Best outdoor bars in NYC
It feels like you’ve stepped into a New Orleans oyster bar and only gets better when you step into the lush 1,000-square-foot garden at this popular salon (expect a wait during peak hours). To keep in line with the French Quarter charm, sip cerebral cocktails under the vine-tangled canopy.
Travel back to 1950s Palm Springs for 2019 Brooklyn cocktails—Aperol seltzer and tequila aloe vera slushies, for instance. The spacious outdoor patio includes colorful chairs, lounges and pretty much anything else that will make this your go-to summer destination.
Does this Pan-Latin follow-up to Clover Club measure up? (Spoiler: It does.) In a mystic-cool space fitting for such bartender worship—rigged with Indio candles, cathedral-pew booths and a golden tin ceiling imprinted with crosses—Mix takes the reins on the cocktail menu and proves she’s worthy of the title leyenda (Spanish for legend).
The setting is a pier that's been closed to the public for 127 years, a retrofitted re-creation of the Gilded Age divided into three levels and anchored by a soaring clock tower. Decked out in nautical relics like pipes from steamship engine rooms, the first floor includes a belly-up bar slinging on-tap cocktails and an expansive beer hall pouring old-world European suds.
Garage-sale-meets-fraternity-house décor invites an ironic, scruffy crowd to this humble hangout, but the beer-garden grub delivers: wolf down bockwurst hot off the half-barrel grill and gulp a chilled draft of beer. On chilly nights, a glowing potbellied stove takes the edge off.
The bar’s backyard is the stuff of New York dreams: upbeat retro tunes flow through the space, which is littered with white and turquoise tables and swinging benches. Set beneath bright string lights, the weekday-heavy crowd—mostly gaggles of friends and casual dates—is proof of the bar’s impending summertime popularity.
Endless summer afternoons have been spent at this Astoria beer garden–the oldest one in Gotham–swinging back mugs of cold Spaten Oktoberfest, Blue Moon and Pilsner Urquell and listening to live music. The kitchen dishes out comforting Czech specialties to pair with your pints.
It’s a rare thing: a Brooklyn bar that offers DJ-scored liveliness inside and a relaxing kick-back-with-cocktails space outside. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at the nightlife haunt Midnights from first-time bar owners Devin Schuck and Raffaello Van Couten. The place is bursting with style—on a recent night, choker-necked locals sipped from copper pineapple goblets while ogling the shoes of high-fashion twins Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder—but it’s a kind of cool softened by that tranquil backyard and cocktails that don’t take themselves too seriously. (I.e. you’ll feel comfortable here even if you’re not too cool for school.) ORDER THIS: The cocktail list is as enjoyable to read as its contents are to drink; along with quaffs named after Bill Murray, Justin Bieber and Barry Manilow, there’s the refreshing White Girl Wasted ($12), a vodka cooler of fresh strawberries, a spritz of lemon and soda water that tastes like a grown-up spring break. The tequila-charged Lime All the Time ($12) is far less dainty thanks to smoky mescal, but pomegranate offers a tart-sweet balance. As for those copper pineapples, they’re employed for the jumbo-size MPK ‘Tiki Cocktail’ ($25), the Instagrammable pièce de résistance loaded with light and dark rum, coconut, orange and pineapple. You won’t remember posting a photo of it, but trust us, it’ll be good.GOOD FOR: Leaving behind Brooklyn’s Edison-bulb–lit bar scene for a slice of the sunny South. The drinkery’s outdoor garden is an ivy-covere
Freehand has yet another hot spot inside its hotel with this Miami-imported rooftop Caribbean bar. The James-Beared-nominated spot with a wraparound terrace and funky, laid-back decor is serving cocktails like Poppyseed Bagel Fizz and Cocoa Puff Old Fashioned.
Ease into day drinking as you taste through Bad Seed’s 12 different taps of cider, including the Dry Hard Cider with no sugar. The backyard is small but if you score an Adirondack chair, you’ll be sipping cider all day.
With its top-flight sound system, sophisticated menu and deeply chill vibes, Nowadays is a slice of Neverland for club kids. Opened by Mister Saturday Night cofounders Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter, Nowadays’ ample outdoor space is the home of its day-party incarnation Mister Sunday and the Ridgewood Market as well as a regular slate of readings and discussions. More recently, a 5,000-square-foot indoor venue was unveiled, so now DJs can spin harder stuff into the wee hours for those who still haven’t adopted grown-up schedules.
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.
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, but the decent bourbon selection is key for non-beer imbibers.
New York harbor was once a hotbed of oyster production, home to nearly 220,000 acres of reefs. Governors Island pays tribute to that bivalve legacy with this outdoor oyster bar and beer garden from the brothers, sailors and restaurateurs behind the popular boat bar Grand Banks. The 32,000-square-foot venue contains a waterfront bar, a separate white-marble oyster bar and four large, communal mahogany tables for sipping craft beers or warm-weather cocktails alfresco.
