We know you’re already an expert on all the rooftops in NYC. But if you prefer your al fresco drinking (fine, and eating) to be both A) not 300,000 stories in the sky, and B) not at some super-obvious place (Frying Pan) or beer garden mobbed with stein chuggers, then you’ll want to consult this: our list of the best secret spots in Manhattan for backyard and/or patio imbibing -- “secret” because they’re a little less well known, not because you need to go through a rotating fireplace or whatever to get to them. (Probably.)
14 Secret Manhattan Patios You Need to Drink On
What you’re getting: All the wells, drafts, or house wines thanks to a variety of open bar packages
Irving Pl is one of those quaint little streets in Manhattan that seemingly comes out of nowhere, armed with all the great gems. Rival NYC is one of said gems, mostly because of its secret back garden. Enjoy your summery beers underneath illuminated trees and hipstery bare bulbs that’ll make you feel like you’re in a Mumford & Sons music video. Wait... are you in a Mumford & Sons music video???
What you’re getting: French wine
A tiny inside restaurant that looks like it can fit you, your date, and MAYBE your waiter is all a rouse when you head to the back of the restaurant and emerge onto a spacious, garden-y, Provencal-y patio. French cheese, crusty bread, and wine served in a canopied secret garden on otherwise-gritty 1st Ave.
What you’re getting: No need to go fancy here. Draft beer tastes pretty fancy outside.
Check out one of Nolita’s last remaining “dive” bars, if dive means a place you can still drink domestic beer from a bottle and where not every cocktail is served with a garnish and giant cube of ice. Make your way past the all-wood, low-to-the-ground benches, and NYFD paraphernalia to discover the door to its airy backyard garden.
What you’re getting: All the whiskey
Though you might think whiskey is meant for fireplaces and cozy armchairs and winter, it isn't. OK fine, it kinda is, but it’s even more meant for the summer on a back patio in Manhattan. Visit d.b.a.’s covert back patio. You’ll understand.
One-Line Save Venue
What you’re getting: Hurricane
You wouldn’t know it from the dark inside, where heavy curtains and a fireplace give it an almost dungeon-y vibe, but Ninth Ward has a sweet backyard where you can get your NOLA fix by ordering Hurricanes, Sazeracs, and its famous Bloody, Bloody Mary.
One-Line Save Venue
What you’re getting: Ground to Glass (Corralejo blanco tequila, red bell pepper puree, English cucumber, lime juice, orange bitters, hickory smoked salt)
Inside is everything you’d expect from a revamped Alphabet City bar: exposed brick, decorative whiskey barrels, lots of candles and hanging lightbulbs, and a long menu of sexy cocktails. But breeze past these “reclaimed” aesthetics and beeline your way to the backyard, where you can sip said sexy cocktails and snack on menu items like oysters and cheese from Murray’s. Winter bonus: in the colder months the backyard is heated and tented so you can still be outside if you REALLY want to. But the inside is pretty nice (read: warm), as well.
What you’re getting: Anything on one of the five pages of its bottled beer selections
The exposed brick in this bar’s backyard patio, along with the menu of barbecued things and bold meats (see: spicy tripe chili and pig’s head Reuben), will almost make this place worth the clientele of button-downed bros talking about finance and sailing.
What you’re getting: Draft beers & wells are $3 from 4-7pm, Monday-Friday. You can get Bloodys or mimosas for $5 all day on the weekends.
Not only does this unassuming dive off Ave C have a backyard patio, but it also has one of the most banging burgers in all of NYC. Put the two together and you are so very welcome.
What you're getting: Prison Sex (vodka, kiwi, St. Germain, peach, egg white, lime), OR build your own cocktail with its list of ingredients
You probably showed up to this bar thinking all you were getting was a subterranean speakeasy. But you’ll be pleased and delighted to discover its summery outdoor garden, as well. Here you can snack on the full bar menu, as well as enjoy signature cocktails by the pitcher. The bar itself is devoted to the street art of NYC and the backyard is no exception with walls scrawled with pieces by popular NYC street artists.
What you’re getting: Rye, bourbon, or whisky
Decked out like your grandmother’s forgotten potting shed, you’ll love this restaurant for its quirkiness, outdoor-iness, and menu of things like braised short ribs, wiener schnitzel, and goat cheese ravioli.
Upper East Side
What you’re getting: Wine
Just when you thought this rustic wine bar with its year-round back patio couldn’t get any better, you find out that it also has a thing called Meatball Mondays, which is a menu entirely composed of meatball dishes. Eating meatballs in the great outdoors is what all things great were built upon.
What you’re getting: Beer in a bottle or can
We swear we’re not trying to blow this place up after including it on last week’s list of the best outdoor spots in the city, it’s just that good/versatile. You might not actually be in the Caribbean, but head down the back stairs of this seafood restaurant to the blue-and-green wooden backyard patio and you’ll feel pretty close (except for the fact that you’re in Harlem and not the Caribbean at all). Sit at long picnic tables and chow down on Caribbean favorites like steamed shrimp, snow crab legs, and crawfish, along with jerk ribs and Belizean conch fritters.
