Boston’s Best Patios for Winter (Yes, Winter) Outdoor Dining
Between the insulated igloos, fire pits, and hot cocktails, they'll keep you toasty all season long.
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Typically when the weather gets cold, New England’s frigid air forces restaurant dining to move exclusively indoors. But during the peak of COVID, when the pandemic limited indoor options, Boston’s restaurants came up with a solution. Many solutions, actually—and they stuck around.
The pandemic era’s heated igloos, insulated greenhouses, and propane heaters aplenty have re-emerged since the height of that timespan. Stop by one of the nearly two dozen spots below for an outdoor experience with fantastic food, fire pits, and hot cocktails, too.
This guide was last updated in November 2023; stay tuned for periodic updates.
Stunning views of the waterfront, Zakim Bridge, and watercolor sunsets are accessible all winter long thanks to Alcove’s arsenal of outdoor patio heaters. Soak up the scenery while sipping on the seasonal hot buttered rum cider—served hot and made with Alcove’s own barrel of Plantation 2009 Australian rum spices aplenty—then dive into a meal of locally sourced New American cuisine. Maybe the soul-warming parsnip soup with butter-toasted sage or spinach-and-artichoke dip?
50 Lovejoy Wharf, West End, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.
This neo-trattoria in the Charles Hotel is decked out for year-round dining. Powerful heat lamps and an overhead covering make for a cozy winter dinner, plus imported Italian wines and elegant dishes—like lobster ricotta gnocchi and brown-butter roasted duck breast—round out the experience. Oh, and don’t forget the A+ cocktails. We’re partial to any of the three Negronis on the list.
1 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-661-5050, bar-enza.com.
The Bowery Bar
If it’s vintage-tavern vibes you seek, the Bowery Bar in Dorchester is your spot. And if you’re looking to cozy up inside heated, private yurts (decorated with twinkling lights around the holidays), the Lower Mills mainstay is also your spot. Up until the warm weather rolls around, the yurts do require a food and drink minimum—but meeting it won’t be hard to reach with a rotating draft beer selection and a menu full of comfort food.
2261 Dorchester Ave., Lower Mills, Dorchester, Boston, 617-698-2261, bowery-bar.com.
As of late November, Somerville’s Bow Market has free, communal fire pits available in the outdoor courtyard from Wednesday to Sunday. Grab some food from the many vendors on-site. Try South Shore pizza from Hot Box or South American comfort food from Buenas, and round it all out with macarons from Maca for dessert.
1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville, bowmarketsomerville.com.
Known for its excellent rotisserie chicken, ridiculously good snap pea salad, and warm hospitality, this Watertown mainstay has a spacious patio. The covered portion stays open year-round, enclosed and heated, for regular dining as well as private events. Open daily for dinner, plus Friday lunch and weekday brunch, this family-friendly spot somehow manages to please picky eaters, adventurous diners, and everyone in between—give it a try this winter.
321 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-420-1900, branchlinearsenal.com.
This Dorchester spot’s industrial-chic outdoor patio space is a hot spot in the summer. And come winter? It’s got heaters galore, as well as a partial overhead covering, making it a comfortable locale for comfort food (and creative cocktails) even when the temperatures drop.
1236 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, Boston, 617-265-4490, dbarboston.com.
Perched atop Yotel in the Seaport, Deck 12 is a favorite with sweeping Boston views in the warmer months—but in the winter, it’ll be transformed into a winter resort: Après at Deck 12. Complete with heated gondolas, chairlifts, and Adirondack chairs, it’s home to a host of après-ski vibes, hot cocoa and specialty cocktails (like the Caramel Chaitini with vodka, Bailey’s, chai, and a caramel swirl), and warming small plates.
65 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, 617-377-4747, deck12bos.com.
At the corner of Comm Ave. and Mass Ave., Deuxave offers dining en plein air as long as diners are willing to brave the cold. The modern French-American cuisine tastes just as good under heat lamps on the patio and terrace, but the staff does encourage guests to bundle up on cooler nights.
371 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.
Earls Kitchen + Bar
This Canadian chain’s Prudential Center location not only touts a wide-ranging, crowd-pleasing menu, but an expansive rooftop patio, too. It’s enclosed in glass, greenhouse-style, and open all winter, so you can enjoy the signature tequila drinks and sweeping views all year.
