The 18 Best Patios for Eating and Drinking Outside in Houston

Toast the Texas trifecta—tacos, tequila, and sun tans—at these stunning open-air hotspots.

Patio hanging is a way of life in Houston, even garnering its own hyperextended season spanning every day but the absolute hottest day in August. Living here means you can turn around any corner and stumble into an outdoor space ideal for unwinding, but some are definitely more desirable than others, especially when it comes to dining. Don’t settle for any old patio with chips and Margs—these al fresco gems are a step above, with live oak and canopy shading, lush landscaping, city views, comfy seating, and, most importantly, some pretty excellent menu options. Some lean more casual, some require a fancypants upgrade, but all are a damn good time. Here are the 18 best open-air restaurants and bars in Houston.

Casa Nomad
Michael Anthony | Casa Nomad

Casa Nomad

Heights
$$$$

Hold up… are you in breezy Tulum, or are you actually sweating it out in the Houston humidity? You can’t really tell when dining at this Mexican kitchen and lounge, which makes its home on a 28-seat, canopy-covered patio over at M-K-T Heights. It’s the optimal way to feast outdoors in Houston, with shade to keep you cool and glitzy tropical drinks to keep you even cooler. Dive into the full “jungle disco” experience with Blue Crab Bites, Whole Grilled Fish, and some artisan mezcal to wash it all down.
 

Available for Reservations

This swanky Rice Village haunt from the Big Vibes Group just auditioned to become your open-air brunch go-to, and guess what? It got the part—just as it did for happy hour, dinner, and lunch. Channeling Europe with Baroque accents and a bold, rich color scheme, the luxe vibe expands onto the broad outdoor space, which kind of feels like a countryside villa if a countryside villa had stuff like Charred Octopus Salsa Verde, a bomb Wagyu Burger, and Bloody Marys decked out with housemade chicharron.

Available for Reservations

J-M Bbq

EaDo
$$$$

Twinkly lights, skyline views, live music, and Smoked Prime Rib in a beer garden—that’s how we want our Texas barbecue from now on, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at this young gun smokehouse and patio from barbecue enthusiast John Toomey and pit boss Willow Villareal. You’ll also get flawlessly executed Central Texas Style Brisket, Housemade Sausages, Cauliflower Au Gratin, Spicy Creamed Corn, and a Giant Cinnamon Roll for dessert.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

La Lucha
Andrew Thomas Lee | La Lucha

La Lucha

Heights
$$$$

When it comes to La Lucha, slurping down Gulf Oysters and getting your fingers sticky with honey sambal-drizzled Fried Chicken and Biscuits is what you do. And somehow, all of that tastes even better when performed outside under the shade of a towering live oak. Settle into a picnic table to dig into those damn good birds and bivalves, plus Crawfish Bread, Smoked Oyster Mayo Fries, and a few glasses of bubbly for good measure.

Available for Reservations
Musaafer
Julie Soefer | Musaafer

Musaafer

Galleria
$$$$

It’s hard for Houston to feel breezy in the summer, yet somehow, it miraculously does when seated out on the balcony patio at this uber luxurious Indian eatery. Try to snag one of the coveted linen-draped tables to truly experience its magnificence, though a high top seat or spot at the bar provides equal access to Musaafer’s richly spiced, spectacularly plated dishes and equally impressive top-shelf cocktails.

Available for Reservations
Ostia
Alex Montoya | Ostia

Ostia

Montrose
$$$$

Just outside Ostia’s gorgeous greenhouse dining space sits a tiny but mighty open-air patio, perfectly poised with citrus and Bougainvillea plants, gas lamps, and a plate of chef Travis McShane’s delightful roast chicken, if you know what’s good for you. Score an outdoor table and relish in that bird alongside beautiful house cocktails and seasonal Mediterranean-inspired eats from Drunken Mussels and scratchmade Gnocchi to a fat, juicy Porterhouse done right.

Available for Reservations
Pier 6 Seafood
Kimberly Park | Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House

Pier 6 Seafood

San Leon
$$$$

It’s well worth the drive to San Leon to experience this posh yet unfussy bayside oyster house. It’s exactly where you want to be on a pleasant day, slurping the freshest possible Gulf Oysters (second-generation oysterman Raz Halili of Prestige Oysters owns the place) and chowing down on former Brennan’s chef Joe Cervantez’s poised menu of Crispy Red Snapper, Seafood Pasta, and more. When you’re done noshing, grab a porch swing and gaze out over the water while indulging in a few more refreshing beverages.

 

Available for Reservations

Your mission, if you choose to accept: Add a round of backyard pizza and cocktails at this beloved neighborhood joint to your summer bucket list. One, because you’re not a real Houstonian until you’ve established the art of sweating through dinner, and two, because these pies are stupid delicious. Get the thin, crisp numbers topped with things like kale and swiss chard, ricotta cream, and fennel sausage, then toss in shareables from the house favorite Octopus Pasta and an astonishingly good take on Braised Beans to the loaded ice cream sundae you’re most definitely having for dessert.

Available for Reservations
Trattoria Sofia
Michelle Watson | Trattoria Sofia

Trattoria Sofia

Heights
$$$$

If your love language is heaping plates of pasta and endless glasses of wine, this dark, romantic Italian eatery from the Berg Hospitality team is right up your alley. As an added bonus, the covered terrace is charming as all hell, complete with pergolas, verdant botanicals, and a picturesque olive tree at its center, plus heaters, fans, and a misting station. Pair salumis, woodfired pizzas, and ocean-fresh seafood with mains like Cacio e Pepe and a gorgonzola-topped Ribeye alongside modern riffs on cocktail classics (hotshot mixologist Alba Huerta of Julep fame consulted on the drinks, so you won’t want to miss those).

