Guides

The Best Places to Eat and Drink Outdoors in Philly

The weather is beautiful. What are you doing inside?


Bok Bar | Facebook

It’s been a long time coming. There have already been a couple of false starts. But with it now actually being May and with at least a few days of warm weather in a row promised to us, we’re ready to call it. It’s patio season.

And while our dear city isn’t exactly known for its sweeping vistas, dependable sunshine or charming boulevardiers, we do pretty good with what we’ve got. And come the warmth of spring, joints all over Philly roll up the garage doors, put out the patio furniture and fire up the grills to make a party out of every sunny day.

So whether you’re looking for brunch in the sun, a place to day-drink, a candlelit dinner under the stars, a rooftop cocktail, tacos in an alley, a cold beer in a backyard, a game of corn hole or just some place to get a little vitamin D, we’ve got you covered with this list of our favorite places to eat and drink outside, organized by neighborhood.

But first, let’s start with a few of the big, obvious places.

The Places You Must Try First

Parc | Facebook

Parc, Rittenhouse Square
If there was a hot, dense center of Philly’s people-watching, power-brunching universe, it would be the patio at Parc on any day when the temperature is above 68 degrees. Mimosas, steak frites and a shrimp cocktail are the order of the day, but remember to stake out your territory early, because the tables under the big umbrellas are some of the most sought-after seats in town. 227 South 18th Street

American Sardine Bar, Point Breeze
The little slice of sunshine next to ASB, with its patio furniture and beer in cans, perfectly captures the backyard party feel that’s the holy grail of so many hip Philly restaurateurs. 1800 Federal Street

Bok Bar, South Philly
Depending on when you read this, Bok Bar — Philly’s most legendary and beautiful rooftop bar — is either about to open, open, or about to close. It’s a limited season, and the waits during summer weekend nights can be extreme. But it’s one of those places that you have to go to at least once, just to see for yourself what all the fuss is about. 800 Mifflin Street

Le Virtù, East Passyunk
Also called the Campo, this outdoor space is one of those things that makes Le Virtù stand out in a city crowded to the bulwarks with charming little Italian restaurants. When the weather is nice, the Campo is like one long, unending lawn party for the South Philly neighbors. Sometimes someone will be out there grilling. Sometimes it’ll just be friends drinking out in the grass. But it’s always a good time. 1927 East Passyunk Avenue

Continental Midtown, Center City
Say what you will about this place’s unapologetically retro leanings, its borderline fern bar vibe and South Beach diner affectations — I still love the Continental for more reasons than I can count on both hands. There’s the giant olive (which I mean to steal someday), the haystacks of shoestring fries with Chinese mustard, the undeniable frisson of drinking a proper martini at a bar that was made for drinking martinis and, of course, there’s the upstairs roof/deck/patio which is just perfect for relaxing in the sun when you really ought to be working. Also, as repeatedly mentioned here on Foobooz, the Continental Midtown remains one of the most zombie-proof restaurants in the city. So there’s that, too. 1801 Chestnut Street

Longwood Gardens, Kennet Square
Okay, yes. It’s a schlep. But seriously? Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful places in the world — a massive, painstakingly tended garden, sculpted for maximum beauty and peace. You can spend a whole day there just wandering around, pretending you’re the prodigal grandson of some forgotten du Pont. And when you get hungry or thirsty? Over the past couple years, Longwood has been pouring resources into both their central cafe (which has grown huge and lovely, with seating under trees and tents and live music some nights) and a whole bunch of satellite locations — like food-and-beer carts that serve a few snacks and a couple drinks and always seem to be right where you need them to be. If you haven’t been, go. Make a day of it. Thank me later.

Eat Outside in Midtown Village

Maison 208 | Photo by Will Figg

Tiki
The downstairs bar and dining room at Tiki is fun — loud, weird, surf-themed and full of beer, bar snacks and powerful cocktails, often served in the trashiest way possible. But you take all that same stuff and move it upstairs, to a roof deck with sun and palm fronds and giant platters of grilled shrimp, dumplings and satay, and it is just a thousand percent more fun. Of course, the Mai Tais and Hairy Buffalos help, the latter being a literal cooler full of liquor and fruit juice. 102 South 13th Street

Graffiti Bar
Graffiti Bar is the 30-seat, kinda-open-air, year-round patio that snakes around behind Sampan. Basically, it’s an alley, but one that’s been covered over with a clear ceiling (to keep the rain out), set with heat lamps (if you want to hang out when it’s cold), decorated with graffiti (hence the name), and serves the same Asian fusion cuisine and cocktails as Sampan. 124 South 13th Street

Little Nonna’s
Marcie Turney and Val Safran’s version of a neighborhood red gravy joint has a beautiful patio hung with greenery and twinkle lights which, on the best nights, feels more than a little bit magic. 1234 Locust Street

Maison 208
Let’s be honest. There are problems at Maison 208. It is strange, complicated, expensive, modernist to a fault. There are some amazing things here, and some perplexing things, too. But the one thing no one can argue with? That when the weather is nice and they open the convertible top on the second-floor lounge (yes, you read that right), it is one of the most stunning places in the entire city to eat and drink. 208 South 13th Street

