Eight Awesome Winter-Ready Patios for Outdoor Dining in Boston
From greenhouses to illuminated igloos, check out these snug spots that are perfect for sipping hot toddies.
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We’re hearty Bostonians: A little cold isn’t going to scare us away from all the local restaurants we should be supporting right now. So here are some of the best winterized patios in our little corner of the frozen north. From greenhouses to illuminated igloos, check out these eight snug spots that will have you sipping hot toddies until spring.
Boston Harbor Hotel
Starting December 1, drop anchor at Boston Harbor Hotel for their Winter on the Wharf season, which for the first time will include four heated igloos for up to six people. You don’t need to be a hotel guest to treat yourself to seasonally inspired meals and a new cocktail menu, as well as special packages to help you ring in the winter holidays, from New Year’s Eve to Valentine’s Day. As an added dose of coziness, the hotel’s newest indulgences include afternoon tea and fondue specials, helping us sip and savor some warmth all winter long.
70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 617-439-7000, bhh.com.
Art gallery or al fresco dining spot? The mural-bedecked shipping containers that make up Dbar’s new patio mean that the Dorchester spot is a little bit of both. Installed over the summer and painted by local artists with geometric designs, graffiti-inspired bursts of color, and messages of social acceptance, the patio will stay open as long as diners are happy to brave the elements for Thai chili calamari, fried chicken sandwiches, and garlic shimp linguini. And with heating lamps over most of the tables, lots of cover from the wind, and a hot toddy in-hand, hopefully that will be well into the winter.
1236 Dorchester Ave., Boston, dbarboston.com.
Located within Cambridge’s 907 Main Hotel, which opened in September, the Dial ratchets up its global influences with enormous plates of paella, bucatini pasta, and Brazilian seafood stew. That said, even though chef Justin Orso might look internationally for inspiration, the restaurant is clearly proud of its New England roots—just take a gander the Drunkn’ Donuts cocktail, which pairs brandy and Cambridge-made Toscanini ice cream with Empyreal Nitro Vietnamese coffee out of Portland, Maine.
907 Main St., Cambridge, 617-349-2967, thedialcentralsq.com.
With new executive chef Nick Deutmeyer at the helm, Harvest is ready to navigate the colder seasons on its topiary-trimmed patio, where an oak pergola shrouds the socially distant tables and helps contain some of the cozy, heat lamp-warmed air. Pair your Sunday brunch—buttermilk pancakes topped with toasted coconut and blood orange, anyone?—with an enviable spot right by the outdoor fireplace. And if that doesn’t take the chill off, a Great Pumpkin Latte with pumpkin- and spice-infused Irish whiskey, falernum, cold brew, and cream sure will.
44 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-868-2255, harvestcambridge.com.
The Lookout Rooftop
The illuminated igloos at the Lookout Rooftop lounge at the Envoy Hotel beg the question: Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re in a bioluminescent jellyfish hovering by Boston Harbor? (Answer: Absolutely.) Opening November 6, the domed destinations are something of a yearly tradition in the city. New this season, though, is your chance to thaw out in the “Ice Boxes”: six heated mini-lounges, enclosed by plexiglass, where up to six guests can peep the urban panoramas while slinging back specialty cocktails and small plates from two-time Chopped champ Tatiana Rosana.
70 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-338-3030, theenvoyhotel.com/fb/lookout-rooftop.
Mare Oyster Bar
Nothing says summer quite like oysters, so go ahead: Pretend we’ve fast-forwarded to warmer days of 2021 and all is well as you savor a bucketful of bivalves and bask under the heat lamps at Mare Oyster Bar. The North End eatery’s year-round patio has skyline-fringed views of the Greenway, plus a retractable roof to shield guests from even the most bone-chilling drizzle. There’s also lounge seating by fire pits, the perfect place to relax with rib-sticking meals of braised short ribs with seared scallops, or lobster bisque served with just the right spike of brandy.
3 Mechanic St., Boston, 617-723-6273, mareoysterbar.com.
Picture it: You and your date planted like precious perennials in one of the five heated greenhouses right outside of Talulla. The petite polycarbonate structures match the overall scale of the intimate Cambridge boîte: Each seats only two diners. There’s a window and door affording both fresh air and access to service, meaning the wait staff won’t need to encroach too closely while you tuck into Talulla’s tasting menu. And trust us, chef Conor Denney’s dishes—including fresh ribbons of pasta with lobster, black garlic, and celery root—sure beat the usual date-night of TV and takeout at home.
377 Walden Street, Cambridge, 617-714-5584, talullacambridge.com.
Woods Hill Pier 4
Who says waterfront dining has to wind down come winter? With 12 translucent, heated igloos dotting a sprawling patio that overlooks Boston Harbor, Woods Hill Pier 4 invites you to soak up the sea views without the wind chill. Each igloo seats as many as six guests (the structures are sanitized between parties) and can be reserved for up to two-and-a-half hours. Just come hungry, as there’s a food and beverage minimum of $450; you’ll get a head start on that if you spring for the caviar service ($115), which features the frills of toasty popovers, chives, crème fraîche and shallots. It’s an indulgence you deserve right now, and so is the soul-warming bone broth cocktail with Amontillado Sherry and dry vermouth.
300 Pier Four Blvd., Boston, 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.