Philly Restaurant Patios and Rooftops Where You Can Thaw Out After Winter

pod hotel opening el techo main seating area

Rooftop bar at El Techo / Photograph courtesy of El Techo

Outdoor dining season is upon us, and we simply could not be more excited. Wednesday afternoon happy hour when it’s 72 degrees? We’re there. Sunday lunch in the sunshine? We love it. Friday night dinner at golden hour? Count us in.

If you feel a little confused about the state of patio tables and covered pods in Philly, you’re not alone. At the end of 2022, the city updated their streetery permitting rules and many existing structures across the city were required to come down. Philly’s outdoor dining situation continues to be somewhat in-flux as chefs and owners work to get their set-ups approved by the city. For now, though, these are some of the nicest options for those days when being inside is simply not an option.

American Sardine Bar, Point Breeze
This Point Breeze stalwart turned the empty lot adjacent to the building into a dedicated outdoor space. In the summer, it’s where people recline in comfortable lawn chairs under string lights. It’s where they drink beer and eat fried sardines (yes), braised octopus, wedge salads, and salt-and-pepper fries. You want to be one of those people. The kitchen stays open until midnight every night. 1800 Federal Street.

Martha, East Kensington
The patio at Martha kind of feels like a secret, even though anyone who has been there will wax poetic to you about how nice it is. Maybe it feels like a secret because the experience of sitting out here is akin to being in a backyard of a close friend — only if that friend also had great taste in natural wine and amari, and made their own vegan hoagies and pickles. 2113 East York Street.

The Good King Tavern, Bella Vista
Plenty of covered sidewalk seating, excellent martinis (made with cornichon brine and genepy), and consistently good French bistro food. What more do you really need on a warm weeknight? Get the socca, a peppery, thin chickpea crepe that comes with piperade to dip into. 614 South 7th Street.

Little Nonna’s, Midtown Village
Little Nonna’s has a secret courtyard with partial coverage for when it’s raining, fans everywhere for when it gets too hot, and spaghetti and meatballs for when that specific craving hits. 1234 Locust Street.

Gojjo, University City
Yes Gojjo makes great Ethiopian food. But the Ethiopian cheesesteak (with steak or chicken) is truly a wonder. And getting to eat it outside on their busy patio? That’s even better. 4540 Baltimore Avenue.

Grace & Proper, Bella Vista
Grace & Proper’s sidewalk area almost certainly has more seating than the actual inside of their Euro-inspired bar. It’s a great place to bring a date or someone you’re catching up with on a random Thursday night. Stick to the straightforward drinks, like a refreshing porto tonico, or a glass of wine. 941 South 8th Street.

El Techo, Center City
Philadelphia is not exactly bursting at the seams with rooftop bars (thanks William Penn). But El Techo is one to visit with regularity. Upstairs from sister restaurant Condesa, the 11th-floor rooftop is designed to feel a little like Mexico City. Get a pitcher of their strong lime margaritas, a couple of tacos on housemade corn tortillas, and don’t skip a paleta for dessert. El Techo is a good option even when the weather is less than perfect, because the rooftop ceiling is glass and retractable. 1830 Ludlow Street.

Local 44, West Philly
With its location just a five-minute walk from Clark Park, there’s a clear park-to-patio pipeline happening at Local 44. On nice days, you’ll find the sidewalk packed with people sipping cloudy IPAs gewürztraminer by the glass, eating fish and chips, and veggie burgers, and generally luxuriating in the glory of a sunny neighborhood hang. 4333 Spruce Street.

Cantina La Martina, Kensington
With a spacious back patio full of colorful picnic tables and umbrellas, Cantina La Martina is a great place to bring a group for brunch or a fun dinner out. Order a trio of tamales, a platter of braised goat with avocado leaves and chile sauce, and some of their spring and summer seasonal cocktails. They have outdoor seating available all day, seven days a week.  2800 D Street.

Northern Liberties bar the Standard Tap, which has so far raised $5,000 by selling its Zelensky Mule, a Moscow mule without the Moscow

Photo courtesy of Standard Tap.