Eat Outside in Northern Liberties

Standard Tap | Facebook

Silk City
This combination diner, bar and nightclub has a gorgeous walled garden of a patio in the back. The stucco walls and tile floors make you feel like you’ve stepped away from Philly for just a little while, and the big umbrellas over the tables offer a little shade from whatever sun you imagine you’re lounging beneath. 435 Spring Garden Street

Standard Tap
Imagine if you had a friend who had just the best rooftop deck in the entire city. And also a fridge full of great beer. And also was a very talented chef. Yeah, that’s what it’s like hanging out upstairs at Standard Tap. 901 North 2nd Street

Jerry’s Bar
Okay, so everyone already knows how good Jerry’s is, right? But I’m telling you, it’s even better when the sun is out and you can get a seat in the narrow little patio beside the place. Drinking gin and tonics under the umbrellas is a fine way to kill a Saturday afternoon. 129 West Laurel Street

Eat Outside in West Philly and University City

White Dog Cafe | Facebook

White Dog Cafe
Last year, the White Dog in UCity expanded into the brownstone next door. And with that expansion came a small, downstairs, patio-ish area called The Solarium, filled with plants and rattan patio furniture. It’s lovely (of course), oddly-shaped and a great place to hide out in the neighborhood. 3420 Sansom Street

Clarkville
The food is great, the vibe is chill, and the outdoor seating overlooks Clark Park and the neighborhood that rises above it. It’s the perfect addition to an already excellent neighborhood joint. 4301 Baltimore Avenue

City Tap House
So many of the other outdoor spaces in Philly are tiny, tucked away, half-hidden. But not here. City Tap House has a big outdoor space they use for seating on sunny days and warm nights, and to host events all throughout the summer. 3925 Walnut Street

Gojjo
I have two words to say to you: Ethiopian. Cheesesteak. Yeah, Gojjo does a lot of really authentic Ethiopian food (plus chicken wings and curly fries). But the Ethiopian cheesesteak (in steak or chicken) is truly a multi-cultural wonder. And getting to eat it outside? That’s even better. 4540 Baltimore Avenue

Eat Outside in Old City

Stratus Lounge | Facebook

Stratus Lounge
Pork belly toast, booze-spiked truffles, veal meatballs, Serrano ham. There’s no specific cuisine here, just a long list of quick bar snacks and a short list of cocktails — the oddest of which is a combination of Gray Goose vodka, La Colombe cold brew and blackberries called For The Suits. I don’t understand the name and don’t understand how this drink could possibly be good, but it is. 433 Chestnut Street

Revolution House
Revolution House is a multi-story Old City hangout which has, on the top floor, a kind of covered patio-deck that looks out over the intersection of 2nd and Market. There are potted trees and a good beer list, and the whole thing just feels cool in a way that’s surprising even though it looks like so many other recent rooftop openings. 200 Market Street

Royal Boucherie
Hey, did you know that Nick Elmi’s Royal Boucherie has a secret upstairs deck? Well, I guess it isn’t so secret anymore… 52 South 2nd Street

Eat Outside in Queen Village and Washington Square

Talula’s Garden | Facebook

M Restaurant
Not just a patio, but a formal garden, right in the middle of the city. This outdoor space is filled with seasonal flowers and can seat 120 people, and yet it remains one of Philly’s half-hidden secrets, tucked away behind the walls of the Morris House. 231 South 8th Street

Southwark
Since its remodel and change of ownership, Southwark’s outdoor seating area has become a kind of hidden garden in Queen Village. And if you can get a seat, hanging out there late to get a plate of marinated olives and some chicken liver mousse after midnight is one of the things that makes living in the neighborhood worthwhile. 701 South 4th Street

Talula’s Garden
Twinkle lights, climbing plants, raw wood — the garden patio at Talula’s Garden may be some of the most beautiful, photogenic square footage in the entire city. So isn’t it nice that the food coming from the kitchen is also some of the best? 210 West Washington Square

For Pete’s Sake Pub
There aren’t a lot of neighborhood bars around that serve breakfast foods. But Pete’s does, along with a fine selection of craft and imported beer. Take it all outside and make a summer night (or morning) of it. 900 South Front Street

Eat Outside in Kensington and Fishtown

Fette Sau | Facebook

Martha
Everyone already loves Martha for its hoagie-heavy menu, its locally-focused cocktails, sour beers, and cheese and charcuterie plates. Know what makes all that better? Eating and drinking outside in their fenced-in patio with built-in bocce court. 2113 East York Street

Kensington Quarters
If you’re rolling with a big crew in Kensington, KQ has a surprisingly large outdoor courtyard out back with long tables perfect for parties looking for excellent pastas, drinks and charcuterie. 1310 Frankford Avenue

Front Street Cafe
Eating brunch at Front Street? Nice if you can get a table. Know what’s even harder? Getting one in their garden patio out back now that the weather is nice. It’s a lovely, industrial space (complete with a fire escape rising in the background) gentled a bit with green and growing things. 1253 North Front Street

