10 Downing Food & Wine
Embattled chef Jason Neroni triumphantly returns with this buzzy standout, crafting luxe renditions of rustic classics like cassoulet studded with duck meatballs and Provençal-style lamb chops. Sidewalk seating is a perk.
10 Downing St., at 6th Ave., 212-255-0300
One of the first big-name spots in NoMad (North of Madison Square Park), this rooftop bar—which also features a massive indoor space—might draw a stuffy crowd, but it can’t be beat as far as view and comfy deck chairs go. Worth the pricey cocktails for a sunset drink before moving on to more divey spots.
230 5th Ave., betw. W. 26th & W. 27th Sts., 212-725-4300
Caribbean- and Spanish-accented French fare stars at this Manhattan-hip Astoria bistro serving crisp tarte flambée (bacon and Swiss, please) alongside ceviche and peppery steak au poivre.
35-01 Ditmars Blvd., at 35th St., Queens, 718-204-5553
While officially only for guests of the Thompson LES hotel, if the doorman gives you the nod, you can ride up to the 7th floor to enjoy the views and drinks. The swimming pool—it’s got a Warhol piece tiled onto the bottom—opens June 1.
190 Allen St., betw. E. Houston & Stanton Sts., 212-460-5300
Ali Baba’s Terrace
Turkish kebabs reach new heights at this Midtown grilled-meat purveyor’s rooftop deck. From your bird’s-eye perch, get rocked on anise-scented raki while gnawing well-charred lamb skewers.
862 2nd Ave. at 46th St., 212-888-8622
Back’s casual backyard makes this seasonally influenced East Village diner a summery fave. Fried indulgences (pork-jowl nuggets, beer-battered onion rings) rub against roasted spring vegetables and grilled Catskills trout.
190 Ave. B, betw. E. 11th & E. 12th Sts., 212-388-1990
Most of the parties at Bar 13 involve slightly dated music and lots of enthusiastic dancing. There’s nothing wrong with the space, it’s just not the most exciting spot in town. That is until you hoof it up two flights of stairs to the roof deck to drink beer and make out with the NYU kid you met while the DJ was spinning Kylie.
35 E. 13th St., at University Pl., 212-979-6677
Normally we go to Black Rabbit because the bartenders play some of the best music ever and because the bar snacks are supremely tasty. Over the summer we head there to chill on the back patio and enjoy the all-night happy hour on Monday nights.
91 Greenpoint Ave., betw. Manhattan Ave. & Franklin St., Brooklyn, 718-349-1595
Bohemian Beer Garden
There’s no way to avoid it. At some point in your New York life a friend will celebrate his birthday at this massive outdoor sausage fest (really, they serve sausage!) and you will seem like a spoilsport for not wanting to go. It’s a long haul, but can be worth it if you get there early, make sure to eat something and remember how to get back to the subway.
2919 24th Ave., betw. 29th & 31st Sts., Queens, 718-274-4925
Come weekends, Crown Heights’ hungover homebodies head to this southern eatery to eradicate last night’s aches with crisp fried chicken and waffles, plate-size pancakes and bottomless cups of caffeination.
751 Franklin Ave., betw. Sterling Ave. & St. Johns Pl., Brooklyn, 646-393-9421
Braised-tongue tacos, skirt-steak cemitas sandwiches and red-chili short ribs give this lively downtown Mexican culinary cachet. After 10 p.m. a taco and a Tecate cost just $8, though the $12 spicy martini is splurge-worthy.
50 Carmine St. betw., Bedford & Bleecker Sts., 212-929-5050
Central Park Boathouse
In the eastern end of the Central Park Lake, visitors can enjoy the sunset over the water while drinking a glass of wine and eating seasonal dishes. There is also an outside
grill and bar, with a small menu of light bites
E. 72nd St. & Park Drive North,
If yards of watery daiquiris aren’t your style, Cha Cha’s is one of the only places to have a decent drink at Coney Island. The outdoor seating on the boardwalk provides unparalleled people watching and access to the hot dogs at Nathan’s. There’s also Beer Island, a sandy outpost of Cha Cha’s with a huge selection of suds, just across the way.
1229 Boardwalk, betw. Stillwell Ave. & W. 12th St., Brooklyn, 718-946-1305
Char No. 4
Brooklyn’s temple to dark spirits and swine (house-made sage sausages, luscious pork-belly BLT) elevates its dining game with backyard seating—an ideal perch to swig a chipotle-bourbon bloody Mary during brunch.
196 Smith St., betw. Warren & Baltic Sts., Brooklyn, 718-643-2106
This long-time East Village favorite, in addition to being home to dozens of beer-geek favorites and a serious selection of whiskey, has a charming back yard with way more space to enjoy your $10 shot of Redbreast Irish whiskey than the generally packed inside. The newly opened Brooklyn branch has yet to get slammed, but the yard, and booze, is still just as nice.
