Food & Drink

Where to Eat and Drink Outdoors in NYC (While You Still Can)

Updated On 09/01/2017 at 02:20PM EST Updated On 09/01/2017 at 02:20PM EST
where to eat and drink outside in NYC
Pilot | Doug Lyle Thompson
Katie June Burton

Pig Beach

Gowanus

This barbecue joint with 13,000 square feet of outdoor space will stay open until it’s too cold to sit outside (in which case, you can go to the soon-to-open indoor space next door), so take advantage of the warm weather with some sauce-soaked ribs and vodka slushies at a wooden picnic table before cleaning your sticky hands off to play a round of cornhole.

Courtesy of The Crown

The Crown

Chinatown

New to the rooftop scene this summer was Dale Talde’s bar atop Hotel 50 Bowery, with $16 cocktails inspired by the neighborhood (like the refreshing Black Dragon Tea -- an oolong and green tea mixed vodka drink), light, summery bites like ceviche, and of course, unobstructed skyline views.

Doug Lyle Thompson

Pilot

Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park

This brand-new spin-off of New York’s original seafood spot on a schooner, Grand Banks, created by the same team, welcomes waterfront drinkers into a nautically decorated bar/restaurant on an old ship (think navy and white wicker barstools and a U-shaped wooden bar). The booze-friendly menu ranges from East Coast oysters and scallop ceviche to a softshell crab po-boy and a lobster roll. Pair those with fresh and light cocktails like the Life at Sea, muddled with vodka, blackberries, mint, and lime and enjoy the skyline views.

Johnny's Reef

City Island

Take one last trip out to the Bronx’s hidden fishing village to hit the large waterfront seating area at this cafeteria-style, fried seafood joint. Load up on deep fried shrimp, lobster chunks, and calamari; grab a $6 frozen daiquiri; and sit at one of the many shareable metal picnic benches looking out over the Long Island Sound.

Natalie Keyssar

Nowadays

Ridgewood

That outdoor bar your friend who moved to Ridgewood disappeared to all summer? Nowadays. Opened by the team behind the Mister Sunday dance parties, this massive backyard hosts a never-ending backyard celebration -- complete with live music, ping-pong, and cheap drinks (beer starts at $5 and two-for-one happy hour runs until 7pm) -- that may make you long for a few more unbearably sticky summer nights, just so you can hang out here a little longer.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Lilia

Williamsburg

Chef Missy Robbins’ sensational pasta restaurant is notoriously impossible to get into, but a sizable outdoor seating area open to walk-ins makes trying the legendary malfadini far more feasible. If you do have to wait, grab a seat in the public, Wi-Fi-equipped park across the street.

L&B Spumoni Gardens

Gravesend

One of the best square slices in New York is procured from a window at this old-school South Brooklyn red-sauce joint. Bring a crew to order a whole square pie (the fluffy crust is deceivingly light) and pick a spot at one of the outdoor metal benches.

Courtesy of Franklin Park

Franklin Park

Crown Heights

Though this Crown Heights bar has ample indoor space, the outdoor picnic benches and beer garden are the best reason to hang out here. Grab a draft beer or a boozy milkshake and some chili cheese fries and spread out at one of the many outdoor tables before they’re covered in snow.

La Marina

La Marina

Washington Heights

Perhaps better known as “that restaurant near The Cloisters,” this far-uptown eatery looks more like a lakeside restaurant in a quiet Connecticut vacation town than a city establishment just north of Fort Tryon Park. Located on The Hudson, the outdoor patio is ample with outdoor couches, loungers, and group tables where you can sip on a cocktail and eat seafood-inspired dishes like fried shrimp, clams, or a whole steamed lobster.

Brooklyn Barge

Brooklyn Barge

Greenpoint

Just one step away from drinking on an actual boat, the anchored-down Brooklyn Barge lets you imbibe outside without the seasickness. Completely outdoors, this festive barge offers plenty of communal tables and open space, all illuminated by party lights and skyscrapers across the East River at night. Go for the $8 glasses of Long Island wine on tap and $24 pitches of draft beer.

Cecconi’s

Dumbo

This international Italian mini-chain opened its first New York outpost this summer, claiming one of the best views in Dumbo, if not all of New York. Skip the stylish interior for a wicker seat on the shaded patio, where you can feast on a wide range of pasta, risotto, wood-fired proteins, and pizzas all day long.

Camila Gutierrez

Maman SoHo

SoHo

If you don’t know about the quaint and impressively quiet backyard hidden behind this tiny French bakery, make it your mission to check it out before the door locks for the season. Grab a seat at the communal farm table or one a few two-seaters, sip an iced matcha, eat a pastry, read a book, and enjoy the much-needed Downtown respite.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Bar Pitti

Greenwich Village

If eating pasta at a sidewalk cafe is your thing, look no further than Bar Pitti, the legendary celebrity hangout known for simple Italian food. While you might not catch Kendall Jenner twirling spaghetti in her fork in the dining room, the cluster of sidewalk tables on Sixth Avenue are prime for people-watching (and penne alla vodka-eating).

Via Carota

West Village

This quaint Italian joint in the West Village, co-owned by powerhouses Jody Williams (Buvette) and Rita Sodi (I Sodi), always has a substantial wait, thanks to its no-reservations policy. While the list of names on the wall (literally, the waitlist is chalked on the entry wall every night) is no shorter in the summer, the addition of romantic two-seater tables on Grove Street makes the hour-plus wait progress a little faster -- plus, you can sneak in some people-watching before indulging in homemade pasta and veggie-focused sides.

Flickr/maria ioveva

Boat Basin Cafe

Riverside Park

Should you find yourself in the mood to ogle New Yorkers’ yachts and slightly less-enviable sailboats, grab an outdoor seat at Boat Basin, a cafe and bar on the west end of Riverside Park, adjacent to the Hudson River boat parking lot you probably didn’t know existed. The menu is basic here (avocado toast, hot dogs, big salads) but you’re really here for the views and the unobstructed breeze, best enjoyed over a shared pitcher of strawberry margaritas or a bucket of Coronas.

Courtesy of Industry Kitchen

Industry Kitchen

South Street Seaport

Summer is pretty much the only season when it’s worth visiting the South Street Seaport, so head down to the lowest tip of Manhattan before the cooler weather hits. Industry Kitchen boasts an impressively large dockside patio, so you can people-watch and boat-watch outdoors while picking through a pot of mussels and drinking from a hollowed-out pineapple full of “Endless Summer” (spiced rum, St. Germain, pineapple, Lillet, and vanilla extract, garnished with edible orchids).

Jing Fong

Upper West Side

Dim sum outdoors is a rarity in New York, so be sure to take advantage of the patio dining at the new Upper West Side offshoot of this popular Chinatown behemoth. The menu offers all the same dumpling and noodle dishes you can get Downtown, in addition to a craft cocktail list full of Chinese-inspired ingredients.

Courtesy of The Sosta

The Sosta

Little Italy

The Millennial pink paradise inside this new fast-casual pasta spot from By Chloe’s Samantha Wasser will be a cozy go-to lunch destination come winter, but while your puffy jacket is still packed away, eat your bucatini arrabiata at one of the restaurant’s outdoor tables.