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The 30 best bars for outdoor drinking in New York

All the finest beer gardens, patios and terraces for those sunny, boozy afternoons in the city

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

It's summer, and that means you want to drink delicious things while sitting with the sun in your face. We've already told you where to find NYC's best rooftop bars, and even where to go if you feel like getting nautical with one of the city's fantastic boat bars, but here's our pick of the finest outdoor drinking spots for those that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground.

RECOMMENDED: Summer in New York guide

The Cannibal

While seating at the bar is limited at this “meat head” haven, its brick-walled patio offers room to spread out with restaurateur and beer-obsessed carnivore Christian Pappanicholas’s steak du jour and an offbeat brew from the massive bottle list.

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Ambrose Hall

Choose a boozing style at this South Seaport lounge: Sip small-batch whiskey at the sunny surf club, or sling back German suds in the 14,000-square-foot cobblestoned beer garden. Either way, fill up on Schaller & Weber brats (spicy pork, smoked veal), lobster rolls and kettle-cooked chips smothered in beer-blended cheese.

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Financial District

Sayra's Wine Bar

The 1,200-square-foot garden at the Rockaway’s first wine bar oozes surfer vibes with beach pebbles underfoot, tiki torches lining the wall, and rustic wooden picnic tables under a tin canopy. Seasonal vinos hailing from coasts around the globe—like Sandy Cove, New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc—are best paired with live jazz on Thursday nights or black-and-white flicks on Saturdays. 

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Frying Pan

Dock yourself next to a bucket of beers on this multi-level floating lighthouse bar at Chelsea Piers—complete with prime sunset seating and views of the West Side. 

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Maison Premiere

An outdoor oyster bar outfitted in dark wood takes center stage in the lush 1,000-square-foot garden at this NOLA-inspired salon. To keep in line with the French Quarter charm, sip Maxwell Britten’s (Freemans, Jack the Horse) cerebral cocktails like The Crandolet (gin, orange-flower water, honey) and the Saint Helena (Aquavit, sparkling wine, chartreuse) under the vine-tangled canopy.

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The Boat Basin Café

This two-tier riverfront restaurant welcomes young singles and parents with children in tow to happily converge under stone archways and twinkle lights. Order from the grill portion of its expansive American menu and toast the sunset on clear evenings, but call ahead when skies seem stormy—the café closes for rain.

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Upper West Side

Mission Dolores

Exposed brick and reclaimed-wood tables warm up an otherwise sleek-but-cold concrete courtyard at this self-proclaimed “weird beer bar.” Tap options vary among American and European craft pours like Sly Fox and Rodenback Grand Cru, but the decent bourbon selection is key for non-beer imbibers.

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Park Slope

The Narrows

Find well-crafted cocktails like the jalapeno- and cucumber-infused Que Bonito ($9) at this approachable, neighborly bar, where the back patio feels like a getaway from the middle of industrial Bushwick. But don’t expect a meal: this is a pre- or post-dinner drinks destination.

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Spuyten Duyvil

Critics' pick

Spuyten's minimal draft offerings, as well as its 100-plus bottle list ($5--$45), are focused mainly on tiny European breweries. Sample old-world rarities like the thick, sherrylike Samichlaus lager from Austria or cellar-aged Cantillon lambics of various vintages ($15--$30).

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stacey b

Missed a new one in Clinton Hill: Peck's on Myrtle