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.
Just off the Ashmont MBTA stop is an al fresco oasis with modern comfort food—braised short ribs, pan-seared salmon with sun-dried tomato tapenade, 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 from Night Shift Brewing, Oxbow Beer, 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.
This dog-friendly, Hampshire Street expanse is shaded with retro blue-teal umbrellas, and during peak hours, it has a small, outdoor bar dishing out cold cans and cocktails. It also occasionally hosts events, like the Auto Flea, or the annual Paella on the Porch with guest chef Jamie Bissonnette. But on any given day in season, this patio is a prime location for Kendall Square-area lunches, post-work snacks and drinks, or full dinner—just make sure to save room for whatever’s on the tableside tray of frozen candy and Klondike Bars that stands in for the dessert menu.
50 Hampshire St., Cambridge, theautomaticbar.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 warm bulbs and lanterns and lush greenery, and features colorful, comfortable lounge seating in addition to dining tables and a banquette. No matter where you sit, drinks like a five-spice-infused Mai Tai with coconut foam taste great al fresco. The patio opens annually around May 1, and also brings back weekday lunch and weekend brunch for the season, too.
553 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com.
The Bar By the Elevator
The One Kendall Square plaza has myriad outdoor dining options. But this weather-dependent, seasonal tiki bar (reopening seasonally from May into fall) from co-owner and drinksmith Evan Harrison and the rest of his team at State Park and Mamaleh’s is just too much fun. Low-key and low-frills with just a few cocktails, beer and wine selections, and snacks like hot dogs, it’s a perfect first (or last) stop of the night.
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.
Bistro du Midi
Overlooking the Public Garden, this 20-seat patio pairs prime views of the park with proper Provençal lunch or dinner. Chef Robert Sisca’s French fare is inspired by coastal New England, 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 year-round, it’s a fine place to carve into a rotisserie Green Circle chicken, and 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.