18 Incredible Spots to Eat and Drink Outside in Boston Right Now
From waterfront oyster bars to lush secret gardens, there’s an al fresco spot for every occasion.
After a long winter of bundling up to visit Boston's best restaurants, we're beyond ready for some al fresco meals. Luckily, patio season is beginning early yet again this year, and outdoor seating is slowly re-emerging at restaurants all over town, with myriad new spots also set to open back up over the next few weeks.
From swanky rooftops with jaw-dropping views of the city to outdoor patios with picnic tables and laid-back food options, there are plenty of spots to enjoy the weather and a great meal, no matter what the occasion. So check out our list of local restaurants with the best outdoor dining in Boston right now, and get out there.
This outdoor space has been begging for its closeup ever since the restaurant opened, and once more it’s fully yours for the taking as the weather heats up. Time for some oysters, Salmon Poke, Charred Avocado, and new seasonal cocktails like the Spring Side (black pepper tequila, grapefruit, lavender, lime), all with a side of epic water views.
The Barking Crab
The Barking Crab’s menu hits all the high notes: chowder, fried whole-bellied clams, lobster rolls, and fish tacos, plus wine, beer, mai tais, and margaritas. And with the outdoor area fully open for business in mid-April, it’s the perfect time to snag a seat, order up some boiled lobsters, and get your cracking skills in order ahead of summer.
If you’re finding it hard to book an outdoor table, beeline it to Branch Line. The restaurant is currently booking three separate outdoor areas: its open-air covered walkway, the outdoor heated tent, and the uncovered patio. In other words, you’re covered for all springtime weather, leaving you relaxed and better able to enjoy your rotisserie chicken and wide selection of wine and beer.
Buttermilk & Bourbon
Little wonder that this sunken patio is one of the most coveted tables in town. It's secluded, protected from the elements, and invites you to indulge in Jason Santos’ Southern indulgences, from poached shrimp, Alligator Fries, and roasted oysters to Memphis-style baby back ribs and of course, Santos’ famous buttermilk fried chicken (wings, thighs, or a bone-in halves). Needless to say, you must save room for both the beignets and the soft serve of the day.
Dbar boasts what may be the coziest patio on the block, thanks to heat lamps for chillier spring days, vibrant murals painted by local artists, and a roof overhead so you can even indulge when there’s rain. So grab a seat for starters like Thai Chili Calamari and Drunken Mussels, plus a slate of protein and pasta main courses that make up the menu at Chef Christopher Coombs’ worldly, seasonal restaurant.
Dorchester Brewing Company
It’s a twofer: a brewery and a restaurant all in one place. From Dorchester Brewing Company’s taproom, you can order a spread of barbecue from M&M while sipping local beers inside on one of the two patios: the roof deck and the streetside deck. Just be strategic about your visit—the popular spot regularly reaches capacity.
Mare Oyster Bar
It’s one of the most sophisticated patio spaces in town—and the fire pits will remain in place to keep you warm as you consume seafood specialties al fresco. With an extensive raw bar, pastas adorned with fresh lobster, and appetizers like Kampachi Tartare and a Trio of Crudos, you can be sure you’ll have a decadent meal—now the only concern is actually snagging a seat at this ever-popular venue.
When you’re looking for a shareable meal of crowd pleasers, look no further than Oleana. Chef Ana Sortun offers glorious hot and cold small plates like Sfela Cheese Saganaki, Whipped Feta, and Za’atar Bread and Parsnip Tershi. Tack on a few larger proteins like Lemon Chicken or a Lamp Gyro, and you’ve got the perfect meal to enjoy al fresco on the restaurant’s patio.
If you can’t own your own private harborside veranda, a spot at Pier 6 is the next best thing. The chic terrace’s seafood-heavy menu includes a raw bar, steamed mussels, and baked crab cakes, and for your spring sipper, indulge in the house Mai Tai made with Gosling’s and Real McCoy rums.
Saltie Girl has now permanently taken over the former MET Back Bay space, sunken patio included. Which is not to say you’ll have any better luck nabbing a table; just get there early to put your name in to enjoy grilled lobster, fried clams, cocktails, and the entire tinned seafood collection. Just expect a wait and scope out a place to grab a drink nearby.
You can now have your lobster pizza and eat it outside, too. Scampo’s outdoor dining area invites you to indulge in a decadent meal from chef Lydia Shire with the sun beating down on your face, which just might be the best way to usher in the season. Homemade pastas, seafood starters, and entrees all get a seasonal spin at this Italian restaurant, so it’s perfect for a visit any time of year.
One of the city’s best roof decks (atop the Cambria Hotel Boston) offers truly stunning sunset views and an upscale vibe. Pretend you’ve traveled to South Beach by ordering a frozen pineapple daiquiri and digging into a small-plates menu of Truffle Chicken Nuggets and Grass-fed Beef Sliders.
Trillium Fort Point
For those in Fort Point who love roof decks but seek a mellower scene, Trillium might be your answer. The third-floor, 65-person space is a favorite al fresco hot spot, with its lounge seating and full bar serving all of the brewery’s latest offerings. And while there may not be water views, there are oysters—and a selection of items from the main restaurant menu are available upstairs as well.
The Ashmont Grill’s back patio continues to be open for business for both brunch and dinner. Sit next to the cozy firepit for extra ambianance or warmth on those still-cozy nights, all the better to enjoy the famous Trainwreck Fries loaded up with melted jack cheese, bacon, jalapenos, sour cream, and scallions and one of the best burgers in town—plus some new warmer weather menu items like the Vegetable Pesto Rotini and a Grilled Caesar Salad.
It’s one of our favorite hidden patios in town, and it reopened the moment the city gave the green light. Book your spot now to enjoy East Coast oysters, Clam Chowder, Bouillabaisse, and the restaurant's famed lobster roll (which comes hot or cold) beneath twinkling lights in the sunken back patio.
Boston’s new favorite pescatarian wine bar kept its small patio open this winter, bless them, tempering the cold with blankets and heaters. But with the weather heating up, we can now savor the natural wine list without bracing against the elements. Pair your pours with springtime delicacies like Arctic Char Tartare, Pickled Maine Mussels, and Black Trumpet Mushroom Toast.
Driven by seasonal ingredients and a dedication to the neighborhood, Forage adapted its outdoor space to be your new winter go-to and is still going strong. At this Cambridge spot, each table has its own heater and blankets are also available (because yup, the temps have kind sucked), but come peak summertime the patio will be filled with fully al fresco tables.The Summer Sweet Corn Soup and Anise-Rubbed Hanger Steak make the perfect way to kick off warmer days.
Harvest’s garden patio has seen us through many a celebratory time. Overhead heaters, string lights, and the big gas fireplace conspire to deliver a truly special night out no matter the weather—and there’s no better time to sit and revel in chef Nick Deutmeyer’s famous brunch menu with dishes like Swordfish Pastrami and Fried Chicken and Foie Gras Waffles.