Boston’s Best Outdoor Dining – 52 Top Patios, Decks & More
From lush hidden gardens in the South End to raucous roof decks in Harvard Square, here are the sexiest, liveliest, prettiest, chillest places to dine al fresco this season.
A great patio can overcome anything: mediocre service, an obnoxious guest at a neighboring table…the list is endless. In Boston, however, dining outside requires no compromising. Whether you’re looking for a verdant terrace plucked out of a fairy tale, or a lively beer garden with bocce courts, here’s our list of 52 top spots to spend your sultry summer days (or nights).
If your heart is set on dining al fresco, make sure to call ahead as patio season ramps up.
This post was updated April 11, 2017, with additional reporting by Alex Wilking.
American Fresh Beer Garden Assembly Row
This year-round hang from the Slumbrew team (aka Somerville Brewing Company) has a big top and heaters, but the tent comes down when the weather warms up. There’s weekly trivia, live music on weekends, and even a bocce league, plus a menu with bar snacks, charcuterie, grilled pizzas, and more. Later this spring, the brewery plans to bring a new full-scale brewpub to the developing ’hood, too.
310 Canal St., Assembly Row, Somerville, 800-428-1150, slumbrew.com.
Just off the Ashmont MBTA stop is an al fresco oasis with modern comfort food—shrimp and cheddar grits, blackened salmon with confit tomatoes and Brussels sprouts, a Pearl hot dog on a grilled bun—plus weekly dollar oysters and whole-animal roasts from chef-owner Chris Douglass. You can also settle on the front patio.
555 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, 617-825-4300, ashmontgrill.com.
The lushly landscaped deck behind Atwood’s Tavern proves a low-key refuge for classic comforts like burgers, stuffed mushrooms, and macaroni and cheese—not to mention heavy hitters on draft, like Trillium, Oxbow, and Bantam Cider.
877 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 617-864-2792, atwoodstavern.com.
Traditional dining high-tops and family-style seating make this back patio a prime spot for pre- or post-Fenway noshing. The Boston venture from Trina’s Starlite Lounge offers ever-changing small plates, like grilled buffalo wings and loaded potatoes, entrées like cavatelli with a spicy tomato sauce, sandwiches, salads, and more—and of course, great cocktails, including a famous margarita.
838 Beacon St., Fenway, Boston, 617-421-1910, audubonboston.com.
Descend a few steps to the patio behind the Barbara Lynch Gruppo’s oyster bar and you’ll find summertime bliss. Under a string of globe lights and a little shade from South End flora (in due time), B&G Oysters is a prime spot to have a selection of fresh bivalves on the half shell, a simple lobster roll, and a glass of wine director Cat Silirie’s favorite Chablis.
550 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.
Banyan Bar + Refuge
The team behind the Gallows is paying due respect to the outdoor space at the former Hamersley’s Bistro. Banyan’s brick patio is ensconced in strings of bright bulbs and lush greenery (soon!), and features lounge seating in addition to dining tables. Once it opens, chef Phillip Tang’s Asian fusion fare is available in the refuge nightly until 11 p.m., and weekend brunch starts at 11 a.m.
553 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com.
Barcelona Wine Bar (Brookline)
Premium people-watching in Washington Square is part of the allure of this 70-seat outdoor dining area. The space offers partial shade, and the fine folks in charge have blankets available for chilly nights. Chef Emilio Garcia’s menu features shareable tapas like seared foie gras and jamón croquetas. Just here for the wine? There’s also a cocktail patio.
1700 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline, 617-264-8900, barcelonawinebar.com.
The Blue Room and Belly Wine Bar
This classic spot and its sister bar were among the victims of a fire that affected several businesses at One Kendall Square in summer 2015. Co-owners Liz Vilardi and Nick Zappia have since put them back on the map. Chef Joe Guarino has introduced a number of new plates to help you ease into the warmer months, too, like spring pea ravioli, rutabaga a la plancha, and smoked duck carpaccio.
Bistro du Midi
Overlooking the Public Garden, this 20-seat patio pairs prime views of the park with proper Provençal lunch or dinner. Chef Josue Louis’ Gallic fare includes Hampshire pork cheeks with mustard greens, seared prawns with ratatouille, and more.
272 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.com.
The 45-seat dining area is covered and heated, so it’s a fine place to carve into a rotisserie Green Circle chicken well into the fall, as well as sip tulips of Stillwater Artisanal, Finback, and other rare beers—and ciders—on Magellan Casto’s funky draft list. But in the warmer months, there’s bocce, too.
321 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-420-1900, branchlinearsenal.com.