There’s a special something in the air when summer gets in full swing in NYC—it’s humidity (just kidding, well, not really.) There’s also no better time to throw on those barely-there shorts and find a cute, poppin’ outdoor patio to sip a frozen cocktail with your squad. We hit up a bunch of dope restaurants around the city to bring you our top 10 picks. And, as an added bonus, a bunch are on the waterfront for the best Insta-grammy opportunities because without a post, did it even happen?
Our first pick is Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This super trendy spot is always packed but in the warmer months, it opens up its expansive outdoor patio doubling its size. Yay! It’s well-known for its clever and delicious pies, but also for smart, modern food, a great bar scene, and the Michelin-starred Blanca out back (that is, if you can reserve one of the tasting counter’s 12 seats.) The patio is filled with picnic tables, ideal for meeting cool new people, downing some Mai Tais and eating a few pizza pies from the takeout section. Pro tip: if you don’t want to wait for table service, order from the takeout section—the menu is almost exactly the same. Then find some outdoor seating and order a beer or some orange wine.
Also in BK, lies The Springs in Greenpoint. This adorable throwback takes you back to 1950s Palm Springs, Florida. The creative, potent and very Brooklynite cocktails—Aperol seltzer and tequila aloe vera slushies, for instance. Walk past the seafoam mod leather dining room and you'll find a spacious outdoor patio, including colorful chairs, lounges, a food truck-style kitchen pumping out delicious small bites and pretty much anything else that will make this a venue you'll want to visit time and time again.
Oxomoco is a Mexican restaurant, also in Greenpoint (yeah, we’re really feeling BK right now.) The building is placed far away from the busy street to make room for a great front patio, where you should drink margaritas and eat fancy tacos. And the interior is even better-looking, with high ceilings and plenty of hanging greenery. There’s a large menu of cocktails and food, ranging from soft shell crab tacos to asparagus tacos to a $99 dry-aged ribeye steak. But so far, we think the best thing on the menu is the wood-fired half chicken, which comes with pickled onions, crispy red rice and tortillas for you to make your own tacos.
In the Financial District, lies Le District or what we like to call the “French Eataly.” Nestled inside this cheese, bread and wine emporium is Beaubourg and it has one of the most charming patios in the city, a hideaway from everything else in and around Battery Park. Gorgeous views of the Hudson are paired with escargots, croque monsieurs and steak tartare.
Sushi by Bou has a couple different locations, and they operate them the same way: for $50, you get a 12-piece omakase, and you have 30 minutes to eat it. With limited seating, this gives more people the opportunity to enjoy the lightning-fast experience. The high quality of fish (and wagyu), makes this a pretty good deal, and now you can eat outdoors at the Sushi By Bou popup at the Jue Lan Club in the Flatiron District. It’s in a courtyard right off the street surrounded by an old brick building that used to be a church. Please note: You have to get a seat at the bar (not at one of the tables) in order to have the omakase.
Sunny weather and margaritas are a match made in heaven, and the grapefruit version at DUMBO Mexican spot, Gran Eléctrica is the perfect example. Celebrate using all your vacation days at their ivy-covered backyard with ceviche, spicy guacamole and black bean frijoles.
Celestine is a waterfront Eastern Mediterranean restaurant with panoramic views of the city and the Manhattan Bridge. But unlike most other DUMBO waterfront restaurants, this one feels like a neighborhood spot—a place where you can have a relaxed dinner while you gaze at the water. The food is pretty affordable for the area, with a great four-course family sharing option: two starters and two mains, a mezze platter, flatbread, side dishes and an assortment of desserts to complete the meal for $70/pp.
The Bonnie has the perfect recipe for a laid-back breezy outdoor bar where you wanna kick it all night—tiled floors, exposed brick walls, potted plants and a big backyard with picnic tables and umbrellas, yeah we’ll take it. It also has a big dinner menu with everything from pastrami Reuben sandwiches to tacos and buffalo brussels sprouts. And since this is consistently one of the busiest restaurants in Astoria, you're sure to find plenty of eye candy here too (bonus).
Threes Brewing is Gowanus is a 5,000-square-foot warehouse that’s been transformed into a multipurpose space including a monstrous bi-level bar, a brewery, an event space and a coffee shop? Yup. Though it’s unusual, it's all part of why this joint is so wildly popular. The space sprawls over concrete floors with all the whitewashed brick and reclaimed wood you’ll come to expect from a Brooklyn bar, along with draft beers and cocktails that are sure to impress.
Tacocina is a new taco spot from the people behind Shake Shack (already winning.) But it’s also located in Domino Park, a new outdoor space on the water in Williamsburg, the picnic tables are set to an epic backdrop of the river and Manhattan. Since its opening, it's been packed so don’t be surprised if you wait in line for over an hour just to order. The tacos are fine, but our suggestion is to grab snacks like the cheese chicharrones and chips and guacamole and drink margaritas on the water.