Boston’s Best Outdoor Dining: 65 Amazing Patios, Roof Decks and More
From lush hidden gardens to raucous roof decks, here are the sexiest, liveliest, prettiest, chillest places to dine al fresco around Boston.
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Patio season is always one of the blissful times to dine out in Boston, but al fresco options are even more welcome during these days of physically distanced seating. With that in mind—and with springtime officially upon us!—we’ve updated our list of the best outdoor dining spaces around the city, including plenty of special setups that have sprung up during recent pandemic-days. Of course, even as vaccines roll out and business regulations relax, these are still somewhat unpredictable times, so be sure to double-check operations (including service hours and whether reservations are currently required) before you head out to the restaurant. Don’t forget to keep wearing your masks and respecting other guidelines; restaurant operators have endured enough headaches over the last year, you know?
And now, without further ado, here are some of our favorite places to enjoy a delicious meal during New England’s most weather-cooperative days ahead. Enjoy! After this winter, you’ve earned it.
A comfortable setting just off Causeway Street boasts sweeping views of the Zakim Bridge and Boston Harbor. Pair the city scenery with cool cocktails from owner and veteran drinksmith Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli’s team, and “farm coast” cuisine by chef Brian Paszko—think: summery salads, seafood, and snacks from the fertile coast of southern New England.
50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston (West End), 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.
Just off the Ashmont MBTA stop is an al fresco oasis with modern comfort food from chef-owner Chris Douglass. Think bacon-wrapped meat loaf with caramelized onion BBQ jam, lobster and shrimp rigatoni in an herbed bacon cream sauce, white chocolate and raspberry bread pudding. Bonus: Keep an eye out for “buck a shuck” oysters on the first Thursday of every month.
555 Talbot Ave., Boston (Dorchester), 617-825-4300, ashmontgrill.com.
The lushly landscaped (and heated) deck behind Atwood’s Tavern proves a low-key refuge for classic comforts like burgers, fish tacos, and macaroni and cheese—not to mention a beer list with heavy hitters like Lamplighter Brewing, Oxbow, and Idle Hands.
877 Cambridge St., 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 cloistered venture is a charming surprise thanks to a selection of ever-changing small plates, which might include grilled sambal buffalo wings, or loaded potatoes; entrées like chicken tikka masala, sandwiches, salads, and more. Plus, of course, there’s plenty of great cocktails.
838 Beacon St., Boston (Fenway/Kenmore), 617-421-1910, audubonboston.com.
Descend a few steps to the patio behind the Barbara Lynch Collective’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 Chablis.
550 Tremont St., Boston (South End), 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.
Banyan Bar + Refuge
Note: Temporarily closed, but will reopen for outdoor dining on April 21.
Banyan’s brick patio is festooned with strings of warm bulbs in lanterns and lush greenery, and features colorful, comfortable lounge seating in addition to dining tables and a cushioned banquette. No matter where you sit, drinks like the five-spice-infused Painkiller with coconut foam taste great al fresco.
553 Tremont St., Boston (South End), 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com.
If you manage to pass the bright orange umbrellas outside chef Colin Lynch’s coastal Italian restaurant without suddenly craving an Aperol spritz, your willpower is impressive. Really, though, it’s been a long year—and we’ve been waiting a long time for Bar Mezzana to reopen—so cave in, grab a seat, and treat yourself to all the cocktails and crudo you rightly deserve.
360 Harrison Ave., Boston (South End), 617-530-1770, barmezzana.com.
Barcelona Wine Bar
Premium people-watching awaits, whether you choose Barcelona’s ample patio in Brookline’s Washington Square or the similarly spacious setup on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Both menus highlight shareable tapas like seared foie gras and jamón croquetas.
525 Tremont St., Boston (South End), 617-266-2600; 1700 Beacon St., 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 the farms of coastal New England—think: black pepper tagliatelle with Scituate lobster, chicken with ramp risotto and morels, crusted halibut with Manila clams, and more.