Standard Tap, Northern Liberties
The second-floor porch at Standard Tap is perfect if you’d like the emotional experience of being on a rooftop without actually having to deal with Philly’s rooftop-bar scene (what with their bachelorette parties, chaos, etc.) Come for weekday happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when draft beer is $4 and you can drink a Negroni or margarita and eat some delicious chicken wings for $6. 901 North 2nd Street.

Suraya, Fishtown
Suraya’s patio is one of the nicest places to sit outdoors in the city, because it might as well have its own zip code. Expect whitewashed walls and stucco fire pits, bright blue tiling, big trees and lots of candles. Plus all of Suraya’s excellent food: Lebanese dips, grilled chicken and lamb skewers and coal-kissed vegetables that take an already lovely space from good to great. Book ahead for birthday groups and other celebrations. Everyone will have plenty of room stretch out. 1528 Frankford Avenue., Rittenhouse
Sometimes what you need is to sit on a sidewalk and eat an oozing double cheeseburger slapped with Dijonnaise and briny diced cornichons. When that time comes, hoof it to 135 South 18th Street

Royal Boucherie, Old City
Royal Boucherie’s upstairs terrace is hidden away from the streets. It does not feel like it belongs in Philadelphia, and that’s part of the fun. Pretend you’re on vacation, when really you’re just playing hooky on a 70-degree Thursday over moules frites and glasses of rosé. 52 South 2nd Street.

outdoor dining philadelphia

Outdoor dining at the secret garden upstairs at Royal Boucherie in Old City, Philadelphia / Photograph by Stuart Goldenberg

Mercato, Midtown Village
A classic Italian BYO (meaning small, meaning simple), with rotating chalkboard specials, and lights overhead that always seem to be lit. It’s as if Mercato owns — and has always owned — its little part of the city. 1216 Spruce Street.

Wm. Mulherin’s GardenFishtown
During COVID, Mulherin’s took over a small lot next to the restaurant, turning it into a dreamy outdoor dining spot with plants, twinkle lights and comfortable picnic tables. The space is now a permanent addition to the restaurant, with their full menu of spritzes and wood-fired pizzas available. 1355 North Front Street.

Far East DescendantChinatown
If Philly was Miami, there would be rooftop bars like Far East Descendant opening all over town — places with TikTok hype and purple cocktails called “Mistress of the Sea.” But this isn’t Florida (thank God), so instead of fighting with a bachelorette party about who gets the seats with ocean views, you’ll hang on Chinatown’s only roof deck and drink inventive Cantonese-inspired drinks and snacks. Some of the cocktails play around with classic Chinese spirits like baijiu, and there are plenty of large-format snacking boards if you get hungry. Heads up: Weeknights stay relatively calm here, but weekends get rowdier thanks to all the Temple seniors who undoubtedly saw the place on social media.251 North Clarion Street.

Parc, Rittenhouse
You already know about Parc’s outdoor dining area lining Rittenhouse Square. But no outdoor guide would be complete without a mention. Order a seafood tower and a carafe of sauvignon blanc, and get your people-watching (and dog-watching) on. 227 South 18th Street.

Cantina Feliz, Fairmount
Fairmount may not be able to flaunt the range of Mexican food you’ll find in other parts of the city, but the neighborhood does have Cantina Feliz: a bright spot with a menu full of fish tacos, tortilla soup, an extensive tequila selection, and a patio waiting for you to hang out on it. 2321 Fairmount Avenue.

Bookers, West Philly
Booker’s runs on comfort, brunch, and happy hour — and you want to be a part of it, especially thanks to Southern favorites like creamy deviled eggs and chicken-and-waffles covered with strawberry butter. Their outdoor seating along Baltimore Avenue is always full of plants and seasonal decorations under the restaurant’s pergola. 5021 Baltimore Avenue.

