There’s never been a better time to dine outdoors in New York. The city has designated more than 20 of its Open Streets for dining on weekends (these are the 9 best streets, in our humble opinion), and more restaurants are going al fresco as indoor dining is on hold.
While many New Yorkers surely miss eating and drinking at their favorite restaurants and bars, let’s face it: we’re romanticizing outdoor dining at times. When you’re seated on the city’s sidewalks and streets, there’s a lot more going on than the gazpacho or gin and tonic you just ordered. Cars are honking and zipping by within inches of your wobbly table. The subway rumbles every time it passes underground. And yes, there are rumors that our city’s rats are hungrier than ever.
But these restaurants and bars have patios, backyards and gardens—many you would never know about—to make your outdoor dining experience a bit more serene.
Chef-owner T.J. Steele’s Oxacan-inspired menu is perfect for al fresco dining. The Gowanus restaurant’s patio has a pergola with dangling grape vines, and there’s even a wood-fired grill in back. During the week, you can get drinks and snacks between 2-5pm and there are two seatings daily for dinner at 5:30 and 8pm (reservations only).
A disco ball, a hammock and plenty of throw pillows. Yes, you’re in a wine bar. Sauced is as laid back as its backyard and is a perfect place to linger over a bottle of pét-nat on a sunny day.
Ladurée’s stellar reputation for its macarons were known worldwide long before this 150-year-old French teahouse and restaurant landed in Soho. The cherry blossom trees in the garden complement the delicate, pastel-colored desserts you’ll have trouble ordering just one of when you’re lounging in this oasis.
The 30 seats sit in a well-manicured garden at this West Chelsea spot, where executive chef-partner Jamie Kenyon cooks up comforting Italian fare.
Perhaps the only thing more inviting than French Louie’s friendly service is the garden set up. It’s as welcoming at dinner as it is for brunch.
Red Hook has a small town feel to it with most businesses occupying a stretch of Van Brunt Street. When you step into Somtum Der’s first Brooklyn location, it feels like you’re stepping into an architect’s home with its modern aesthetic. Once you make it through the narrow dining room, an intimate backyard is the perfect spot to share some spicy Northern Thai dishes like papaya salads and skewers of grilled meat (you know you're ordering from a menu you'd find in Asia when the restaurant is designated as a Thai SELECT business, a stamp of approval for serving authentic Thai food).
North Miznon’s Upper West Side location offers more seating than its downtown restaurant inside Chelsea Market. You can also rent out the entire outdoor patio for a party of 30 guests max.
Long before the current crisis hit, Wayla was already a trendy Thai restaurant that was difficult to get into. Now they’ve opened their backyard for reservations-only dining (allotted for 90 minutes) but don’t expect it to get any easier to score a table (we checked Resy and there were no open slots for the next week).
Hanging out at a coffee shop may seem like a thing of the past, but at Partners Coffee in Long Island City, they have a shady courtyard with socially-distanced tables perfect for nursing that latte whether you’re by yourself or with a friend.
Pinto’s back garden feels like you’re in a perfectly-curated dollhouse with its strands of lights mixed in between a lush setting of greenery. On the menu at this chic restaurant—also a part of Thai SELECT—you'll find modern Thai cuisine.
Hortus NYC’s outdoor garden is hidden on the second floor. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of Manhattan with buildings surrounding you, but there are plenty of plants and lights to set the mood as you dig into the modern Asian menu.
You have to pass through Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar to find Blume, a backyard restaurant on the Upper East Side that just opened. The Austrian-style wine bar is dotted with gold tables and pink chairs—seating for 20 is socially-distanced.
Bars across the city are having a more difficult time adjusting to the wave of outdoor dining happening at restaurants these days. At Leyenda, however, they’re offering sidewalk seating as well as a patio out back for a relaxed hang with refreshing cocktails by Ivy Mix.
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