Technically speaking, all drinking patios are great, because they're patios, and you can drink on them. So we set out to round up patios that went above and beyond being excellent places to tilt back a cold one, whether that meant an awesome layout, crazy decor, or peerless additional perks (like the option to feast on a whole animal under the stars, or... albino peacocks). Get yourself to one of these 21 spots fast, then leave as slowly as possible.
Chicago, IL (address and info)
Nothing says "summer" like Frontier shedding its protective patio covering, and nothing says "outdoors" quite like feasting on a whole animal -- except maybe cutting down a redwood while feasting on said whole animal. Since there are no redwoods in the middle of Chicago, go for the whole alligator or the farm-raised pig at this Noble Square outpost. Or, if you want something more prepared, try the Davy Crockett-approved (surely) turtle bolognese.
2. High Five Diner
Atlanta, GA (address and info)
Befitting a diner with an all-you-can-eat “Cereal Killer” package, this patio is all about the indoor-outdoor breakfast bar. The most important meal of the day is served all day here, so grab a stool and settle in for eggs whenever you want them, alongside traditional diner fare. No need to be an actual trucker to get your friends to call you Mel.
3. Roadside Attraction
Portland, OR (address and info)
Dive bars don't have to be summer-less, dingy, indoor caves. In fact, they can be awesome outdoor patios with cheap beers, load-your-own fire pits, and thrift-store décor. Anything to keep Portland weird and get hipsters some vitamin D.
4. Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
Minneapolis, MN (address and info)
We could tell you about the house-made syrups that power the delicious tiki drinks (like the Tropical White Russian!). We could also tell you about the Grainbelt-Battered Cheeses Curds and the river-view, voodoo-decorated patio. But, Psycho Suzi’s slogan sort of speaks for itself: “Sustaining Mental Health Since 2003.” Cheers to that.
Los Angeles, CA (address and info)
In addition to cold beer in a hot land, EightyTwo (one word, grammar snobs) in downtown LA’s Art District has wall-to-wall arcade games (e.g. pinball, Ms. Pac Man, Street Fighter, the necessaries), and accordant ‘80s music. The arcade room bleeds into the patio, as the weather permits a patio with au courant food truck in lieu of a wall. So you can play video games and get some fresh air.
Denver, CO (address and info)
Ace houses three distinct spaces, including a year-round patio with metric tons of ping-pong, within an industrial, converted garage space made entirely of recycled materials. Fuel those open-air Forrest Gump impersonations with delicious Asian-fusion dishes like Baja Hamachi Sashimi and Mongolian Beef with Thai chilies.
7. Graffiti Bar Sampan
Philadelphia, PA (address and info)
Sampan's 30-seat patio to the rear of the Asian restaurant of the same name hipster-izes the outdoor hang with custom tabletop graffiti by local spray-paint artists. A glass overhang ensures that rogue weather won't spoil apps like edamame dumplings or Hamachi ceviche, or the game -- which you can catch on the TVs behind the bar.
8. The Broken Shaker
Miami, FL (address and info)
The mixologists behind The Broken Shaker took their studies as far as NOLA and Oaxaca before setting up in Miami with sophisticated cocktails and a location to match. Its wide-open patio and garden space isn't just for show -- every fruit and herb is destined for a glass, so you can literally watch your garnish grow.
9. Cheer Up Charlie’s
Austin, TX (address and info)
Austin has a patio scene, but Charlie’s wins out due to sheer size, and the fact that weather coverage is provided by a giant military parachute. Hit up the food truck out back after grabbing a Kambucha on tap from the vegan bar. Oh yeah, this place has a vegan juice bar and beer-- fun for all.
10. Chicken Scratch and The Foundry
Dallas, TX (address and info)
Dallas’s one-two patio punch is the co-owned Chicken Scratch biscuit purveyor and its neighbor, venue-bar-backyard combo Foundry. The patio at the latter hosts rock acts on a factory pallet stage, and the former stuffs your face with Fork & Knife Chicken Finger Biscuits and new takes on southern classics like Chicken and Coconut Waffles.
