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Great bar food: the best outdoor bars with delicious eats

Sample delicious bar food at these alfresco watering holes—you’ll find great burgers, succulent clam rolls and more bar snacks.

1/5
Photograph: Jessica Lin

Sea Witch

2/5
Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

Sweet Afton

3/5
Photograph: Filip Wolak

d.b.a. Brooklyn

4/5
Photograph: Alex Strada

Bier International

5/5
Phyllis B. Dooney

Flatbush Bar(n)

Bar food is no longer limited to stale pretzels and limp burgers—there are plenty of great snacks to be found at bars around the city. Here, find five of our favorite outdoor bars with delicious eats, such as the clam roll at Sea Witch—a delicious summer seafood staple—or Bier International’s German sausages.

RECOMMENDED: Best summer drinks in NYC

Sea Witch

The aquatic theme is apparent as soon as you step inside: There’s a gigantic fish tank behind the bar and a mermaid mural on the back wall. The undersea vibe continues in the spacious enclosed backyard, with its large koi pond. Take a seat at a wooden bench and sip one of the 20 beers on tap, such as Smuttynose Summer Weizen ($6). To soak up the suds, try the clam roll ($12), packed with fried Ipswich bivalves and homemade tartar sauce; if you prefer your eats from dry land, the burger ($6) is simple and satisfying.

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Midtown East

Sweet Afton

Critics' pick

The dark interior of this Queens gastropub gives way to an intimate, almost secret garden out back, with ivy-covered walls and shimmering fairy lights overhead. The bar implores you to “drink local,” offering suds from Sixpoint, Ommegang and other New York State beer makers. When it’s time to eat, go for the substantial burger ($11), adorned with McClure’s pickles and served on a country white bun; the briny topping also comes beer-battered and fried as a side dish ($6) accompanied by smoky sauce.

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Astoria

d.b.a. Brooklyn

After the success of last summer’s pop-up Tchoup Shop outpost, which served Big Easy grub in d.b.a.’s backyard, the beer bar’s owners have lined up more outdoor eats this season. Lucy Roux, a caterer with Cajun, Dominican and Southern influences, will serve farmers’ market vegetable jambalaya ($8) and smoky red rice and beans ($6), among other items, on Fridays (4–8pm), Saturdays and Sundays (1–6pm). Grab a pint of lemony Anchor Summer Beer ($6) or the dark-wheat Franziskaner Dunkel ($6), before taking a seat at the picnic tables outside (arrive early if you want to snag a shady spot under the umbrellas).

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Williamsburg

Bier International

Critics' pick

This European-inspired space helped kick-start the Harlem brew scene when it opened in 2010, and it remains an uptown destination for beer-garden fare. A diverse crowd sips from the menu’s mostly European selections (approximately 18 brews on draft and another 30 in bottles), such as Reissdorf Kölsch ($6). Find a spot on the sidewalk, and sample a large Bavarian pretzel ($5) or—if you’re rolling with a group—the sausage platter ($30), which comes with five brats and a choice of sides like truffle fries or sauerkraut.

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Washington Heights

Flatbush Bar(n)

As at its sister restaurant, Flatbush Farm, the emphasis here is on local and organic ingredients—in the cocktail menu’s Garden Snake ($12), for example, the cucumber and Thai basil that accompany the gin are sourced from a nearby farm. Take your refreshing quaff to the spacious, leafy backyard, dotted with rustic tables surrounded by herb boxes. The bar menu is short and simple, with options including a half dozen oysters ($14) or bacon-studded mac and cheese ($12).

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Park Slope

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Cheap bar food

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Free bar food

Nosh on complimentary grub every day of the week. Alligator Lounge (Daily)Ask for any drink at this no-frills watering hole at any time before last call and you're entitled to a freshly made personal pizza. But you already know this, thanks to numerous 3:30am drunken meals, don't you? Here's a new trick: Save even more dough by opting for a Yuengling or Bud Light, the cheapest brews on tap ($4). 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440) Anfora (Mondays) Between 5 and 7pm, enjoy a plate of charcuterie, pickles and bread covered in melted raclette cheese (after 7pm $15). The West Village wine bar's beverage director, Joe Campanale, suggests pairing the gratis snack with a glass of beaujolais villages ($11). 34 Eighth Ave between Jane and W 12th Sts (212-518-2722, anforanyc.com) Blind Tiger Ale House (Wednesdays) On hump days at 6pm, this haven for serious brewheads offers an assortment of cheeses (two pounds' worth) from nearby Murray's Cheese, as well as baguettes from Tom Cat Bakery. Ask the barkeep which draft will best complement your snack. 281 Bleecker St at Jones St (212-462-4682, blindtigeralehouse.com) The Brazen Head (Mondays) At 5pm, bartenders at this friendly suds mecca set out 30 pounds of hot wings. To partake in the feasting, simply purchase a brew (normally $5.50--$8), which is a buck off during happy hour (4--8pm). 228 Atlantic Ave between Boerum Pl and Court St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-488-04

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