 120 capacity, it was treated to new concrete floors as part of its £100k renovation back in 2019 as well as lots of other works such as updating the terrace area, which is now enclosed, complete with heaters. German-style beer benches in orange really pop, plus there are BBQs, fire-pits, and lots of plants.



Pear Tree


The Pear Tree has a huge outside area with over 50 benches and 260 capacity and an equally as ginormous TV screen. This 18th-century pub is still a big hit with customers from students to locals and this is one beer garden that will have less of a job to keep customers what the government tells us has been decreed by science a safe distance apart.  When it opened in July last year after lockdown, customers were greeted at the entrance with a digital temperature check and then shown to a table where there was a QR code waiting and instructions on how to use the order and pay app. It was developed at the time by Jay Glass of parent company Caledonian Heritable.

172 at The Caird

Jimmy Marr’s Perth Road Pub Company operates the 172 at The Caird and late last year financial pressures caused by Covid-19 forced his tenant-landlord to hand back the keys so Jimmy took back the running of the bar and restaurant himself. Ahead of the reopening, Jimmy has installed marquees for the beer garden and customised 10 pods – wooden, covered style picnic benches to seat six – to allow customers to stay dry when sitting outside.  The patio area at The Caird is a real suntrap and has some stunning scenic river views.


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Tags: outside areas, pubs, refurbishments, reopening,