Le Virtù, East Passyunk
Le Virtù’s outdoor space is one of those things that makes the restaurant stand out in a city crowded with charming little Italian spots. When the weather is nice, the patio is like one long, unending lawn party for its South Philly neighbors. Sometimes someone will be out there grilling, sometimes it’ll just be friends drinking on the patio, but it’s always a good time. 1927 East Passyunk Avenue.

The Wayward’s patio | Photo provided

The WaywardCenter City
Want to have a nice gin cocktail and a seafood tower on a breezy patio sort of hidden inside a Hilton just off 13th Street? Us too, which is why we go to the Wayward to consume oysters and happy hour drinks. 1170 Ludlow Street.

Irwin’s, East Passyunk
The outdoor patio at Irwin’s is situated on the eight floor of the Bok Building, several stories higher than any of the surrounding South Philly buildings. Book a reservation around the time the sun is setting and order the fritto misto, eggplant caponata, and plenty of Italian wine. 800 Mifflin Street.

Blue Corn, Italian Market
Blue Corn’s sidewalk area isn’t huge but it is a place where you can order coctel de camarones and chalupas outside in the sunshine. Take a cue from the name and prioritize masa in its near-infinite varieties (slider-sized sopecitos, for example, or thick huaraches smothered in refried beans and grilled cactus). 940 South 9th Street.

Harper’s Garden, Rittenhouse
With its open-air veranda and buzzy plaza, Harper’s Garden was our favorite place to dine outdoors before dining outdoors became the norm instead of the exception. (It won a Best of Philly award in 2019 for outdoor dining.) 31 South 18th Street.

Fiorella, Bella Vista
Vetri’s casual (read: hard to get into) pasta spot on Christian Street is outfitted with a sidewalk patio of partially covered tables. You can book one of them ahead of time for up to four people, or try your luck walking in around 4 p.m. when they open. 817 Christian Street.

LMNO is known for their clubby indoor experience, but they happen to have a big patio that’s perfect for drinking green-juice margaritas and eating aguachile. 1739-1749 North Front Street.

Bok Bar / Photograph by Justin Oppus

Bok Bar, East Passyunk
The South Philly rooftop bar is back with 29 weeks worth of chef partnerships and other events. In addition to the classic drinks, they’re hosting seven month-long “kitchen takeovers,” including Tabachoy in May, Fiore Fine Foods and Kalaya in June, and Puyero in July. 800 Mifflin Street.

Kensington Quarters, Fishtown
Sitting outside on KQ’s patio, drinking cold draft wine, spooning up scallop crudo, slurping cacio e pepe with trout roe, is a heaven only Fishtown knows. A heaven you’ll know, too, when you show up for your reservation. 1310 Frankford Avenue.

Trattoria Carina, Fitler Square
Walk or drive by Trattoria Carina any day they’re open (regardless of weather) and you’ll witness a sea of people sitting at the sidewalk tables, wearing their tiny little sunglasses, and sipping Lambrusco and eating giant plates of chicken parm. And if you’re not one of those people, you’ll be jealous of them. 2201 Spruce Street.

La ChinescaSpring Garden
The coolest thing about La Chinesca is that it used to be a gas station, which gives the whole patio area a retro feeling with a little Palm Springs magic thrown in with the light pink color scheme. Crab Rangoon fundido and spiked pomegranate lemonade should do the trick fueling your sunny weekend afternoon. 1036 Spring Garden Street.

The Landing Kitchen, Bala Cynwyd
Nick Elmi partnered with restaurateur Fia Berisha to open two restaurants inside, of all places, a Residence Inn in Bala Cynwyd. The first, an all-day cafe called the Schuylkill River. The patio has a lovely river view, rocking chairs and plenty of tables.  On the menu: avocado toast with yuzu kosho, a crunchy fried chicken sandwich, and a simple fontina/cheddar grilled cheese on brioche toast. 617 Righters Ferry Road.

PHS Pop-Up Gardens, South Street and Manayunk
The PHS Pop-Up Gardens in Manayunk and on South Street are back with lots of food, beer, cocktails, and activities like plant swaps and workshops throughout the spring and summer seasons. 1438 South Street, 106 Jamestown Avenue.