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).
American Fresh Beer Garden Assembly Row
This year-round hang from the Slumbrew team (a.k.a. Somerville Brewing Company) has a big top and heaters, but the tent will come down for the summer May 16. There’s weekly trivia, live music on the weekends, and even a bocce league, plus a menu with bar snacks, charcuterie, grilled pizzas, and more. American Fresh is always family-friendly, 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—salt and Szechuan peppercorn shrimp, seared George’s Bank sea scallops with parsnip puree and fennel pollen, 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 Mystic Brewing Co., Night Shift, Kent Falls, Bantam Cider.
877 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 617-864-2792, atwoodstavern.com.
Traditional dining tables 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 honey jalapeño wings and pizette with ricotta, entrées like short rib bolognese, 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 took over the hallowed Hamersley’s Bistro space last year, and they’re paying due respect to the outdoor space. Under Rebecca Roth Gullo and Seth Yaffe’s care, the brick patio is ensconced in strings of bright bulbs and lush greenery (soon!), and features lounge seating in addition to dining tables. Chef Philip 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 chicken 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. The Blue Room and Belly have both been shuttered since August, but owner and wine director Liz Vilardi is optimistic they’ll be back by late June 2016, with plenty of prime patio weather ahead of them. New chef Joe Guarino is working on new menu items, and Vilardi and team are renovating the interior and subterranean patio for the grand reopening.
Bistro du Midi
Overlooking the Public Garden, this 20-seat patio pairs prime views of the park with proper Provençal lunch or dinner. New executive chef Josue Louis’s menu debuts in June, but the longtime line cook and sous chef is continuing Robert Sisca’s legacy of Gallic fare with smoked white asparagus soup with escargot, beef daube with spring dug turnip purée, and more.
272 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.com.
This is the first spring in Watertown for co-owner Andrew Holden (Eastern Standard) and his team, but Branch Line’s outdoor space isn’t uncharted territory. The 45-seat dining area is covered and heated, so we know it’s a fine place to carve into a rotisserie Green Circle chicken, along with a few pints of Stillwater Artisanal, Cold Harbor, and other rare beers on Magellan Casto’s funky draft list. Oh, there’s bocce, too.
321 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-420-1900, branchlinearsenal.com.