It’s not shocking that three hops-head buddies would transform a 5,000-square-foot warehouse into a brewery. It’s more unusual, however, when that concept evolves into a bi-level beast with a bar, an event space and, of all things, a coffeeshop. The multipurpose space sprawls over concrete floors with all the whitewashed brick and reclaimed wood you’d expect from a Brooklyn bar, along with draft beers and cocktails that you wouldn’t.
Drinks? Trivia night? DJ's? A Games of Thrones screening? Tacos from Antojitos El Atoradero? It’s all available at Parklife. This fun Gowanus open-air bar, located around the corner from Littlefield, is spacious and laid back.
Pass through the gently-lit bar area in front and head to Doris’s backyard, where you’ll find a ping pong table, couples on first dates and even chefs running pop-ups. The vibe is laidback (with a great collection vintage LPs) while the cocktails are well-crafted but unpretentious.
Find well-crafted cocktails at this approachable, neighborly bar, where the back patio feels like a getaway from the middle of industrial Bushwick. The intimate bar is now even serving small bites to pad your belly with while you imbibe.
Spuyten's minimal draft offerings, as well as its 100-plus bottle list, are focused mainly on tiny European breweries. Sample old-world rarities in the backyard with metal tables and chairs, string lighting, tall trees and a vine-covered brick wall.
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. Bring a group of friends for the NYC-est summer Sunday fundays.
Owned by Kareem Bunton, a musical collaborator of Run the Jewels, Prefuse 73 and TV on the Radio, it's no surprise the bar is meant to feel like a '90s club. With a 1400 square foot patio and drinks by Lucas Moran from Chinatown's Mr. Fongs, it's a perfect place to have a dancing night-out, particularly in the summer.
Sunny weather and margaritas are a match made in heaven, and the cucumber version at this DUMBO Mexican joint is the perfect example. Nurse your hangover at their ivy-covered backyard with queso fundidos, spicy guacamole and black bean frijoles.
A big reason we love Lucky Dog? Our four-legged friends are welcome. There’s a bro-y vibe with 20 or so on-tap beers but that doesn’t matter when you can bring your favorite canine companion with a drink in hand.
If you're looking for an elegant seaside experience that rivals a day in the Hamptons, step aboard Grand Banks, the historic schooner turned oyster bar docked at Tribeca Piers. The waitstaff runs like a well-groomed crew, delivering top-notch naughtical plates like clockwork to the throng of tables on deck. If you'd prefer to simply sip and watch the sunset, two brass-tapped bars flank the bow and mizzen-mast, offering prime seating even without reservations.
Despite the kitschy delight of eating takeaway tacos off a knee-balanced plate at Rockaway Taco, the sit-down setup at this offshoot housed inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a much-welcome upgrade. Like at that OG taco shack, the chef is fueling off-duty surfers and beach-bound locals with exemplary eats, but Tacoway boasts one major feature its forebear was missing: alcohol.
Park Slope brew hounds can kick back at this massive 13,000-square-foot beer garden. Sixty taps dispense more than 20 different craft brews. In warmer climes, order yours with a burger or hot dog at outdoor picnic tables, or rally a group of friends for a game of bocce on one of three courts.
You might ask à la South Park, “What the fuck is a Bavarian beer garden doing in Alphabet City?” Upon entering, you’d have your answer: It’s schvimming mit kustomers. Inside, you’ll find more than a dozen German brews on tap, 11 in the bottle and a guy in a ski suit doing the chicken dance near the bar. If that gets too raucous, the sidewalk tables make for a lively, albeit less cacophonous, setting for hoisting steins.
Inspired by breweries in Cologne, this beer garden pours German brews like Gaffel Kölsch and Radeberger Pilsner, plus wines from its namesake region. Slide into the long communal tables in the back patio for hearty fare such as bratwurst with sauerkraut and schnitzels with fries. No lederhosen required.
Located on the 11th floor of Sister City hotel—from Atelier Ace, the creative studio behind The Ace Hotel—is this new Lower East Side rooftop bar. Last Light's beverage program is run by Josh Hanover: “Tiki Torch” (gin, aperol, coconut), “Firecracker” (rye, ginger, pineapple), “Road Flare” (reposado tequila, citrus, suze) and “Blown Fuse” (an alcoholic slushie that changes flavors daily) join a menu of seasonal cocktails. Bites like ricotta ramps toast, razor clams casino and black bass ceviche are crafted by Chef Joe Orgodnek and Executive Chef Andrew Whitcomb, served with a side of panoramic views. And with close proximity to the New Museum, it feels ripe for eavesdropping on art world gossip.
Danny Meyer has conquered American and Italian fast-casual, so now he’s on to Mexican cuisine. His candy-colored taqueria recalls Madison Square Park’s Shake Shack, started as a simple stand. Order tacos stuffed with pork and mango, mushrooms and elote sauce, or shrimp and chayote tartar in Williamsburg’s new waterfront park.