41 1st Ave., betw. E. 2nd & E. 3rd Sts., 212-475-5097 and 113 N. 7th St., betw. Wythe Ave. & Berry St., Brooklyn, 718-218-6006
Despite its perch overlooking the Williamsburg Bridge, the rooftop at the Delancey manages to provide an escape from the hot, loud summer bullshit going on down at street level. Lush greenery, water features and plenty of seating make this the closest you’ll get to a resort without going above Houston.
168 Delancey St., betw. Clinton & Attorney Sts., 212-254-9920
At design collective AvroKo’s British-colonial fantasy on the Bowery, Far East flavors (miso-glazed bone marrow, garam masala potatoes) inform food and drinks—the Ginger and Spike incorporates Thai chilies and lemongrass.
316 Bowery, at Bleecker St., 212-254-0350
A gorgeous 50-seat garden with a retractable roof defines this Nolita spot serving affordable, classed-up comfort food like Chimay-battered fish and chips and cocktails strong enough to weaken your knees.
265 Elizabeth St., betw. E. Houston & Prince Sts, 212-334-2426
The West Village welcome this bi-level newcomer that’s, by turns, a tavern, cocktail parlor, tasting room and outdoor garden (phew!), where diners can sip classic cocktails and snack on cured meats and cheeses.
765 Washington St., at W. 12th St.,
Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden
Southpaw owner Matt Roff’s Crown Heights drinking is housed in a spacious former garage and recently took over the hardware store next door to add on a yard. Beer-guzzling Brooklynites crowd the spot from afternoon to evening, when DJs, a reading series or live music takes over.
618 St. John’s Pl., betw. Franklin & Classon Aves., Brooklyn, 718-975-0196
We’re not boat people. We don’t even really cook that much. But for some reason the Frying Pan, a boat docked in Chelsea with a bar on it, appeals to us completely.
Pier 66, W. 26th St. at West Side Hwy,
Playgrounds aren’t the only outdoor spots where Park Slope moms can congregate. The Gate has more than 20 beers on draft—including a gluten-free one for the sensitive drinkers among us—and a gigantic patio to drink them on; you’re less like to get arrested for your drunken antics there than in J.J. Byrne Park across the street.
321 5th Ave., at 3rd St., Brooklyn, 718-768-4329
Gowanus Yacht Club
For all the talk about South Brooklyn residents being more calm and cultured than their Williamsburg brethren, things at this Smith Street stalwart get pretty sloppy. Not so much a yacht club as a packed patio known for cheap pitchers of beer and low-end summer snacks (hello, boiled hot dogs!), this is still one of the most fun places in the area—as long as you snag a table.
323 Smith St., at President St., Brooklyn,
Hudson River Café
You’d expect the noise of the elevated highway or the nearby trains to drown out any good times at this newish destination spot (next to the Uptown Fairway), but it’s actually the unending loudspeakers blaring jazz and other “lively” music. Sometimes, we’d rather be left in peace to have a conversation with our crew than to be relentlessly entertained. But that doesn’t mean you will regret the Café’s $35 buffet brunch deal, which includes unlimited belinis and mimosas. The Sunset Menu is also a sweet deal: $22 three-course menu, Sun.-Wed. with half-price drinks.
697 W. 133rd St., at Riverside Dr., 212-491-9111
Hundreds can pack into the two outdoor spaces at this West Side restaurant, which dishes up grilled corn, truffled edamame dip, lollipop chicken wings and sliders. If you’re looking for something boozier, drinks include sugary specialties like sangria and the passion fruit-flavored Bikini Martini.
621 W. 46th St., betw. 11th & 12th Aves., 212-315-9400
Looking for romance, Italian style? Forget Little Italy and hit this East Village eatery with a drawer-dropping back yard and a menu full of urban aphrodisiacs: brick-oven pizza, fig gelato and an out-of-this-world gnocchi with crab meat. Rarely crowded, this is the spot to bring your next great summer mistake.
432 E. 9th St., betw. Ave. A & 1st Ave., 212-254-2263
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
The sculpture terrace of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the best-kept secrets in the city: a small bar that sells margaritas, mojitos and mixed drinks. The second best part is the view of Central Park.
1000 5th Ave., at E. 82nd. St., 212-535-7710
Lushes cried when Astoria’s late-night wiener depot shuttered several years back. It’s finally returned, serving snappy dogs and fresh juices and offering a perk far finer than free onions: a sun-drenched backyard.
30-15 30th Ave., at 30th St., Queens, no phone yet
Texas meets the East Village at this scuffed-wall ode to Lone Star living. Instead of cowboys and country tunes, expect mini corn dogs, chicken-fried steaks and fancy-pants cocktails such as the grapefruit and chili-infused-tequila Marfarita.