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1. Revival Bar NYC129 E 15th St, New York
2. Tree Bistro190 1st Ave, New York
3. Sweet & Vicious5 Spring St, New York
4. d.b.a.41 1st Ave, New York
5. The Stag's Head252 E 51st St, New York
6. Ninth Ward180 2nd Ave, New York
7. Vol de Nuit148 W 4th Street, New York
8. The Summit Bar133 Ave C , New York
9. The Cannibal113 E 29th St, New York
10. Royale157 Ave C, New York
11. Mulberry Project149 Mulberry St, New York
12. Edi & The Wolf102 Ave C, New York
13. Uva Wine Bar & Restaurant1486 2nd Ave, New York
14. LoLo's Seafood Shack303 W 116th St, New York
Tucked away on Irving Place, this little gem has an outdoor patio complete with string lights, so you can fully enjoy a refreshing drink on a warm summer evening.
While the interior is tiny, the back patio is spacious and garden-y, the perfect setting for some french wine and a platter of cheese on a warm summer night.
Check out one of Nolita’s last remaining “dive” bars, if dive means a place you can still drink domestic beer from a bottle and not every cocktail is served with a garnish plus giant cube of ice. Make your way past the all-wood, low-to-the-ground benches and NYFD paraphernalia to discover the airy backyard garden. The graffitied patio is perfect for sipping on Mason jar margs -- Jargaritas -- and a stupidly long 2-7pm happy hour and stellar DJ have this place going at all times of the year.
Inside, d.b.a. is a dimly lit, neighborhood dive, while outside its giant -- by East Village standards, at least -- picnic table-laden backyard and covered patio are a welcome escape from the crowds. The extensive beer list changes, but expect a few rarities to the city, as well as a number of Abita brews on draft, a nod to the bar's New Orleans theme. If you can pry yourself away from the sudsy choices, you'll also find one of the best whiskey (the selection of single-malt Scotches is especially impressive) and tequila line-ups in the city.
The Stag's Head has happy hour everyday from 11-7 where you can score four dollar craft drafts as well as well drinks. They have regular craft beer tasting sessions from all the local breweries, if you're looking for something to do on a weekday or weekend night.
The Ninth Ward takes on the form of a New Orleans-inspired bar that happens to offer daily 2-1 happy hour beers and well drinks along with a fireplace and (heated) patio to help relieve that long work day of yours.
Vol de Nuit is completely sequestered from your frustrating weekly existence: an unmarked bar and courtyard, hidden in an alley where you'd expect to find a vermin war between pigeons and rats, not the city's best selection of Belgian brews.
With a top-flight cocktail bar, The Summit Bar is a fun, but relatively quiet spot, which makes shmoozing the babe sitting on one of those velvet banquettes easier. That failing, just hit up the 5:30pm-7:30pm oyster happy hour that happens every damn day.
This cozy, low-key spot is tiny on the inside, with only wooden stools and metal counters for seating, but opens up to a heated patio with an additional 40 seats. The meat-heavy menu focuses on tapas-style plates and charcuterie with remarkable exceptions like an entire pig's head. The beer and wine menu is extensive and includes a broad range of both domestic and European options. Refrigerators full of beer bottles line one wall, and patrons are invited to pluck their choices right out. This is a great date spot as long as neither of you are into the whole veggie-only thing.
Royale is the ultimate Alphabet City burger bar. Head up their libations and gulp down a seriously juicy, tender burger.
Just for your imbibing needs, the experts at MP've have an urban oasis out back, with cafe-style seating and picnic-y booths surrounded by four installations (concert poster-/ advertisement-themed street art, etc...). Their indoors are serving up delicious 'tails and stellar company.
The barn-style interior of Edi & The Wolf captures the causal feel of an Austrian wine-tavern. With its quirky, industrial-chic secret patio and a menu of braised short ribs, wiener schnitzel, and goat cheese ravioli, this Lower East Side joint is unlike any other. Try the Austrian cinnamon sugar-caramelized pancake bites with grapefruit, or get a four-course prix fixe with options like English pea dip (with flatbread crisps and ricotta salata), roasted lamb (with mint jus and potatoes).
This rustic, Upper East Side wine bar has a year-round back patio and a Meatball Monday menu entirely composed of -- you guessed it -- meatballs. Eating meatballs in the great outdoors is what all things great were built upon.
Caribbean meets Cape Cod at LoLo's, a unique island escape in Morningside Heights that specializes in boiled seafood, like snow crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp soaked in signature sauces like garlic butter and Old Bay seasoning. The steampot combos, baskets of fried fish, and jerk chicken and ribs are so luscious that you'll want to lick your fingers clean at the end of your meal, even though they'll be covered in blue disposable gloves provided by the restaurant -- cleanliness is next to godliness, right? The interior has a kitschy but charming dilapidated beach-house look, but you should grab a seat on the sea-foam green back patio to feel like you've really run away to the beach.