So You Wanna Get a Drink Outside…
Something’s always felt un peu forced about the Frenchiness of this stylized Provencal eatery – akin to Alex Trebek broguing the word "baguette." Happily, the gorgeous updated waterfront patio offers a haven from the gauntlet of gilded fleurs-de-lis, not to mention a remarkably deep selection (16 by the glass!) of thirst-quenching roses. 510 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-217-5151, intercontinentalboston.com.
The Italians invented al fresco (or, er, at least that name for it), and sipping aperitivi on Coppa’s sidewalk patio is as authentic a sul mare experience as you can get without turning Shawmut Avenue into a rocky coastline. Orange umbrellas and electric-blue furniture add a burst of pizzazz to the block, and we endorse anything that nearly doubles the seating capacity at this hot spot. 253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com.
One-up the time-honored Hub tradition of ogling hapless tourists from some perch along Newbury. From the comfy couch on one end of Bina’s patio, there are unobstructed views of the entrance to the celeb-studded Ritz and the mating-gamesters entering and exiting the Sports Club/L.A. Bonus: You can order booze without food. 581 Washington St., Boston, 617-956-0888, binaboston.com.
When Jody Adams decided to open her upscale ristorante‘s outdoor oasis, we figured it wouldn’t involve pony kegs or stackable lawn chairs. Sure enough, the veranda turned out utterly refined, a plein-air paradise of mahogany, rattan, and postcard vistas. (Note to PBR fiends: You can make do with an ice-cold bottle of Peroni.) One Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-5050, rialto-restaurant.com.
Al fresco frolicking comes in many flavors. And sometimes nothing quenches the thirst quite like that fifth cup of beer that’s colder than it is complex. Raucous and unpretentious, the Crab offers the same seascapes as hoity-toitier waterfront spots. 88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.