12 Outdoor Dining Spots to Enjoy in Boston This Spring
Consider this list a warm-up.
What would we have done without outdoor dining? It saved restaurants and it saved our sanity. Which has made this winter all the most difficult to slog through, as patio season ended and many of our favorite spots went into hibernation.
But even as we wait impatiently for March 22 and the restart of patio days, alfresco options still abound. Heat lamps, fire pits, and igloos have all gloriously conspired to lure us out of the house these past few months. (Yes, indoor dining is now allowed at full capacity, but outdoor eating is still the safer bet.)
So where to eat outside right this moment? From rooftops to back patios to private cabanas, the options are surprisingly plentiful. But consider this list a mere warm-up—as the days get consistently warmer and we move into April, our open-air offerings are going to explode. In the meantime, continue to be the very best customer you can be: Wear a face mask when you’re not eating or drinking; order everything at once so that your server isn’t coming back and forth, and tip hugely at spots that are still tip-oriented.
One of Dorchester’s most beloved restaurants took a while to safely reopen, but we’re so happy it has. The back patio is now open for business for both brunch and dinner as long as the weather permits (gotta love that fire pit). Plus, now there’s a heated cubby that can seat four to six. All the better to enjoy the famous trainwreck fries and one of the best burgers in town.
How to order: Call 617-825-4300 to make a back patio or cubby reservation
The Barking Crab
Yup, the Sleeper Street tent is open for biz. The menu hits all the high notes: chowder, fried whole-bellied clams, lobster rolls, and fish tacos, plus wine, beer, mai tais, and margaritas. And yes, boiled lobsters of all sizes are once again on the menu—and there’s never a bad time for lobster these days.
How to order: Tables available on a first-come, first-served basis
The Bowery Bar
The breakout star of this pandemic winter? Bowery Bar’s private wintertime yurts. Each is a cold weather refuge, with heat lamps, fun decor (local interior designers have gotten into the act) and fuzzy blankets sealing the deal. Our only quarrel? A reservation is hard to come by.
How to order: Reserve online
It might be the coziest patio on the block, what with the heat lamps and the vibrant murals painted by local artists—and it’s covered, so you can even indulge when there’s rain or (grr) snow. An espresso martini, some popcorn chicken, and a Niman Ranch hanger steak, all enjoyed alfresco, sounds like the perfect cure for what currently ails.
How to order: Call 617-265-4490 or make a reservation online
Dorchester Brewing Company
It’s a twofer: a brewery and a restaurant. Order M&M BBQ and home-brewed beers from your iPhone and savor both on one of the two patios: the roof deck and the streetside deck. Just be strategic about your visit—the place is regularly at capacity.
How to order: Reservations recommended but not required; check the website ahead of time to see the capacity tracker
Harvest’s garden patio has seen us through many a celebratory time, and now it’s seeing us through the darker times, too. Overhead heaters, string lights, and the big gas fireplace conspire to deliver a truly special night out—and we can think of no better time to sit and revel in the restaurant’s famous brunch menu.
How to order: Call 617-868-2255 or book a reservation online
Mare Oyster Bar
We love Mare’s cozy back patio even in normal times—it’s one of the most sophisticated patio spaces in town—and when we’ve hit it up, we’ve felt almost normal again while consuming al fresco oysters, crab cakes, lobster ravioli, and grilled branzino.
How to order: Call 617-723-6273 for reservations
Ana Sortun wants to take care of you. You can indulge in her glorious meze menu when weather permits, by calling ahead and reserving space on the patio. But, not to worry—if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the restaurant will call you day-of to cancel or reschedule your reservation.
How to order: Make reservations online
How we missed Bow Market. Thankfully, Remnant Brewing’s back patio is still open for table imbibing, thanks to customers’ ability to order food from other Bow Market vendors like Saus and Hot Box. Plus, dogs are being allowed right now (!) but must adhere to social distancing, or the privilege will be revoked.
How to order: Reservations for 90-minute blocks required and can be made online
You can now have your lobster pizza and eat outside, too. Scampo’s dining igloos mean you can indulge in a decadent Lydia Shire meal no matter the weather, which just might be the secret to getting through this next period (the Easter menu looks epic, too).
How to order: Make a reservation online
Dining greenhouses? Simply brilliant. The revered twee spot has set up five two-person greenhouses, each with its own heating and lighting system (cue the romance!). Work your way through the restaurant’s seasonally driven menu—the vegetarian cassoulet is a wonder—and revel in the restaurant’s global wine menu.
How to order: Call 617-714-5584 or book a reservation through Resy
Woods Hill Pier 4
We’re slowly moving away from the worst wintertime temps, but the evenings definitely still have a chill. Enter Woods Hill Pier 4, which wants to make sure you and your bubble dine . . . inside a bubble. The nine clear igloos set up on the restaurant’s waterside patio mean you can dine comfortably and in style for up to two-and-a-half hours.
How to order: Call 617-999-0963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve