After months of (impatiently) waiting, outdoor drinking season is finally upon us. Which is exactly why the folks behind Schofferhofer, the world’s first hefeweizen grapefruit beer, want you to get out and enjoy Seattle’s alfresco hotspots. We’ve narrowed the list to 10 toast-worthy bars and restaurants. Patio partiers, rejoice!
Best outdoor drinking spots in Seattle
The Seattle patio that rivals all others, Marination Ma Kai offers the most stunning view of the city skyline, which looks like it’s playing with sparklers when the sun sets over Elliott Bay. Kick back with a Ma Kai—an even boozier version of a Mai Tai poured in a glass or over shaved ice—while enjoying some rays. (Umbrellas and wind guards keep patrons comfortable.) In addition to a lengthy, tropical-themed cocktail menu, there’s a wide selection of local beers on tap, including Stoup, co-owned by Ma Kai’s former Cicerone. Word on the street is that an outdoor bar will be added late this summer.
Two rows of wooden communal tables stand ready for sun worshippers: Half sit inside a glass roll-up door that allows for proper Lake Union viewing, rain or shine, while the other half sit dockside under strings of party lights. Adjacent to the tables, a fire pit constructed from oyster shells keeps an army of Adirondack chair-campers cozy. Warning: When it’s sunny out, the line to grab a seat outside is already 20+ deep by 5pm. Better bet: Make a reservation for a table inside or post up at the bar (reserved for walk-ins), and wait for an outdoor spot to open. You’ll get the same view without the sunburn. If you’re lucky enough to own a boat, you can skip the crowds and pull right up to the 80-foot long dock out front.
This charming wine bar inside in a classic home in Madrona sits above Wilridge Winery. You’ll find it nearly impossible to resist lounging on the wooden patio under a warm starry night. Communal tables and bistro two-tops fill up fast (and early) when the sun shines; heat lamps, courtesy blankets and strings of party lights keep the party going late. The fashionable beverage here is rose, but there are also two local rotating beers on draft as well as Imbue Vermouth, which is served on the rocks with a twist. What makes this spot special is its cordial and informed staff, from wine experts to cheese mongers.
With 39 beers on tap and a policy that’s comically kid- and pet-friendly, it’s easy to understand why this glorified Quik-E-Mart holds a place in the hearts of so many Seattleites. If you’re into beer (especially the hard-to-find variety), this is your Mecca. What began as a convenience store with a few bar stools and even fewer draft beers quickly became the meeting spot for locals. In summertime, it’s standing room only: Regulars swarm the modest patio, which can easily seat 60. Kiddos play board games, while mom and dad take the edge off with a pint.
The epitome of an urban oasis, this rooftop patio peering over Capitol Hill doubles as an herb garden for homegrown ingredients. Ironically, the Seattle Raindrop, made with vodka, ginger, grapefruit, cardamom and cava, is a popular drink in summer months. So are copious amounts of rose, found among the extensive wine list, which offers glass pours ranging from $8 to $19. There are five rotating local beers on tap: Georgetown Brewing, Bale Breakers and Black Raven are popular players. The rooftop is a stellar place to sit during lunch, and even when the crowds flock to the top for an alfresco dinner, the “fire bar” at the southern point of the patio is reserved for walk-ins.
Regarded as one of the world’s best cocktail bars, this craft drinking emporium sees nary a slow night. But many don’t know about the patio out back. Even better? The staff breaks out large-batch beverages in the form of champagne bottles for thirsty deck-goers. These carbonated cocktails—which range from variations of a daiquiri to summertime favorites like A Matter of Thyme (Novo Fogo cachaça, thyme-picpoul syrup, fresh lemon, Fever Tree tonic, lime bitters)—are ideal for a group of four, as are the giant punch bowls. Pro tip: Canon takes reservations for $25, which goes towards your bill. If there’s no room outside, just hang out at the bar and wait for someone to get donked on punch.
Not only is it arguably the best place to eat in Georgetown, this funky Mexican cantina boasts one of the best patios in Seattle. With more than 50 different tequilas (and nearly as many mezcals) to choose from, margaritas rule the roost. But when it comes to beers, Fonda La Catrina looks no further than across the street, favoring taps from Georgetown Brewing. The gap between lunch and dinner (2–6pm) is the best time to enjoy a cold drink outside on the two-tiered patio—the upper half of which is enclosed and open year-round. If you miss the window, grab a seat at the bar; chances are good a spot will open up in less time than it takes you to order a second round.
This Pike Place Market cubbyhole has a patio that rivals the popularity of its renowned bar. On Fridays, don’t even think about getting a seat outside unless you arrive as the front door is being unlocked. When the sun shines, everyone wants to be here: not only loyal customers, but also tourists who eye the bar from the waterfront-adjacent Hillclimb. The otherwise invisible hideaway becomes a beacon of sweet patio sipping when customers overtake the 35 or so seats. Summer cocktails are on the lighter side; think fewer Manhattans and more gin gimlets. Frosty pints of Maritime Pacific are also available, as are a small but decent selection of wines by the glass and an impressive champagne roster. Krug is always in season.
Nearly camouflaged by greenery, the patio of this residential café is the perfect place to escape the city, which lies just a few blocks west. Half a dozen heat lamps and sturdy umbrellas mean guests need not fear a sunburn. As for beverages: Tallulah’s is just one of several Linda Derschang restaurants that offers tap cocktails. The sparkling negroni rossa, made with gin, rose, aperol and cappelletti, is a day-drinker’s dream. And making a comeback this patio season—the popular avocado margarita. Also on tap: seven seasonally rotating taps focused on PNW beers and ciders. Tallulah’s also has a small but diverse bottle program featuring some of their international favorites.
A delightful respite situated on the haute corner of 19th and Mercer, Monsoon is an old stand-by with new outdoor seating. Instead of fighting over one of four tables near the entrance, patrons clamoring for one of rock star barman Jon Christiansen’s seasonal boozy creations can take advantage of 10 extra seats (which can be reserved) along the window of Monsoon’s bar. On a hot day, down a Sayulita cocktail made with muddled cilantro, hibiscus and Thai chili-infused tequila, and fresh squeezed orange and lime juices. There’s also a thoughtful selection of wines by the glass and beers on tap. (Of note: A rooftop patio is planned for late July and will include a satellite bar and grill.)