10 Terrific Places to Drink Outdoors Slideshow
May 5, 2011
Habana Outpost, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Great people-watching, a sprawling outdoor terrace, and live salsa music are a few of the attractions that draw Brooklynites to this casually hip Cuban eatery in Fort Greene (open beginning mid-April for the spring and summer season). Regulars swear the sun shines for the sole purpose of luring them away from their daily drudge for a few frozen mojitos and parmesan-encrusted cobs of elote.
What to order: Any of the frozen cocktails (margaritas, mojitos, and more) made at the hand (okay, foot) of the bar’s bike-powered blenders.
Rontoms, Portland, Ore.
After a particularly brutal winter, Portland peeps are dusting off their Ray-Bans and saluting the sun at this Lower Burnside watering hole with views of downtown. The austere, industrial interior spills onto a massive, sun-splashed outdoor patio and bar space with a ping pong table and 40 picnic tables.
What to order: Terminal Gravity IPA (on tap) from Enterprise, Ore., pairs well with the bar's comfort food offerings like Swedish meatballs and grilled cheese.
Nepenthe, Big Sur, Calif.
Sidle up to the long wooden plank perch overlooking the Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur’s iconic coastline, or snag a seat on one of the colorful pillows piled atop the patio’s concrete bleachers. Sipping a California wine with an Ambrosia burger here is almost always a nature excursion of sorts, with the scent of jasmine in the air, whales passing down below in the Pacific Ocean, and red-tailed hawks and jays soaring through the canopy.
What to order: A full-bodied pinot noir from Garys’ Vineyard, produced by third generation farmers in the Santa Lucia highlands, which is available by the glass or bottle.
Jones, San Francisco, Calif.
Open since February 2011, this Tenderloin bar and lounge just a few blocks from Union Square has a massive outdoor patio atop a low parking garage with views of Geary Street. There’s a very L.A. feel to the pared-down, industrial-chic concrete space interspersed with large pots of greenery. But when good weather graces the Bay Area, the associated euphoric moods are Northern California bliss all the way.
What to order: Cherry Berry Sour made with black cherry vodka, fresh raspberries, lemon juice, egg white, and sugar.
Molly Darcys Irish Pub, St. Louis, Mo.
Set inside the Seven Gables Inn in St. Louis' Clayton neighborhood, this Irish pub is modeled after a similar watering hole across the pond in Killarney. But for all the dark and moody atmosphere of the interior, the outside courtyard is where you want to be when the sun is shining. The vine-clad walls of the Tudor building, hanging flower pots, and Japanese maples lend a European country house vibe and just beg for you to spend all day sipping something cold in the sun.
What to order: The bar won an award from Guinness for the best pour in the state of Missouri, so order a pint of the dark stuff to see it done properly.
Lauriol Plaza, Washington, D.C.
For Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle dwellers, warm weather in the nation’s capital means you have a good excuse to indulge in flavored margaritas and a constant flow of chips and salsa at Lauriol Plaza’s rooftop patio. Snag a table on the covered rooftop terrace under the sea of lazily rotating fans or opt for outdoor patio seating streetside.
What to order: Frozen and on-the-rocks margaritas in every flavor, from strawberry and peach to mango and swirls. Our pick is the classic lime version on the rocks (with a salted rim, natch).
Roof on The Wit Hotel, Chicago, Ill.
Anyone who has survived winter's brutal clutches in the Windy City knows that savoring spring and summer is a top priority. There are two outdoor patios at this 27th floor rooftop lounge overlooking The Loop. We like the “Hangover” area — an outdoor terrace surrounded by glass walls and suspended off the side of the skyscraper — best for its wow-factor views.
What to order: Mojitos are a warm weather favorite, but also consider the cocktail called Ethical Dilemma — a blend of Finlandia vodka, pomegranate grenadine, and ginger beer.
Paddy's Beach Bar, Misquamicut Beach, R.I.
When this oceanfront bar and restaurant about an hour outside of Providence opens for the season (around May 6 this year), winter feels like a mere seasonal nuisance, twice removed. Tables are set in the sand, beachy antics ensue (DJ deck parties, beach volleyball) and specialty drinks come in keepsake ceramic containers and glasses that you can have refilled for a discounted rate.
What to order: Mason jars of Firefly Sweet Tea made with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, water, and lemonade.
Rouge, Philadelphia, Pa.
Springtime in Paris is the vibe at this street café fronting Rittenhouse Square Park where flower petals float down from trees and beautiful people abound. Snag one of the tables lining Rouge’s exterior or grab one closer to the street (which gets blocked off in the summer to keep traffic at bay) and make conversation with friends the focus while enjoying views of the park across the way.
What to order: The Rose Rouge, served in a martini glass, blends ginger-infused vodka, cherry and lychee liqueurs and cranberry and lime juices.
Columbia Café, Tampa, Fla.
As a city by a bay, Tampa has no shortage of atmospheric waterfront hangouts — including this brand new offshoot of Ybor City’s esteemed, circa 1905 Cuban eatery (the oldest restaurant in Florida). Facing a waterfront park and attached to the Tampa Bay History Center, the Columbia Café has a spacious patio full of umbrella-shaded tables where you can nibble tapas while sharing pitchers of sangria and mojitos on a perfect Florida day.
What to order: Pitchers of Sangria de Cava made with Cristalino Spanish bubbly, Torres brandy, orange liqueur, and fresh citrus juices.