Boston’s Best Outdoor Dining: 63 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.

Patio season is always one of the blissful times to dine out in Boston, and with springtime now upon us (!) we’ve updated our list of the best outdoor dining spaces around the city. Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy a delicious meal during New England’s most weather-cooperative days ahead. Enjoy! After some of the Arctic cold this winter, we’ve earned it.

Last updated in April 2022; stay tuned for periodic updates.

Photo provided


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 Charles Draghi, last of Bay Village’s beloved Erbaluce. Think: summery salads, seafood, and snacks from the fertile coast of southern New England.

50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston (West End), 617-248-0050,

Ashmont Grill

Just off the Ashmont MBTA stop is an al fresco oasis with modern comfort food from chef Marc Bonanno. Thinks: bouillabaisse or sesame seared tuna with soy-ginger dressing. Bonus: Keep an eye out for “buck a shuck” oysters every Thursday.

555 Talbot Ave., Boston (Dorchester), 617-825-4300,


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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,

The Barking Crab. / Brian Samuels Photography

The Barking Crab

The Barking Crab’s audacious red- and yellow-striped tent screams “HERE!” from its longtime plot right on Fort Point Channel. In the unlikely event you miss it, listen for the similarly roar-like calls of “Smitty!” as old friends are reunited over their post-pandemic oyster shooters, rum runners, and crab leg platters. This is Boston, this is home.

88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722,


Brian Samuels Photography

B&G Oysters

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,

Drinks on the Banyan patio

Drinks on the Banyan patio. / Photos provided

Banyan Bar + Refuge

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,

Bar Mezzana

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,

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,


Photo Provided

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,

bow market

Photo by Samara Vise

Bow Market

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 Variety Bar.

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville,

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 five reservable, heated yurts: Each structure was designed by a different local artist, and each can accommodate up to eight 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,


Photo by Melissa Ostrow Provided

Branch Line

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,

Photos courtesy of Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen

Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen

Brighton’s 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 Pig in Soot, an American stout with notes of bittersweet chocolate, French roast coffee, and toffee. (The inventive house made sausages are also epic.) Now you can also sate your appetite and whet your whistle with Brato on the other side of the river: Its team has partnered with Cambridge music venue the Sinclair to be the spot’s in-house restaurant, and it’ll roll out the seasonal roof deck seating—as well as Brato’s new spins on South Shore-style bar pizza—on Friday, April 15.

190 N. Beacon St., Boston (Brighton), 617-903-3766; 52 Church St. Cambridge (the Sinclair), 617-547-5200,

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 for washing down chips, dip, and some good- old-fashioned hanging in the neighborhood.

378 Centre St., Boston (Jamaica Plain), 617-522-5386,


Photo Provided

Brewer’s Fork

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 Payne’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,


Photo Provided


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,

Photo courtesy of Buttermilk & Bourbon

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,


Photo by Jennifer Trebino Wyllie

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,

Charlie’s Kitchen

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,

The City Tap House patio hosts a Shuckfest of Memorial Day

Photo provided

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,


Photo Provided


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,


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,

Photo via Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen

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,

The patio bar at Devlin's

The patio bar at Devlin’s. / Photo provided


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,

Photo courtesy of Dorchester Brewing Company

Dorchester Brewing Company and M&M BBQ

Behold: Dorchester Brewing Company’s rooftop 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.

1250 Massachusetts Ave., Boston (Dorchester), 617-514-0900,,

Earls rooftop Prudential

Earls rooftop / Melissa Ostrow Photography

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,

Patio at Harvest. / Photo courtesy of Harvest


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,

Hojoko patio

Photo by Kristin Teig provided


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,


Photo by Chip Nestor

Legal Harborside

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,

The Lexington

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 beer battered fish tacos with mango salsa and cabbage slaw) and kicky cocktails.

100 N First St., Cambridge, 617-945-1349,

Lola Burger

The casual counterpart of nearby Lola 42, head here for burgers, fries (and foie gras fries). With around 25 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), 617-936-3170,

A new outdoor dining area and bar at Lolita overlooks the Fort Point Channel

Photo provided

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,

Photo by Jennifer Trebino Wyllie

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,

Lookout rooftop bar photo provided

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,

A new outdoor lounge area debuts May 1 at Lulu's Allston

Photo provided

Lulu’s Allston

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,

The patio at Mare in the North End

Photo courtesy of Mare Oyster Bar

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,


Photo courtesy of Naco Taco

Naco Taco

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, and wheels its meals over to Trillium’s Canton brewery regularly, too.

297 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-1548,

Nautilus Pier 4

One of the splashiest restaurants in Boston’s Seaport also has one of the neighborhood’s most covetable patios. A larger sibling to Nautilus in Nantucket, it’s a buzzy seasonal destination for those who summer as a verb. There’s ample outdoor seating for soaking 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,


Photos Provided

The Neighborhood

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,


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 talented new pastry chef Nik Mastalerz’s Baked Alaska.