272 Boylston St., Boston (Back Bay), 617-279-8000, bistrodumidi.com.
Somerville’s small-scale food hall and maker market has a cool courtyard where you can reserve a seat to enjoy takeout from Saus, Hooked Fish Shop, Hot Box, and more resident dining options. Thirsty? Tip one back with help from Remnant Brewing or Rebel Rebel Wine Bar, as well as the cocktail-slingers at Create and Variety Bar.
1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, bowmarketsomerville.com.
The Bowery Bar
This Lower Mills restaurant debuted in summer 2018 and from the get-go, it’s had an impressive patio with various seating options, including an outdoor bar and private lounge spaces that can be reserved for groups. Through the end of April, the standard patio arrangement is complemented by three reservable, heated yurts: Each structure was designed by a different local artist, and each can accommodate up to six guests. Once warmer weather comes, you’ll stay cool on the patio thanks to a misting system (!); and on misty days, you’ll stay dry thanks to retractable awnings. Besides an expansive menu with everything from crab Rangoon dip to spicy sausage rigatoni, there is occasionally live music, and yard games like cornhole.
2261 Dorchester Ave., Boston (Dorchester), 617-698-2261, bowery-bar.com.
The 45-seat dining area is covered and heated, so year-round, it’s a fine place to carve into a rotisserie chicken and a big plate of snap pea salad, and sip tulips of Stillwater Artisanal, Shacksbury, and other rare beers and ciders on the funky draft list. But in the warmer months, there’s bocce, too.
321 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-420-1900, branchlinearsenal.com.
Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen
Brighton’s still-new brewpub has an outdoor beer garden in a private lot strung with lights and furnished with garden chairs, tables, umbrellas, repurposed whiskey barrels, and heaters that can be reserved for a small propane fee. It’s a perfect place to sip brewer Alex Corona’s creations—like the Oak Square Sour, enhanced by house made syrups like cucumber lime—as well as fresh fare from chef Jonathan Gilman. (The inventive house made sausages are especially epic.) There’s wi-fi available, if you want to work while you whet your whistle, and branded blankets are available for sale too.
190 N. Beacon St., Boston (Brighton), 617-903-3766, bratobk.com.
The Brendan Behan Pub
This beloved Jamaica Plain watering hole had a patio in the works well before it was clear that the pandemic era would require one. Located behind the pub in a private backyard, the brick patio is secluded behind high, wooden fencing and has stone garden plots populated with pretty flowers. The Behan has an extensive craft beer list and a more limited selection of empanadas, sandwiches, and other prerequisite bar bites.
378 Centre St., Boston (Jamaica Plain), 617-522-5386, brendanbehanjp.com.
This beer garden offers a sense of place: You can see the Bunker Hill Monument peeking above the landscaped flora and string lights. Chef John Paine’s wood-fired pizzas and small plates (like wood-roasted, Plum Island steamers, and daily crudo options) pair perfectly with co-owner Michael Cooney’s selection of top-tier local and Belgian brews.
7 Moulton St., Boston (Charlestown), 617-337-5703, brewersfork.com.
Rustic, family-style tables clothed in blue-and-white gingham give this biergarten a decidedly Bavarian feel. It’s the perfect location to take in chef Tim Wiechmann’s bretzel with horseradish mustard, wursts, schnitzel, and liters of lagers, hefeweizens, and radlers.
255 Washington St., Somerville, 617-776-9900, bronwynrestaurant.com.
Buttermilk & Bourbon
Comfortable lounge seating, a six-seat bar, ample heat towers and shade umbrellas—plus dining tables, of course—make this Comm. Ave. patio an ideal spot for after-work drinks and dinner. Did we mention there are rotating flavors of house-made soft serve?
160 Commonwealth Ave., Boston (Back Bay), 617-266-1122, buttermilkbourbon.com.
Cambridge Brewing Company
Tucked into One Kendall Square is a patio perfect for a mini beer festival any time chef David Drew breaks out the outdoor grill, which he does a few times a season. Beer garden parties aside, it’s a fine place for spent grain-dough pizzas, dollar oysters, and a few rounds of house-made brews like Working Class Hero, a hoppy saison from brewmaster Will Meyers. There’s also a standing room, beers-only “swig pen.”
