As survivors of yet another infinite New England winter, we’re more than ready to ditch our coats and soak up the weather the best way we know how: by imbibing al fresco at one of Boston's patio bars. From spacious rooftop joints with a maritime view (The Landing) to cheery fence-lined terraces (Deep Ellum), here are eight spots guaranteed to quench your thirst while also providing some much-needed vitamin D. Just remember, it’s against city law for bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on their patios without also serving food, so be prepared to order a snack or two.
RECOMMENDED: See the full list of the best Boston bars
Charlie’s Beer Garden is the favorite among the Harvard Square crowd (and rightly so), but if you’re looking for a little more class in your outdoor imbibing, Daedalus’s rooftop patio is an excellent alternative. Ready with both heat lamps and fans to keep customers comfortable no matter what, Daedalus also offers a number of beers, wines and cocktails, including one of our summertime favorites—cairpirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.
The decor is plainspoken, but the beer list is superb. And so are the cocktails, with bartenders willing and able to mix up any old-fashioned or off-the-wall concoction you can throw at them. There's also an eclectic menu offering everything from chilli dogs to veggie lentil stew. Taking its name from the jazz-rich area of Dallas, this relative newcomer is generating a buzz among booze connoisseurs.
Brighton Center might not be an obvious choice for drinking al fresco, but Devlin’s massive outdoor patio provides plenty of room for indulging in the open air. Catch the Sox game on the patio bar’s flat screen or grab a table and take your time savoring one of the spot’s rotating drafts. Sunday brunch on the patio features a live jazz band from noon to 3pm as well as a number of brunch cocktails—including Devlin’s masterful Bloody Marys.
It doesn’t get much better than drinking on the wharf. Holding the title of Boston’s only fully outdoor patio bar, The Landing serves beer by the bucket as well at its signature fish bowl cocktails—but bring friends. The 32-oz Guppy Bowl requires a minimum of two drinkers and the 64 oz. Fish Bowl requires three.
The Back Bay offers plenty of options for patio seating, but with its pleasant rooftop bar and bevy of margarita options, the Rattlesnake gets our vote every time. Adventurous imbibers should go for the Asian Pear or Pineapple Sage Margarita, while traditionalists will appreciate the Rattlesnake’s classic House Margarita.
For some it evokes the Gare du Nord, for others New York's Balthazar—but among them all, this big, bustling American brasserie is a smash hit, accessible in every sense of the word. It's open early and closes late, is staffed by energetic sorts (including expert mixologists) and frequented by equally lively folks: the huge bar and heated patio are rocking. The menu is deceptively simple but appealing, sneaking in oodles of offal between the chilled shellfish and comfort classics such as steak frites and schnitzel.
We'll cut to the chase—The Lower Depths' claim to fame is their $1 Fenway Franks. Located just steps away from the Park itself, this subterranean hangout is packed on game nights with rowdy fans taking advantage of the above-average beer selection and casual but stylish atmosphere. Sure beats paying $7.50 for a watery brew that you're just going to spill on your way back to the nosebleed section.
While many of the area’s bars fill up on weekend nights, there’s seemingly always a spot for you at Abigail’s long bar. The underrated cocktail spot has something for everyone—ranging from “Lite N’ Easy” offerings like the Pimm’s Cup to the party-starting (or, depending on your tolerance, night-ending) Hadron Collider—a half-pint of stout, a shot of Jameson and a glass of champagne. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable and there’s even patio seating in the warmer months.