Available for Reservations

Lucille's

Museum District
$$$$

Southern comfort hits the table in the form of Shrimp and Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Chili Biscuits at chef-owner Chris Williams’ classy restaurant, bar, and patio. Those Chili Biscuits (which have now reached Top Chef fame) as well as the spot’s decor pay tribute to Williams’ great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith, a African-American entrepreneur, chef, and pioneer in the food and hospitality industry. When the weather is right, enjoy a modern spin on traditional Southern goods even more out on Lucille’s tree-shaded, string light-bedecked patio.

Available for Reservations
Toasted Coconut
The Toasted Coconut | Photo by Vivian Leba

Toasted Coconut

Montrose
$$$$

Pretty sure we’re all in desperate need of a vacation after these past few years. Take one without busting out your passport by downing flaming cocktails under the star-lit palapa at this tiki-style haunt. The cascading waterfall and bamboo features level up the serene vibes, as does one of Sarah Troxwell’s epic cocktails like the frozen Banana Daiquiri or jalapeño tequila-spiked Tropic Like It’s Hot. Pair ‘em all with Whole Fish, Baja Mussels, and Head-On Shrimp Curry Noodles, and you’re pretty much on island time.

Available for Reservations

King's Bierhaus

Shady Acres
$$$$

Picture German Disneyland, but without all the Disney characters and with an awesome lederhosen-clad guy named Hans (that’s the owner) ushering you around instead. That’s what you’ll be getting yourself into at this rare bird: a German-style bierhaus and patio where the faux river flows as freely as the Bocks and Hefeweizens. Grab a shaded seat out back, sip on a stein, dip your Beer Pretzel in Cheddar-Bacon Bier Sauce, smash a Jaeger Schnitzel, Pork Shank, and Kasewurst, and say “Prost!” to Houston’s beautiful spring weather.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Saint Arnold Beer Garden

Warehouse District
$$$$

Texas’ oldest brewery totally upped its game when it added an off-the-charts beer garden and restaurant a few years back. Now Saint Arnold’s loyal army of fans can now crush hoppy Art Car IPAs under the stars, nosh on Fire Emoji Wings, Steak Frites with hop butter, and Amber Ale Bratwurst, and catch the ‘Stros and the Rockets on the big screen, all while basking in views of the downtown skyline. It’s one of the most popular patios in town, but we should note that many of Houston’s finest breweries have awesome outdoor spaces, too, including but not limited to 8th Wonder, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, and Karbach.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Cottonwood

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
$$$$

When low-key good times are in order, there’s nothing better than this unfussy, beer- and whiskey-lovin’ patio hangout. Head here to kick back among a bunch of four-legged pals while partaking in fun activities like corn hole, live music, crawfish boils and steak nights, fireside chats, and a menu packed with next-level pub grub (think Crawfish Fries, Hangover Burgers, and Beef Fat-Fried Truffle Pretzel Bites) alongside buckets of thirst-quenching booze to wash it all down.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

BB Lemon
Kirsten Gilliam | B.B. Lemon

B.B. Lemon

Washington
$$$$

Great news! You can claim your very own cabana table to guzzle Oysters on the Half Shell, pop bubbly, and dig into Lobster Rolls, Blue Crab Beignets, and Steak Frites at this Big Apple-inspired local treasure. The New American kitchen and bar recently revamped its outdoor space, adding turf and transforming it into a chic, cabana-filled utopia with a covered patio at its side.

Available for Reservations

Tiny Boxwoods

River Oaks
$$$$

There isn’t a prettier spot to sip a sparkling wine than this cafe and plant nursery hybrid. The tiny, from-scratch kitchen puts out French Picnic Platters, Salmon Provençal, and the best freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookies in town to complement your bevy of choice. The perfectly positioned garden and patio hits the sweet spot between the kind of place where you can totally get away from it all and the kind of place where you can gawk at whatever designer goods the River Oaks folks are sporting these days. Either way, you’ll want to stay a while.

Available for Reservations
The Grove
The Grove patio | The Grove

The Grove

Downtown
$$$$

Does lingering over artisanal cheeses and Sangria while nestled among live oaks in Downtown’s magnum opus, the nearly 12-acre urban park Discovery Green, sound like a nice Saturday? We think so. You can do that this Saturday (or any day, really) by hitting up the deck at this stylish parkside bar and kitchen. The total eye candy of a restaurant has been known to host rooftop happy hours in the past, as well—something we sure hope makes a comeback.

Available for Reservations
Rainbow Lodge
Rainbow Lodge | Photo by Jerry Smith

Rainbow Lodge

Shady Acres
$$$$

The bar at this century-old log cabin restaurant received a facelift as of late, and we have to say, the work was done quite well. But it’s the natural, wooded outdoor space that really gets us going, climbing up and around an acre of lush grounds along White Oak Bayou. Patio season is the time to hit the garden decks and indulge in Smoked Duck Gumbo, Rainbow Trout hit with lump crab and pecan brown butter, South Texas Antelope with jalapeño-bacon-cheddar grits, and whiskey-spiked Warm Croissant Bread Pudding.

Available for Reservations

Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-writer who may actually be on a patio right now. Find out where @brookeviggiano on Twitter or @brookiefafa on IG.