Discover the Eleven Best Patios in NYC, 2015


Rabbithole (352 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-782-0910) Set at the far end of Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, just down the block from the bridge, Rabbithole is like a little oasis amid the chaos that frequently overtakes the street. It does get packed, but you’ll find more locals here than you will around the north side. Tucked behind the vintage-like interior, the outdoor patio is even more serene. Umbrellas and potted plants sit between bistro sets, perfect for blocking brunch-goers from the intense summer sun. Wire and rustic wooden tables accommodate larger parties. At night, the whole yard is illuminated with whimsical string lights that set the scene for rustic yet sophisticated dishes like homemade gnocchi and mussels steamed in chorizo, tomato, and white wine. — Sara Ventiera

Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-335-0446) When the mercury starts to rise, it’s best to head somewhere where you feel miles away from the concrete jungle that is New York City. And even though it’s smack in the middle of Williamsburg, Maison Premiere has a back patio that feels like a needed escape. With its antique metal tables, high walls, and copious amounts of greenery, it feels more Paris side-street than Bedford Ave. Plus, Maison Premiere has what could be the best selection of oysters in the city. There are few things better on a hot day than bivalves and some chilled Muscadet or Champagne. Go for oyster happy hour, when a wide selection is available for just one dollar. — Kevin Kessler

The Rooftop at Porta (135 Newark Avenue, Jersey City; 201-544-5199) The three-story pizza bar on Jersey City’s Newark Avenue now physically towers over its competition too, with an all-day outdoor dining space that doubles the restaurant’s downstairs capacity and features a new, rooftop-only menu from chef Chris Calabrese. Duck under a sun umbrella to gorge on oak-grilled london broil, or a cold roast beef sandwich smeared with burrata, all spread with a choice of ladled antipasti including roasted long hots and spicy cauliflower, best cut with the same cider the cooks sip when no one’s looking. — Adam Robb

Casa Lever Gardens (390 Park Avenue, 212-888-2700) Plugged into the courtyard of midtown’s landmarked Lever House building, this breezy outdoor sibling to swanky Milanese restaurant Casa Lever is a corporate-casual oasis where the pleated come to be seated. Beverage director Rebecca Applebaum mixes ambitious drinks for the tony crowd, including fun seasonal riffs like the “Yes Peas,” made with yellow chartreuse and green-pea-infused Branca Menta amaro. Besides regional dishes like vitello tonnato, the kitchen offers bar bites for diners to scarf in their summer scarves, including those old Italian standbys, jalapeño wagyu short rib sliders. —Zachary Feldman

Spuyten Duyvil (359 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-963-4140) Even though it’s 2015, the chance to drink a rare and tasty beer in an unpretentious setting is still hard to come by. But Spuyten Duyvil, located in an unmarked building in Williamsburg, delivers on both ends; it has one of the largest and most comfortable patios around, with over a dozen tables spread throughout the quiet backyard. Every sip of that IPA or lambic seems to taste a little better within the tranquil setting. And if you get hungry, Spuyten puts together an excellent charcuterie plate to pair with your beverage of choice. Starting when they open, at noon on Sunday, it’s a great place to toast and drink away the end of your week. — Kessler

Birreria (200 Fifth Avenue, rooftop; 212-937-8910) When it comes to effusive praise, Eataly is in no short supply. A dozen floors above all its tongue-tickling tagliatelle and crave-inducing cured meats, however, is a rooftop beer bar that might actually be underappreciated. On a summer day in Manhattan there’s perhaps no better setting to enjoy suds than at Birreria. With sweeping views of the skyline in every direction, it’s impossible to dismiss the alluring subtleties of brewmaster Fred Avila’s Italian-inspired casked creations. Sipping your beer mere yards away from its fermenter of origin brings “local” to a whole ‘nother level. — Brad Japhe

Birds & Bubbles (100B Forsyth Street; 646-368-9240) Sarah Simmons’s Lower East Side Birds & Bubbles has a spacious patio with far more seating for larger parties than the narrow indoor space. Sip bubbles from beverage director Ariel Arce’s extensive menu by the glass or bottle, or pair your bird with a “Fizzy Lifting Drink” cocktail like the Steel Magnolia: a mix of gin, pear liqueur, rosemary, citrus, and pear cider. Graze from the dinner menu of classic buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp ‘n’ grits, or chicory-rubbed Berkshire pork under a romantically lit sky. Or get some sun during weekend brunch with cordials, bubbles, and hefty eats like a Christmas Casserole of buttermilk biscuits, breakfast sausage, egg, and gruyère custard. — Jacqueline Raposo

Mulberry Project (149 Mulberry Street; 646-448-4536) Each year Mulberry Project sets up its back patio to transport eaters to a place or time that feels oh-so-far away from NYC. After nailing Prohibition and Cuban themes in the past, this summer the recently reopened space takes us to Tulum, Mexico, with small plates and pitchers of cocktails at the ready, starting after 5 p.m. weekdays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays. — Raposo

LoLo’s Seafood Shack (303 West 116th Street; 646-649-3356) Chef Raymond Mohan’s newest restaurant, LoLo’s Seafood Shack, brings a traditionally Caribbean sort of seaside restaurant — or “lolo” — to Harlem on a strip recently dubbed “Harlem’s Restaurant Row” on account of all the local talent. Nosh on conch fritters, shark sandwiches, corn with cotija cheese, or a smelt fish ‘n’ chips basket, in an area where intimate outdoor eating is hard to come by. — Raposo

Royale (157 Avenue C; 212-254-6600) The warm weather of the summer months has always led to some difficult choices. The classic for sports fans is whether to find a cozy place to have a beer and a burger and watch the game, or to venture out for some air. Fortunately, the patio at Royale offers a mixture of bench seating and traditional tables in view of a 55-inch television. Dilemma over. — John Luong

Cannibal (113 East 29th Street; 212-686-5480) To properly enjoy their tandem arrangements of world-class beer and elegant charcuterie, Cannibal provides the perfect retreat in the form of an idyllic outdoor garden. Through an unmarked back door just beyond the bar, you’ll encounter an unassuming enclave with a neighborly vibe evoked by way of community-oriented wooden benches, cobblestone flooring, and string-of-pearl lighting strewn overhead. The frenetic din of midtown becomes a distant memory. The only sensory assault here is the clash of your beer’s banana-like Belgian yeast against the unctuous undertones of lamb liver pâté. Feel free to honk that horn all day long. — Japhe