One Kendall Square, Bldg. 100, Cambridge, 617-494-1994, cambridgebrewingcompany.com.
A classic double cheeseburger, waffle fries, and a brew straight from the 22-draft outdoor bar are storied Harvard Square traditions. The rock-lined, subterranean beer garden is dog-friendly, and it’s open year-round, complete with tableside fireplaces.
10 Eliot St., Cambridge, 617-492-9646, charlieskitchen.com.
City Tap House
Craft beers and fire pits are found in spades at this Fort Point spot. Come for weekend brunch, and stay for a couple rounds of cornhole. Cheers!
10 Boston Wharf Rd., Boston (Fort Point), 617-904-2748, citytap.com.
Maybe it’s the sea breeze, but this hotspot’s outdoor cocktail lounge feels a little more laid back than its lively dining room and huge indoor bar. It’s also a fine place to sip seasonal specials such as frozen slushies, as well as a destination from which to explore the extensive list of lesser-known Mediterranean wines, Greek spirits, and fun meze.
50 Northern Ave., Boston (Seaport), 617-737-5051, committeeboston.com.
This Southie spot boasts not only the 75-seat “Porch” out front, but also a vintage Airstream-turned-rooftop bar, the Airdeck. The multi-level space has summer-ready cocktails and craft beer, plus party-friendly barbecue plates, buffalo shrimp, sweet potato tots, and more.
40 W. 3rd St., South Boston, 617-658-3452, coppersmithboston.com.
A spacious place to share in Cali-Mex fare has arrived to the South End’s Revolution Hotel. The stone patio has spaced-out tables, plus an out-of-this-world selection of snacks like esquites, or street corn salad; shrimp rojo ceviche with tomato, lime, and tequila; and tons of tacos, like duck and pork carnitas with plantains and green mole. (Pro tip: Frozen mango margaritas also taste even better al fresco.)
40 Berkeley St., Boston (South End), 617-313-7878, cosmicaboston.com.
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
Alongside quiet Northampton Street, Darryl’s boasts a lush, secluded slice of outdoor space in the heart of the South End. It’s a prime spot to sip a frozen cocktail before catching a summertime show of live, local music.
604 Columbus Ave., Boston (South End), 617-536-1100, dcbkboston.com.
This Brighton neighborhood favorite has a large, outdoor dining area hidden in the back. It’s an ideal place for meeting friends to share snacks like tuna poke wonton tostadas, blackened swordfish tacos with mango salsa, and charcuterie pizza. The outdoor bar has a robust draft list, and TVs to appease al fresco sports fans.
322 Washington St., Boston (Brighton), 617-779-8822, edevlins.com.
Dorchester Brewing Company and M&M BBQ
Dorchester Brewing Company’s recent addition includes an exterior deck with open-air tables and breathtaking views of the Boston skyline. Along with a wide spectrum of house beers, plus fresh brews from guest brands like Lone Pine Brewing Co., the place also boasts access to a full menu from in-house restaurant M&M BBQ, so dive in to chef-owner Geo Lambert’s famous ribs or the “Fenway” soft pretzel with smoked cheese sauce. The brewery also has outdoor seating on the ground level.
Earls Kitchen + Bar (Back Bay)
This twinkling roof deck seats more than 200 people across various dining and lounge-style settings. It has a gigantic tree and an ivy-lined wall, and the retractable roof allows for three-season enjoyment.
The Shops at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston (Back Bay), 857-957-0949, earlsrestaurants.com.
Located off a cobblestone path in the heart of Harvard Square, Harvest’s enclosed outdoor dining area is one of Cambridge’s best date spots, particularly on chilly nights—there are heat lamps over every table, and they’ll also light up the stone fireplace.
44 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-868-2255, harvestcambridge.com.
