Finding a bar serving fabulous drinks is no problem. Finding a bar serving fabulous drinks in an awesome outdoor space with a summery, stay-for-hours vibe? Not as easy. But we've got you: Here, 15 of the coolest new and classic al fresco bars, patios and lounges you'll want to hit all summer and beyond.
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn
The tranquil, trellis-covered back patio at this Williamsburg spot focuses on oysters, absinthe and clever cocktails—and feels a million miles away from New York City. Maybe that's because the owners created the place (which won a James Beard Outstanding Bar Award in 2016) to reflect cocktail dens in cities like Paris and New Orleans. The bar doesn't just have a few absinthe offerings; it's actually got the largest selection in New York, and even uses a working replica of the absinthe fountain that was used in New Orleans's famous Olde Absinthe House.
The Bungalow, Santa Monica, California
This sprawling outdoor bar and lounge centered around a beachy Baja-style "bungalow" is on the grounds of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, a stone's throw from the ocean, and it's still a nightlife hotspot four years in. Any night of the week you might find a group of L.A. locals, hotel guests, or staffers from nearby Silicon Beach tech companies dropping by for afterwork cocktails. This summer, a second location opens in Orange County's Huntington Beach. Photo credit: Tiffany Rose.
Drai's Beachclub & Nightclub, Las Vegas
Vegas is full of over-the-top clubs, but Drai's, opened by nightlife guru Victor Drai at The Cromwell in 2014, is perhaps one of the most over-the-top. The combined night club/beach club totals 65,000 square feet and includes the only rooftop pool deck in town (11 stories above the strip), multiple pools, 35-foot palm trees, day beds, bungalows with TVs and private spas, and 150 VIP tables. Yes, that's a lot of VIPs, but this is Vegas after all.
Bayou Wine Garden, New Orleans
Sure, there are plenty of places to drink in a party city like New Orleans, but there's always room for more. The people behind the popular Bayou Beer Garden opened a wine and cocktail counterpart a few months ago, complete with a lovely little back patio furnished with a smattering of tables, umbrellas, an outdoor bar and a bubbling fountain in the middle of it all. More than 30 wines are avaiable on tap (split between the indoor and outdoor bars) along with a gargantuan by-the-bottle list with plenty of almighty rosé ready for summer sipping, and pairing with Bayou's killer charcuterie offerings.
Pinewood Social, Nashville
You can indeed be social here all day and into the balmy night, whether you hang out indoors or out. The outdoor area overlooking the Cumberland River features two dipping pools, a bocce court, and a 30-foot Airstream trailer serving cocktails and food. On bad-weather days you can head inside for even more food and drinks, plus a coffee shop, karaoke lounge, and six bowling lanes.
Handle Bar, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The only one on the list to have up-close mountain views, this outdoor bar on the third floor of the Four Seasons resort sits among the Grand Tetons. It's a popular après-ski spot in the winter, when patrons can ski in and then gather under outdoor heaters, but it's just as appealing on starry summer nights. The bar focuses on beers and craft cocktails and serves up a pub-style menu by renowned chef Michael Mina. And in summer, guests can have their dessert and drink it too with adult versions of ice cream shakes and floats, like the Passionfruit Spritzer created with locally made vanilla ice cream, crystallized mint and white rum. Photo credit: Don Riddle/Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.
Lava Lava Beach Club, Waikoloa, Hawaii
Seats smack in the middle of a sandy beach, tropical drinks with little umbrellas, banyan trees and tiki torches: It doesn't get much more paradise-like than this beach bar on the Big Island, set just a few feet from the ocean. You can find local musicians crooning away most nights along with hula dancers a few evenings a week. And if you simply can't tear yourself away from the dreamy scene, there are a few beachfront cottages available onsite for overnight stays.
Lompoc Brewing Hedge House, Portland, Oregon
If visitors feel like they're in someone's backyard at this brewing company's outpost, well, that's because they kind of are. This restaurant and brewpub affiliated with local brewery Lompoc is housed in a little craftsman bungalow, with an attached deck and a patio full of umbrella-covered picnic tables. The place doesn't skimp on specials, with twice-daily happy hours and Tightwad Tuesdays, when they serve up $2.50 pints. Hedge House is also dog-friendly, kid-friendly and bike-friendly, with designated parking for two-wheelers out front.
Fairweather, San Diego
If you're a baseball fan and you're not already at the nearby Petco Park on gameday, this hidden spot is where you want to be. After finding the staircase in the back of European deli Rare Form, guests make their way up to the 1,500-square-foot patio overlooking the baseball stadium for an excellent view and great cocktails. In fact the drinks here, many of which focus on Mezcal, tequila and rum, are worth a trip even when the Padres aren't playing. Photo credit: Zack Benson.
Upstairs at the Gwen, Chicago
After dealing with a Midwestern winter, who can blame Chicagoans for wanting to hit the outdoor bars asap. And as of this month they'll have one more option to add to their list. The swanky Gwen Hotel on Rush Street just opened Upstairs at the Gwen, anoutdoor terrace with a bar, lounge, fire features and cityscape views. In addition to a menu with creative spins on Prohibition-era cocktails like the Blackberry Basil Julep and the Sweet Bud Sazerac made with maple syrup, there's also a frozen Prosecco "poptail" finished with more Prosecco because, you know, Prosecco.
Morgan's Pier, Philadelphia
This is one outdoor bar that takes full advantage of the East Coast's fleeting warm weather, with a packed schedule of outdoor events like monthly mini beer fests, live music Thursdays, resident DJ nights, and weekly trivia contests. The riverfront spot also brings in a new chef-in-residence each year to take over the kitchen each year and, this season, will offer a "Chef's Table," a 20-person private prix fixe dinner on the upper deck.
As Pittsburgh gets hipper by the second, there's no shortage of cool bars popping up, including this rooftop spot nine stories above downtown. The place has an impressive offering of European beers along with a smaller selection of American craft brews. And as if being on a rooftop bar clutching ice-cold beers isn't fun enough, you can also pair your drink with games like Jenga, corn hole, and a giant version of Connect Four.
Blue Ribbon Beer Garden, New York City
This beer garden, run by the brothers behind popular NYC spots like Blue Ribbon Sushi and Brooklyn Bowl, is on the second floor of the LES Hotel on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Not exactly a spot for a quiet drink, this place is all about squeezing into festive communal tables and (for restless types) playing board games or ping pong under a "weather-enduring" tent that can handle three out of New York's four seasons.
Katy Trail Ice House, Dallas
Located along its namesake road, Dallas's 3.5-mile-long tree-lined Katy Trail, this giant beer garden and barbecue restaurant has an expansive dog-friendly patio jam-packed with communal picnic tables, wood-burning fire places, and big groups enjoying one (or more) of the 50 beers on tap. And in a sports-fan-heavy city like Dallas, the game (or multiple games) will nearly always be showing on the outdoor screens. Photo credit: David C. Harrison.
Schooner Wharf Bar, Key West, Florida
This open-air waterfront shanty bar bills itself as "a last little place of old Key West" and offers a lot more than an idyllic seaport backdrop. It also has a raw bar, two daily happy hours, vacation-worthy drinks like rum runners and mango daiquiris, live music most days, and even a house magician. But if you can't make it there in person, you can get a dose of waterfront bar envy via Schooner's live webcam.
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