Medusa Pizzeria
Medusa was recently taken over by the team behind Green Eggs Cafe. And now that the weather has warmed up, they’ll be opening their outdoor deck for those looking to eat some pizza in the sun. 2327 Gaul Street

Fette Sau
Barbecue is made for eating outside. And do you know what Fette Sau cooks? Some pretty good barbecue (they pour a lot of bourbon whiskey, too). 1208 Frankford Avenue

Frankford Hall
I know, we’ve been avoiding beer gardens for most of this list. And I know, Frankford Hall is technically a beer garden. But really, I look at it more as an all-outdoor restaurant, full of beer and pretzels and sausages and burgers and ping pong tables where those of a particularly sunny disposition can sit, get drunk and play outside, all within the safe confines of a single address. It’s kind of like a playground for grownups, and being the childish S.O.B. that I am, I love the place for exactly those reasons. 1210 Frankford Avenue

Evil Genius Brewery
They call this the “Evil Genius Brew Garden” — which makes sense because it’s in a gravel-covered vacant lot next to the brewery on Front Street. That said, it’s also an excellent (and very Fishtown) place to grab a drink and some grub with a mob of friends when the sun is out. 1727 North Front Street

Kosta’s
An excellent backyard patio for this Fishtown dive bar: The drinks are cheap, there’s always a place to grab a smoke, and if you like Greek food served in a pool hall… Well, that’s weird. But Kosta’s is probably your dream bar. 15 West Girard Avenue

Eat Outside in Rittenhouse and Fitler Square

Rouge | Facebook

Rouge
Rouge has one of the best burgers in the city, and eating it outside on the patio offers some of the best people-watching to go with it. But the big rush for these outdoor seats comes at brunch, when people will wait half the morning for the chance to see and be seen outside at Rouge, eating egg white omelets and oysters with champagne mignonette. 205 South 18th Street

Trattoria Carina
Sitting inside Trattoria Carina (formerly Fitler Dining Room) is almost like sitting outside, what with all the bright light and big windows. But actually sitting outside on a warm evening is the perfect way to enjoy the simple, refined plates of pickled vegetables, spaghetti with meatballs or grilled branzino. 2201 Spruce Street

Pub & Kitchen
Granted, I’ve rarely gotten any further than the bar at P&K. There’s plenty of fun to be had right there, without having to walk a few extra steps. But for those of you who need some vitamin D, there’s a run of tables outside on the sidewalk, under the shade of the trees, that are nice for catching some rays and having an early dinner in the sun. 1946 Lombard Street

Tequila’s
All outdoor seats in Rittenhouse Square are made for people-watching. But the view from Tequila’s patio comes with vaquero steaks, mole, margaritas and bacon-wrapped, deep-fried shrimp. So that’s even better. 1602 Locust Street

Russet
Russet has been doing farm-to-table cuisine in Rittenhouse for years — Andrew and Kristin Wood have been serving hand-made ravioli, leg of lamb with local mushrooms, Cape May fluke over mustard greens, and beets in all kinds of ways. And for years, the small courtyard dining room has been one of the neighborhood’s best-kept secrets — a perfect place to BYO a good bottle and sit down for a meal from one of the best chefs in the city. 1521 Spruce Street

Eat Outside in Fairmount

La Calaca Feliz | Facebook

La Calaca Feliz
Tacos in the sun. What else do I need to say? Sure, you’re basically eating in an alley. But it’s a nice alley, okay? So I’ll say it again: Tacos in the sun. 2321 Fairmount Avenue

Fare
Hand-crafted New American cuisine is nothing new in Fairmount. But Fare walks this weird line between comfort food (cheeseburgers and chicken bordelaise) and Mediterranean modernism that’s unusual anywhere. Still, it’s a good menu, and the outdoor courtyard — complete with wall mural and gated fence — is a nice place to sit and relax with a plate of truffle fries and farmhouse flatbreads. 2028 Fairmount Avenue

Eat Outside in South Philly and East Passyunk

Barcelona | Facebook

Cantina Los Caballitos
Best happy hour patio on the Avenue, hands down. They’ve got umbrellas for when the sun is out, lights strung up for when it goes down, and flights of tequila and wet burritos to smooth the transition between the two. 1651 East Passyunk Avenue

Pistola’s Del Sur
It is a scientific fact that drinking tequila in the sun makes you a better, happier and more friendly person. And there’s no better place on the Avenue to knock back a couple shots of cactus juice (and chase them with some tacos) than Pistola’s. 1934 East Passyunk Avenue

Barcelona Wine Bar
Tapas taste better when they’re eaten outside. That’s just science. A cool breeze, a hot day, a glass of wine and a couple plates of albondigas and croquetas, I’m just not sure that things get any better than that. 1709 East Passyunk Avenue

Laurel
Did you know that Laurel has outdoor seating? It’s okay if you didn’t. It’s basically one table — a chef’s table, for four to eight people. It has to be reserved in advance. But if you can snag it, you get it for the whole night. It’s a cool way to experience one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia, so if you’ve got the crowd and the time, give Laurel a call and see what nights are available. 1617 East Passyunk Avenue

Philly’s Best Places to Eat and Drink Outdoors, Mapped


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