Belly flops are a no-no—sake bombs, however, are strongly encouraged at Tim and Nancy Cushman’s rollicking Japanese pub, where outdoor seating surrounds around the Verb Hotel’s retro-chic pool. Besides the high-top tables and lounge chairs underneath retractable awnings here, you’ll find additional seating on a fab front porch.
1271 Boylston St., Boston (the Fenway), 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
KO Pies at the Shipyard
This is a truly unique spot overlooking the industrial (and artsy) Boston Harbor Shipyard—for one more summer, at least. (The place is currently up for sale.) While you still can, head here for Australian meat pies, wedges, and a Coopers (or local craft beer or cider) on the deck. There is cornhole to play, and once the season really gets swingin’, they’ll throw open the beer service window so you don’t have to go back to the bar to keep the party going.
256 Marginal St., East Boston, 617-418-5234, kocateringandpies.com.
This three-story behemoth is a stunner in all seasons, but summertime is when it really excels. Grab a pint at nearby Harpoon before hitting up Legal’s picturesque patio for some steamers, New England fried clams, and freshly shucked shellfish.
270 Northern Ave., Boston (Seaport), 617-477-2900, legalseafoods.com.
Chef Will Gilson’s triad of restaurants at Cambridge Crossing includes Cafe Beatrice, an all-daytime cafe; Geppetto, a full-service Italian eatery; and the Lexington, a people-pleasing restaurant and bar that just happens to boast a rare-for-the-neighborhood roof deck connected to its dining room by wide walls of retractable windows. It’s a stylish, breezy space for kicking back with Gilson’s New American cuisine (try the fried chicken with green goddess dressing and cranberry slaw) and kicky cocktails.
100 N First St., Cambridge, 617-945-1349, thelexingtoncx.com.
The casual counterpart of nearby Lola 42, head here for burgers, fries (and foie gras fries). With 19 seats along Fan Pier Boulevard, the Lola Burger patio offers its full menu of upscale pub grub (also available for takeout) in addition to a selection of local craft beers, bubbles, and non-boozy milkshakes.
11 Fan Pier Blvd, Boston (Seaport), lolaburger.com.
Lolita (Fort Point)
The second location of this tequila bar has an outdoor bar and seating area along the Harborwalk. The modern Mexican cuisine and renowned margaritas taste right at home inside the gothic-style interior, but they also pair nicely with views of the Fort Point Channel.
253 Summer St., Boston (Fort Point), 617-369-0931, lolitamexican.com.
Lone Star Taco Bar
During the pandemic shutdown, cofounders Max Toste and Aaron Sanders announced the bittersweet closure of their first bar and restaurant, Deep Ellum in Allston. But the silver lining is that their beloved taqueria has taken over the space, including the oasis out back. A secluded spot of dark-stained woods and greenery, the back deck provides just enough shade to enjoy tacos and margaritas from brunch through sunset. A similarly inspired setup, albeit out front, can also be found outside Cambridge sister spot Lone Star Taco Bar.
479 Cambridge St., Boston, (Allston), 617-782-TACO; 635 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 857-285-6179, lonestar-boston.com.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
Impress out-of-town guests this summer at this trendy spot. Along with craft cocktails, the seventh-story lounge on top of the Envoy Hotel serves up breathtaking views of the Harbor and the Skyline. (And even when the weather is cold, the place trots out glowing, plexiglass igloos that small parties can reserve to huddle inside with hot drinks and noshes.)
70 Sleeper St., Boston (Seaport), 617-530-1538, theenvoyhotel.com.
The patio outside Loyal Nine’s café is a quiet spot to sip espresso in the morning. At night, dine on chef Marc Sheehan’s oft-changing, rustic New England fare, with its emphasis on native seafood, vegetables, and herbs, like anise hyssop grown right on the deck. Don’t miss the refreshing, house-made shrubs and creative cocktails.
660 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 617-945-2576, loyalninecambridge.com.
There’s plenty of room behind this Allston beer bar—about 50 dining seats, plus colorful lounge furniture, cornhole, and a bocce court. Some of the perches are made from repurposed kegs, and the beer theme extends to a screen divider hanging above a standing bar area: It’s decorated with tap handles representing some of the 50 craft beverages Lulu’s has on draft inside.