800 Boylston St. (Prudential Center), Unit 107, Back Bay, Boston, 857-957-0949, earls.ca.
This winter, East Cambridge newcomer Gufo transforms into an Italian mountain getaway with the Alpine Après pop-up. Starting in December, the restaurant’s enclosed and heated patio will be accented with festive décor that gives off a vintage European vibe. Along with an Italian Alps-inspired menu (baked gnocchi with truffle, pizza with prosciutto crema, and more), there will be desserts like panettone, festive cookies, and hot cocktails.
660 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 617-945-9734, gufocambridge.com.
A partially covered patio with heaters and a giant stone fireplace, comfortable lounge furniture, and traditional dining tables? An outdoor diner’s dream awaits at Cambridge fan-favorite Harvest, where the patio remains open until early winter.
44 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-868-2255, harvestcambridge.com.
Between the small plates (like pork and shrimp potstickers and kimchi fried rice), the specialty sushi rolls (try one topped with truffle salsa), and the premium sake, you shouldn’t need any more convincing to head to Hojoko. If you do, though, the heaters on the extra-toasty patio will probably do the trick.
1271 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
The Envoy Hotel’s Lookout Rooftop is one of the most popular spots during the summer, with sweeping views of both the city and the waterfront. And it likely will be this winter, too, with heated igloos (along with fleece blankets for those who are extra chilly) boasting the same views. New this year: Snack on “brunch boards” of French toast, waffles, pastries, and more alongside the Envoy’s specialty cocktails.
70 Sleeper St. (Envoy Hotel), Seaport District, Boston, 617-338-3030, theenvoyhotel.com.
North End staple Mare is known for its extensive raw bar (anyone for a shellfish tower?) and seafood-focused bites. Just as destination-worthy, however, is its sunroom-like, year-round back patio, complete with glass walls, a retractable roof, and fire pits and heat lamps galore.
223 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-723-6273, mareoysterbar.com.
Porto’s side patio—enclosed and covered by a retractable awning—means the Back Bay eatery’s Mediterranean fare (from James Beard Award-winning chef Jody Adams) can be enjoyed al fresco straight through winter. A can’t-miss? The fresh, house-made pasta with black truffles and oyster mushrooms.
Ring Rd., Back Bay, Boston, 617-536-1234, porto-boston.com.
Publico Street Bistro and Garden
Come December, the interior courtyard at this Southie bistro is known as “The Lodge at Publico,” outfitted with ’70s-era ski lodge-inspired décor, plus snacks and libations. This year, the Lodge will be the winter home of the Cisco Brewers beer garden pop-up, featuring an expanded drink menu of Cisco beers and Triple Eight spirit cocktails. Although you’re in South Boston, you might forget that you’re not actually in Aspen.
11 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-622-5700, publicoboston.com.
Assembly Row’s cocktail bar, River Bar, offers outdoor dining all year long with the help of fire pits and cozy couches perfect for lounging. Bundle up to enjoy seasonal cocktails such as a brown sugar espresso martini or the “Cider Donut” made with Whistle Pig rye, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
661 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-616-5561, river-bar.com.
Russell House Tavern
Even when the bitter weather of January and February rolls around, this Harvard Square spot keeps its patio open. Nestled in an alleyway decorated with tea lights and lined with heaters, it’s so romantic and cozy you’ll forget you’re outside during the height of winter.
14 JFK St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-500-3055, russellhousecambridge.com.
Six \ West
Once December rolls around, a handful of heated igloos will make their way to the Six \ West rooftop. Each is equipped with an individual heater, furnished with a mix of couches and tables, and offers up a full food menu, cocktails, and stunning views of Boston.
6 West Broadway, South Boston, 857-496-0245, sixwestbroad.com.
State Street Provisions
Permanent heaters are attached to the exterior of State Street Provisions, right over its Atlantic Avenue and State Street patios. The cozy atmosphere is boosted with some free-standing heaters (and a warm bowl of lobster bisque or clam chowder), so you’ll be well-covered when it comes to to keeping away the cold.
255 State St., Downtown Boston, 617-863-8363, statestreetprovisions.com.
Toro is serving up its award-winning Spanish tapas menu outside until the New England weather is too cold for even the most stubborn Bostonians to brave. Opt for the warm dishes like patatas bravas, pimientos, and, of course, paella.
1704 Washington St., South End, Boston, 617-536-4300, toro-restaurant.com.
Trattoria Il Panino
Just around the corner from Trattoria Il Panino’s main entrance is its year-round patio. Heat lamps and a roof mean that al fresco dining can happy any day, in any weather. Stop in for heaping servings of pasta served in silver pans, classic espresso martinis, and house specials like four-meat ragu and rack of lamb.
280 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-720-1336, trattoriailpanino.com.