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-661-0505,


Brian Samuels Photography

Pier 6

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 Be Right Back, a refreshing cocktail with tequila, muddled cucumber, ginger, lime, and honey. 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,

Porto patio photo by Ken Rivard

Photo by Ken Rivard provided


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,

Publico Boston

Photo provided

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,

view from Reelhouse East Boston

Photo by Emily Sotomayor for “A View to Dine For


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,


Brian Samuels Photography

River Bar

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 snacky plates like herbed truffle fries, honey whipped ricotta with toasted French baguette, and asparagus pesto flatbreads.

661 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-616-5561,


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 Phil Lewis, culinary director for the Lyons Group, the team behind a few popular Back Bay mainstays (such as Sonsie, with its wide wall of windows overlooking Newbury Street). Rochambeau, for its part, does bistro fare with a twist. At any given moment, that might include steak tartare with confit garlic aioli and cured egg yolk, grilled Berkshire pork lion with parmesan polenta, or grilled swordfish with black rice and pickled chili.

900 Boylston St., Boston (Back Bay), 617-247-0400,

Saltie Girl

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,


Photo Provided

The Salty Pig

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,

Sea Biscuit

Because it has the only facilities in Boston harbor that are capable of repairing mid-size commercial vessels, the East Boston Shipyard is a fine place to take in waterfront views with a side of Big Cool Boat porn. If you live or work in the area, it’s one more reason to take a lunch-break jaunt to the patio at Sea Biscuit for a sandwich or hand-size Australian meat pie—holdovers from the address’s previous inhabitant, KO Pies. Weekend brunch, meanwhile, is an excellent chance for the rest of us to make it over to enjoy the sea breeze, coffee, pastries, comforting eats like biscuits with sausage gravy, and a cold cider from Shipyard neighbor Downeast Cider House.

256 Marginal St., East Boston, 617-418-5234,

Rooftop at Six / West photo by Drew Katz

Six West

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 sticky ribs, baby kale salad with sliced pear and feta cheese, and heirloom squash risotto. 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,

The Smoke Shop patio photo provided

Photo courtesy of the Smoke Shop BBQ

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,

Sophia's Grotto patio at night

Photo provided

Sophia’s Grotto

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,

SRV back patio. / Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager


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,

Photo courtesy of Stillwater


Chef Sarah Wade has been dishing out craft comfort food from her downtown restaurant throughout the pandemic—expect “sexy snacks” like homemade deviled eggs with smoked paprika and chives; grain bowls and sandwiches, like smoked pulled pork sandwich with creamy slaw and homemade BBQ sauce; 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,


Photo by Mike Diskin

Sweet Cheeks

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 Evil Twin Brewing’s excellently named Where Words Fail IPA Speaks, or a mason jar filled with whiskey-spiked sweet tea.

1381 Boylston St., Boston (the Fenway), 617-266-1300,

Tall Ship Boston. / Courtesy photo

Tall Ship

There’s a fun crowd of popped collars, Hawaiian shirts, and sundresses that gather at this 245-foot charter boat turned oyster bar docked in East Boston. They come to slurp down platters of shellfish and sip down brightly colored cocktails that taste like a Cape Cod vacation. Who needs a summer home when you’ve got Tall Ship’s nearby lawn, strewn with soft seating, lawn games, and maybe a food truck or two?

1 East Pier Dr., East Boston, 617-307-7714,

Photo courtesy of Talulla


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,


Festooned with hanging and potted plants under a glass roof, the top-floor restaurant at Eataly, an Italian-food emporium in the Back Bay, already looks sort of like a greenhouse. Its outdoor patio only adds to the summery vibe, although the rustic, Boot-inspired cuisine that comes off the open kitchen’s centerpiece, a massive wood-fired grill, is better than anything you’ll find at even your most flame-cooking-adept neighbor’s backyard shindig.

800 Boylston St., Boston, 617-807-7300,


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),

jamaica plain jp porchfest 2014

The patio of Tres Gatos is also a Porchfest venue. / Photo by Olga Khvan

Tres Gatos

Gambas al ajillo (garlic 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), 617-477-4851,

Trina’s Starlite Lounge

The midcentury-cool vibe lends a lot to the interior of this beloved Inman Square bar, so it’s no wonder that the team moved that idea outside, transforming a rear lot into an outdoor lounge with retro furniture and twinkling lights. It’s a fine spot for kicking back with fried chicken, a creatively topped hot-dog-o’-the-day, or vintage cocktail-inspired originals such as the Rhubarbra Stresiand of gin, Aperol, rhubarb, and dry vermouth.

3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0006,

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,

Photos courtesy of Yellow Door Taqueria

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,

This list was last updated April 12, 2022.