421 Cambridge St., Boston (Allston), 617-787-1117, lulusallston.com.
Mare Oyster Bar
Prolific North End restauranteur Frank DePasquale’s seafood concept has a 70-seat outdoor lounge with fire pits, a retractable awning, and plush seating. It’s an ideal setting for the Mediterranean-inflected likes of grigliata di pesce (grilled seafood), daily crudo, and hot and cold lobster rolls, and a glass or two of wine.
3 Mechanic St., Boston (North End), 617-723-6273, mareoysterbar.com.
This bright and lively patio has a permanently parked food truck dishing out spit-roasted al pastor and smoked chicken thigh tacos, plantains con queso, and more. The Mass. Ave. spot is prime for people-watching while enjoying rounds of margaritas, sangria, and micheladas in the sunshine. Looking for takeout tacos? Naco Taco has a truck parked on Newbury Street every day, and wheels its meals over to Trillium’s Canton brewery regularly, too.
297 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-1548, nacocentral.com.
Nautilus Pier 4
One of the newest restaurants to open in Boston also has one of the most covetable patios. A larger sibling to Nautilus in Nantucket, a buzzy seasonal destination for those who summer as a verb, this Seaport sequel has ample outdoor seating where you can soak up copious sunshine, sake, and eclectic surf- and turf-based plates that accents New England-sourced ingredients with Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired flourishes.
300 Pier Four Blvd., Boston (Seaport), 857-957-0998, thenautilus.com.
Come springtime, this happening diner moves service outside onto a gargoyle-guarded patio. Come high summer, it’s shaded with fragrant grapes, which owner Sheila Borges and family harvest to make the jelly for your house-baked, complimentary toast.
25 Bow St., Somerville, 617-623-9710, theneighborhoodrestaurant.com.
One of the most coveted seats in town, Oleana’s patio is a transportive setting, adorned with a gurgling fountain and enhanced by the perfume of a nearby herb garden, in which to enjoy Ana Sortun’s inventive Eastern Mediterranean fare. The Sultan’s Delight of tamarind beef with a smoke eggplant puree is legendary, and so is pastry guru Maura Kilpatrick’s iconic Baked Alaska.
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-661-0505, oleanarestaurant.com.
Note: Temporarily closed, but will reopen soon. Updates will be shared on its social media.
Dine in full view of the historic Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution on the roof deck, or on the huge, first-floor patio. Downstairs, there’s an outdoor bar, with rosé magnums and cocktails like the Captain’s Mistress, a refreshing sparkler with tequila, Aperol, grapefruit juice, rhubarb bitters, and cava. Plus: There’s a complimentary (weather-dependent) seasonal water taxi directly to the equally scenic East Boston sister spot, ReelHouse.
1 8th St., Boston (Charlestown), 617-337-0054, pier6boston.com.
The patio at Jody Adams’ Mediterranean venture offers lounge seating, views of the Copley block, and an outdoor bar to boot. Take in the scenery over plates of raw fluke, squid ink bucatini, and barrel-aged Greek feta and olives.
Ring Rd., Boston (Back Bay), 617-536-1234, porto-boston.com.
Publico Street Bistro & Garden
The chic, year-round atrium is one of the reasons this Southie spot is a neighborhood favorite. It has a 13-seat bar as well as tables and lounge seating around fire pits (and there are outdoor TVs, too). In summertime it’s lush with greenery, and in winter, it’s the cozy après ski-inspired Lodge at Publico.
11 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-622-5700, publicoboston.com.
On this sprawling, 130-seat deck, take in panoramic views of the harbor and skyline from the unique vantage point of Eastie. There’s a granite-topped outdoor bar, yacht-themed décor, tropical cocktails, and a seafood-focused menu. Plus, it’s accessible from Charlestown by public water taxi.
