Philadelphia ain’t exactly Miami Beach, but when the sun comes out, we’ve got no shortage of places to eat (and drink) outdoors. As a matter of fact, with the city’s recent beer garden obsession (like a million of them have opened in the past couple years) and projects like Morgan’s Pier (which opens for the season this week), there are now places where the ability to have a snack and a cold beer outside are the primary reason for them existing.
So with so many options available to you, how can you possibly choose? Don’t worry. We’ve assembled a list of new places and old favorites which have never let us down once the sun starts shining.
A couple quick notes: We haven’t included beer gardens in this list because most of them are opening either this week or next. Or, like Parks On Tap (one of the things we’re most looking forward to this season), not until May. Once they all get up and running, we’ll probably do a separate list just for them.
Also not included here: One of our favorite places of last summer, Bok Bar. We’re not actually sure when Bok Bar is going to re-open for the season, but trust us, we’re keeping an eye on things and will let you know.
Finally, this isn’t a comprehensive list. That would be insane. This is just our list of places we’re looking forward to getting to now that spring is well and truly upon us. So if you’ve got other suggestions, by all means leave them in the comments.
Medusa Pizza, Fishtown
Medusa is a project from the Villico family (Joe’s Pizza, Ciao, Margherita), and it represents the first time the family has moved outside of Center City. But that’s not the big news here. What’s more important is the first come / first served rooftop deck where the BYO crowds can enjoy their pizzas in the sun.
Clarkville, Clark Park
Clarkville is the perfect restaurant for this space — an extremely family-friendly corner bar and restaurant with a small, well-put together menu and a location just outside Clark Park. Even better? Now that the weather is warming up, they’ll be opening their patio.
Boba & Co., South Philly
Okay, so this is just awesome. Boba & Co. is a Cambodian food truck that offers everything you need to make your summer happy: Boba tea, meat on sticks, shave ice, and a small space at 6th and Moyamensing roped off and set with potted plants where you can relax at a table in the sun and enjoy it all.
Tiki, Midtown Village
Sure, it’s fun to hang out downstairs at Tiki when the weather is cold and you feel like pretending you’re really in Hawaii. But you know what’s better? Heading upstairs to the rooftop tiki bar and… Well, you’re still pretending you’re in Hawaii, but it’s a lot nicer to do that kind of thing in the sun.
Martha already makes an appearance on every list of favorite bars that we do because of their excellent cocktails and commitment to local spirits. But the reason it makes this list? The patio seating with built-in bocce ball court.
Little Nonna’s, Midtown Village
Philly already has a million Italian restaurants to choose from. The reason why you should pay attention to Little Nonna’s when the weather warms up? The adorable outdoor seating area with its trellis ceiling, hanging plants and twinkle lights. Seriously, there is no way to eat here on a warm spring night and not feel like you’re secretly being filmed for a movie about la dolce vita.
Gennaro’s Tomato Pie, South Philly
Even though the place does a lot of take-out business, the tomato pies at Gennaro’s are made to be eaten as soon as they’re served. Which is why it’s nice that they have a backyard patio that’s kind of like a miniature Magic Gardens with its cut glass mosaic tilework and tables.
Le Virtu, East Passyunk
Ever since Joe Cicala announced that the lot next door would be turned into a kind of rolling Italian garden party, the whole restaurant seemed to take on a new life. And now, some of the best nights in South Philly are the ones when Cicala is out in the yard grilling and all the neighbors come over to hang out.
Graffiti Bar, Midtown Village
Sure, it’s been around for a while. Sure, it’s crowded, loud and a little rough around the edges. But those are all reasons why we like Sampan’s backyard patio bar. And we’re not alone in this. It got named one of the best outdoor bars in America by Travel + Leisure a few years back, but we’ve always loved it for the $4 dumplings, happy hour deals, cold beers and cool, hidden, graffiti-spattered vibe.
La Calaca Feliz, Fairmount
The nicest place to eat tacos in an alley anywhere in the city. Trust us. We’ve looked.