Fair-Weather Friends

Best Bets for Boozing in the Breeze

The mix of booze and a blazing sun can indeed play tricks on one's mind. This time, seated just outside the gray stone walls of the medieval-looking, open-air patio at the Boat Basin Café, I fancy myself a yachtsman. A successful writer I am, as well—of Hemingway stock—and so I fish out my fifth beer from the bucket of ice before me (six beers, $24), snap off the cap, and down half of it in one, sloppy swig. My beautiful companion, Isobella, sips her Absolut Citron ($6.50) and hardly notices—she's used to it. Besides, she's too busy averting the gaze of every man that passes by, and has chosen to fix her own on the breathtaking waterfront view and modest (in comparison to ours) boats docked below. We could sail on to Rome or Venice at any moment, but why should we? This will do, for now. West 79th Street at the Hudson River, 496-5542. (Switzer)

Almost 100 years after Czech immigrants fled oppression from Austria-Hungary to two Astoria farm lots where they built the Bohemian Hall and Park (not named for hippie artists but for the medieval kingdom of Bohemia in the Holy Roman Empire), the Hall still stands as the only remaining beer garden in New York City. You're safe here, surrounded by the thick brick walls, the trees, the sky, and the wide array of cheap (!) Czech and German beers served in steins. While the occasional polka band plays, sit and relax at a picnic table among the locals and other outer-borough hipsters. 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 718-728-9776. (Kim)

When Bill Murray told the class of Rushmore to "take dead aim," his objects of disaffection might have been the preppy, oversexed patrons of Sutton Place Bar and Restaurant. Yup, Ronny and Donny are all grown up and they want to get in your pants after a night of carousing at the grand slate terrace's 46-foot, curving bar. That's when you tell them to fuck off, then return to your little umbrella table, cooling Tanq-and-tonic ($8) in hand. Best before five, when the sun sinks below the surrounding skyscrapers and the rich boys arrive in droves. 1015 Second Avenue, 207-3777. (Spartos)

Très sheik! Moroccan flair captivates as soon as you step inside the billowy open-air tent at Le Souk. Low wooden tables and colorful round leather seats invite harem girls—and boys—to commune by the hookah while sipping on delicious guavatinis (guava nectar, vodka, triple sec, sour mix, sloe gin, $7). Beware: You're bound to get all swooshy and start shimmying to the rhythm of Khaled or any of the other Middle Eastern idols crooning in the background. You may even want to come back for more—after all, there are still 101 warm nights left to the year. 47 Avenue B, 777-5454. (Bastidas)

The world will look wonderfully queer—at the Brooklyn PrideFest 2002 (June 6, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Prospect Park West between 9th and 15th streets), that is. Dart through the bustling street fair or sit on post-drought grass in the park to soak it all in, or better yet, head over to modest, dimly lit Ginger's, where boisterous lesbians and friends sit on black cushioned stools clinking bottles of Heineken ($3) and a variety of mixed drinks ($7). Culling every proud queer to its distant doors, the bar's minute backyard is far from snazzy. But as you sip on a draft of Bass ($4) and listen to the indoor jukebox faintly playing Lauryn Hill's "That Thing" while eyeing the multitude of young flirtatious drinkers, who cares about the dodgy furniture and dips in the dirt when there are so many eclectic revelers to behold. 363 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-788-0924. (Franklin)

What a coup when that cad, Señor Laroo, asked me to rendezvous at 1492. Dashing, droll Laroo—with his predilection for pinstripes and obedient manservant, Martis. For months, I'd wooed him from afar. And now, rapture at this Spanish bar, with its candlelit luminaries, minimalist mango walls, and soft-focus Plaza Mayor sultriness. Rrrrr . . . !! Señor Laroo, a wily chaser of skirt, led us to the sliver of a garden out back, toward a table for two tucked into a shadowy corner. "Camarero, dos mojitos por favor" and a garlicky breeze rustled from inside the kitchen. Then the cocktails ($7 per mojito) came: sugary potions tarted up with plenty of fresh mint and puddles of rum. We sipped them slowly, all the while pondering the location of our next thumb war. 60 Clinton Street, 646-654-1114. (Rao)

OK, so it doesn't exactly offer outdoor seating, but if you walk past the hot urban concrete and peer into Patio, it's like spotting an oasis. The decor is playful and fun, incorporating live palmy plants, scenic projections, hanging lanterns, and wooden picket fences (look for a backyard opening in July). That, along with the windowed sliding front doors that open fully to the street, makes for a cheeky, tropical suburbia. Spirited patrons slouch in metal garden furniture atop cement floor and sip refreshing

drinks. For a cheap summer glassful, try the fresh-squeezed citrus juices mixed with vodka (grapefruit, orange, lime, lemon, $6), or the blood orange margarita ($7). If you're in a virgin mood, order the pomegranate soda concoction and/or watermelon punch ($3, $7 with rum). So simple, so creative, so very summer. 31 Second Avenue, 460-9171. (Peretti)

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