6 New St., East Boston, 617-895-4075, reelhouseboston.com.
Comfy orange couches, fire pits, landscaped trees, and an outdoor bar complement views of the Mystic River from the year-round deck. In warmer months, the retractable roof is gone, for ultimate al fresco enjoyment of street food-inspired plates like polenta poutine, short rib empanadas, and vegetarian-friendly grain bowl.
661 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-616-5561, river-bar.com.
Next to the Italian food emporium Eataly Back Bay is a French-ish outdoor cafe. Rochambeau’s takeout and patio menu features the likes of rosé, patio-friendly classic cocktails, and shareable plates by chef Matt Gaudet. The former West Bridge chef does bistro fare with a twist. At any given moment, that might include tuna tartare with avocado and puffed rice, a surf-and-turf set of sliders on brioche (lobster salad and flank steak), or pecan-smoked ribs.
900 Boylston St., Boston (Back Bay), 617-247-0400, rochambeauboston.com.
Over the last year, this clever lil’ seafood stunner moved from an intimate Back Bay address into the much larger space that housed sibling restaurant Met Back Bay. That means there’s much more elbow-room for enjoying icy platters from the raw bar as well as chef Kyle McClelland’s exceptional ideas from the kitchen: say, fried lobster atop spicy syrup-drizzled waffles, or rock crab carbonara.
281 Dartmouth St., Boston (Back Bay), 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com.
The Salty Pig
Status: Temporarily closed but reopening imminently. Keep an eye on its Instagram account for updates.
Step off the Orange Line at Back Bay station and settle in on this 60-seat patio to create your own charcuterie board with house-cured pig parts, and have few slices of stone-grilled pizza. The fare partners perfectly with the restaurant’s wide selection of Old World wines, craft beers, and cocktails.
130 Dartmouth St., Boston (South End), 617-536-6200, thesaltypig.com.
This longtime favorite debuted outdoor dining for the first time last summer. You’ll choose a set, family-style menu—vegetarian or not—then settle in for a parade of Eastern Mediterranean mezze in the sunshine. Make a reservation now to discover why her sesame fried chicken, feta cheese gnocchi, and octopus escabeche make chef-owner Cassie Piuma one of the very best chefs in Boston.
249 Pearl St., Somerville, 617-764-4464, sarmarestaurant.com.
Head up to the 4,000-square foot terrace at Six West, the restaurant house at Southie’s new Cambria Hotel, for skyline views and an all-day menu of plates like a daily flatbread; watermelon salad with basil, avocado, and feta; and rigatoni bolognese. Plus, plenty of cocktails. During the winter, Six West also set up a row of reservable translucent greenhouses to keep guests warm—so you can always hunker down inside one of those if there’s still a chill in the air.
6 West Broadway, South Boston, 857-496-0245, sixwestbroad.com.
The Smoke Shop BBQ (Kendall Square and Assembly Row locations)
The spacious courtyard at One Kendall Square has a few outdoor dining options, including a patio right outside the glass-walled bar of chef Andy Husbands’s original barbecue restaurant. There’s a lively atmosphere here and on the patio at the Assembly Row location—as well as tables full of agave-glazed chicken wings, ribs and brisket burnt ends, and fresh craft beer.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-577-7427; 325 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-623-7427, thesmokeshopbbq.com.
This herbaceous patio in Roslindale is one for the books. The rustic outdoor space offers plenty of shade and greenery, perfect for an al fresco meal of spicy mussels and fontina-stuffed veal.
22 Birch St., Boston (Roslindale), 617-323-4595, sophiasgrotto.com.
Grab a spot on the small, front patio along Columbus Avenue to see and be seen, but the 46-seat, hidden deck behind the restaurant is where to have a secluded soiree. The outstanding restaurant’s full menu is available on both patios.
569 Columbus Ave., Boston (South End), 617-536-9500, srvboston.com.
Chef Sarah Wade has been dishing out craft comfort food from her downtown restaurant throughout the pandemic—expect “sexy snacks” like homemade cheese-its and dip; grain bowls and sandwiches, including a lobster roll with a citrus-chive mayo; and vanilla-ricotta doughnut holes. You can also sip Stillwater’s “kickass cocktails” on the spacious, Chinatown-adjacent patio.