101 E. 2nd St., betw. Aves. A & B,
While this primo pizza spot’s BYOB policy finally expired (a liquor license—the nerve!), we’ll pony up for booze if we can sit in the newly opened backyard and devour a Pugliese pie scattered with broccolini, sausage, chilies and garlic.
319 Graham Ave., at Devoe St., Brooklyn, 718-599-8899
The iconic Upper West Side bar has reopened its doors—as well as some outdoor space! Currently located on Columbus Avenue, six blocks from its original place on Amsterdam, the new P&G is three times as large as the old one. The new venue has a belowground terrace and will soon offer outdoor seating.
380 Columbus Ave., at W. 78th St.,
Greenpoint’s best Mexican restaurant possesses a courtyard packed with palm trees and picnic tables, a fair-weather roost to devour tender carne asada tacos (tempeh and seitan for veggies) and brain-size burritos.
999 Manhattan Ave., at Huron St., Brooklyn, 718-349-7292
Pier i Café
Although it’s on the doorsteps of the icky Trump Towers, Pier i Café, located at Riverside Park South, remains one of those places that you can enjoy a sunny afternoon with a beer and a burger—without being terrorized by children and the d-bags at the Boat Basin. Watch out for the cyclists; they can certainly get pushy as they commandeer tables. The Pat La Frieda burgers are the big, pleasing surprise here. It’ll cost ya more than $10, but the two-hander will more than fill you up: you have a choice of cheeses (the bleu, of course) and the herbed fries are great.
W. 70th St., at the Hudson River,
Park Slope’s eclectic sandwich shop was recently overhauled, with a renewed beer focus (the six taps include local offerings like Keegan’s and new outfit Landin Ales) and roomier confines.
195 5th Ave., betw. Berkeley Pl. & Union St., Brooklyn, 718-857-1950
Why waste your weekend waiting in line for Red Hook’s food vendors? Score equally estimable tacos overloaded with crunchy carnitas and piquant chorizo at this Sunset Park-er with prices even nicer than its sidewalk booths.
505 51st St., at 5th Ave., Brooklyn, 718-633-4816
While Woodside’s famed Thai restaurant gets due accolades for its complex, incendiary curries and fried-watercress salad, the destination’s leafy garden is another reason to take the quick 7-train trip.
64-13 39th Ave., at 64th St., Queens,
Studio B, which closed and reopened this year to the delight of dance-night freaks and the exhaustion of locals who have to give directions to every lost NYU kid wandering Greenpoint, boasts a lovely open-air roof deck and sweetens the pot with a barbecue every day Wednesday through Sunday.
259 Banker St., betw. Cayler & Meserole Sts., Brooklyn, 718-389-1880
With a temperature-controlled tap boasting 18 beers as well as house-made sangria and 30,000 square feet to enjoy it in, Long Island City’s Studio Square couldn’t be anything but a big hit this summer. Locally sourced bratwurst and Kielbasa will give you the energy to make it back from the clutches of the outer boroughs.
35-33 36th St., betw. 35th & 36th Aves., Queens, 718-383-1001
From the ashes of the East Village’s ill-fated E.U. comes this Neapolitan-style pizzeria serving individual-size pies (mmm… roasted egg–speck-asparagus) baked in a wood-burning oven. Weekends welcome a sidewalk brunch.
235 E. 4th St., at Ave. B, 212-254-2900
Tibet Meet Ditmas Park’s quirkiest—and only—BYOB Tibetan restaurant. Nab some Baltika brew at the adjoining bodega, then order steamed momo dumplings bursting with either veggies or chicken.
1510 Cortelyou Rd., at Marlborough Rd., Brooklyn, 718-282-3750
What the Cedar Tavern was to the Abstract Impressionists, Union Pool is to the Bohemian Impressionables. Boasting a taco truck in the humungous back yard, plenty of seating space, a fire pit for chilly nights and a space for live music, Union Pool is a smart stop to cram all of your Billyburg fun into one night.
484 Union Ave., betw. Meeker Ave. & Conselyea St., Brooklyn, 718-609-0484
Slurp oysters and vintage cocktails with equal vigor at this retro-styled Williamsburg gastropub serving a succulent French dip. Instead of the chic tiled dining room, hit the serene, spanking-new patio.
253 Grand St., betw. Roebling St. & Driggs Ave., Brooklyn, 718-387-8783
The Prospect Heights cocktail bar, one of the first fancy spots in the now-bustling neighborhood, has a small back patio opening this summer where sophisticated drinkers can enjoy an expertly mixed Manhattan alongside a plate of oysters (Thursday and Sunday) or, later in the summer a cold fried chicken sandwich, ceviche and Bayou-inspired bistro fare.
565 Vanderbilt Ave., betw. Dean & Bergen Sts., Brooklyn, no phone