11. The Sinclair
Boston, MA (address and info)
The Sinclair in Harvard Square is only a few years old, but as a flagship Bowery Presents venue and a feeder for larger clubs, it’s already making a name for itself as a Boston rock fixture. Forget what you know about rock venues: this spot makes the list because it has a patio overlooking Harvard Square. Slurp back oysters and nosh on Dirty Rice Arancini then... class up that mosh pit.
12. Mission Bowling Club
San Francisco, CA (address and info)
This hep-cat bowling alley has six regulation lanes, locally sourced food, and a covered patio walled by shelves of shrubs, AKA a "living wall" (but it's not listening). Aside from menu picks like beef cheek fries, its worth checking out for the clientele, which includes some of the owners' dogs.
13. Bastille Café & Bar
Seattle, WA (address and info)
Tour Bastille's cool-as-hell 4500-square-feet rooftop herb garden every Monday, from April through September, you know, just to check on the ingredients. The patio is covered because Seattle, and also heated, so you can enjoy whatever mad French thing you’ve ordered, the half-lit vibe, and Seattle’s so-called “most soulful" 'hood, come rain or shine.
San Diego, CA (address and info)
Key West meets Europe at this palm-frocked patio, which describes itself as "the happiest place south of Disneyland" on account of its tree-shaded seating, full bar and ... cupcakes. Go the sweet route with blood orange or red velvet, or hit the savory corncake with avocado and salsa, or the meaty menu's pulled pork sliders. Mickey's got nothin'.
15. The Bulldog
New Orleans, LA (address and info)
NOLA is known for open-air hang sessions, and the Bulldog does not stray from the pack with a 50-beer spigot-tap fountain and a dog-friendly patio. The Bulldog sets itself apart, however, because they also take their beer very seriously, employing nitrogen-C02 taps for better taste and a $5000 dishwasher designed specifically to wash pint glasses. You even get to keep those super clean pint glasses if you order one up on Wednesday. Southern hospitality, y’all.
Washington, DC (address and info)
With a vine-laden patio kitted out to resemble an Italian villa, Vinoteca is a little slice of Sicily right in our nation’s capital. That is, if Sicily hooked you up with a regulation bocce court, a Vino Cheddar Burger, and Wheatberry Risotto. La dolce vita.
17. El Camino
Louisville, KY (address and info)
A light summer lager on a patio over some epic Tex Mex is pretty much summer 101. Add that Camino’s patio plays surf music (mostly via vinyl) and serves up Kale-Barbacoa-Chorizo burritos, and you’ll be ditching the beach, like every weekend, for this joint.
18. Edmund's Oast
Charleston, SC (address and info)
The covered patio at Edmund's Oast serves up farm-to-table food like braised-lamb meatballs, live bluegrass music, and a comprehensive beer and craft cocktail list. Keep an eye on the summer schedule for beer and liquor master classes, so you can ask the barman even better questions.
19. Crown Victoria
New York, NY (address and info)
The number of outdoor drinking spots in New York, from flea markets to rooftops, is sky high. But head to the off-the-Bedford-path Williamsburg hang Crown Victoria for its huge patio and plentiful picnic tables. They also bring in food trucks, host summer bonfires that even accidents, and do it all with a 24-draft beer menu. It's not nearly as crowded as its more central Williamsburg counterparts, so bring a crowd.
Hoboken, NJ (address and info)
This artisanal, wood-fired pizza joint is easy to miss but regularly rated among the best in the state. Come for the Neapolitan-style pies but stay for the patio, where comfy seating, a bocce court, and a BYOB policy make for one tough-to-leave spot. Screen up and clear your schedule.
21. Los Poblanos Organic Inn & Farm
Albuquerque, NM (address and info)
Located on an alpaca farm, Los Poblanos’ outdoor dining and drinking area is decidedly more exclusive than most of this here list (seriously, get a reservation). But on top of the top-notch eats (bourbon-glazed salmon), you can play a few games of bocce and check out the animals over a cold beer. A famed albino peacock is known to make an appearance, so don't freak out.