120 Kingston St., Boston (Downtown), 617-936-3079, stillwaterboston.com.
What’s better than a heaping tray loaded with brisket burnt ends, fried chicken, and Tiffani Faison’s softball-sized biscuits? Devouring said tray at Sweet Cheeks’ outside bar with a cold can of Zero Gravity Green State Lager, or a mason jar filled with whiskey-spiked sweet tea.
1381 Boylston St., Boston (the Fenway), 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.
One of the many new pop-up patios to populate the North End is Table’s setup distanced from the street by lush green ferns. Instead of sharing your meal family-style with fellow diners, as is the typical experience at the restaurant from sports reporter-turned-chef Royle, you’ll now dine on the likes of burrata and prosciutto with pistachio pesto, meatballs and San Marzano tomatoes, and seared octopus with charred fennel with your own party only.
445 Hanover St., Boston (North End), 857-250-4286, tableboston.com.
Another COVID-era setup, the intimate and elegant Talulla has taken over the patio of a next-door coworking space to debut a darling terrace; spouse-owners chef Conor Dennehy and sommelier Danielle Ayer even set up cozy greenhouses during the winter weather. Now we’re glad to see that spring has sprung and the open-air experience has been revived—it’s a lovely way to take in his stunningly elegant plates (say, panisse with fermented cauliflower and nettle pesto) and her superior selections of wine.
377 Walden St., Cambridge, 617-714-5584, talullacambridge.com.
The Washington Street tables are back out in front of Jamie Bissonette and Ken Oringer’s Spanish spot, but now Toro also has a new, now-permanent hidden patio behind the restaurant. The brick patio has bistro lighting and is shrouded in greenery, with socially distanced tables available for both reservations (a Toro first) and walkups. Head here to experience the dynamic duo’s stellar tapas on site—you know, when you’re not ordering from Ghost King Thai, the team’s new, takeout-only concept devoted to Thai fried-chicken.
1704 Washington St., Boston (South End), toro-restaurant.com.
Status: Open daily for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Gambas a la brasa (blackened shrimp), warm Medjool dates, lamb bocadillo, and other tapas and pinchos from chef Stephen Marcaurelle are as tempting as the vinyl soundtrack, and the small but verdant patio out front. As is the sherry collection.
470 Centre St., Boston (Jamaica Plain), 617-477-9209, tresgatosjp.com.
Trina’s Starlite Lounge
A lot behind this beloved bar has been transformed into an outdoor lounge with retro furniture and twinkling lights. In addition, next-door sister spot Parlor Sports has transformed into the takeout-only Starlite Snack Shack, dishing out soft-serve ice cream, hot dogs, and more through a walk-up window.
3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0006, trinastarlitelounge.com.
Woods Hill Pier 4
As waterfront dining goes, its hard to beat natural foods activist-turned-restaurateur Kristin Canty’s chic setup at an iconic Seaport address. The sprawling patio is a superlative setting for chef Charlie Foster’s upscale locavore cuisine, which sources many of its ingredients straight from sibling Woods Hill Farm in New Hampshire. Even better, though, is that the spot is still offering the opportunity to reserve space inside heated igloos until the weather is definitely warm enough to pack those pop-up structures away.
300 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston (Seaport), 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.
Yellow Door Taqueria
Although the original location in Dorchester does have a small, street-side setup for outdoor dining, if you’re looking for an al fresco experience you’ll really want to its location at the South End’s Ink Block development. There’s now a YDT “margarita garden” in the driveway space between the taqueria and neighbor Bar Mezzana. The dine-in menu, meanwhile, is stocked with tacos, elote, and fresh guacamole.
354 Harrison Ave., Boston (South End), 857-239-9276; 2297 Dorchester Ave., Boston (Dorchester), 857-267-4201, yellowdoortaqueria.com.
This list was last updated April 5, 2021.