With warmer weather (supposedly) approaching, allow me to go back to more enjoyable days with my picks for the best outdoor seating in NYC - beginning with my favorite “hidden” gardens and patios throughout the city. Close your eyes and imagine you’re not still wearing five layers of clothing at the end of March:
Good For: Spending a long, lazy day or night outside with several glasses of wine
Details: Once upon a time this spot was home to a quaint little French restaurant with a great wine list and mediocre food. Years ago, I considered that place’s back garden one of my best kept secrets in day drinking. Cut to present day and a much cooler kid has moved in but the outdoor dining area is still a magical spot to spend an afternoon basking in the sun.
2. De Santos
Good For: Group dinners and candlelit romantic dates
Details: Housed in the building that Janis Joplin once called home, De Santos’ vibe is expectantly eerie in an incredibly romantic way. Meals in the back garden feel like dining at the really nice West Village home of a super cool grown up friend. The outdoor space is gorgeously lit which makes it a great setting for romantic dates while the restaurant is in a cool enough area that starting a girls’ night out with an open air group dinner is also highly recommended.
Good For: Catching up with friends over after work drinks and, somehow, also late night debauchery
Details: Always just the right amount of fratty, Sweet & Vicious has a sizable garden for casual get togethers and a list of entirely too strong cocktails for those looking to make a drunk night even more intoxicating.
Good For: Nightcaps and dates with people you really want to wake up next to the next morning
Details: As if Mulberry Project weren’t cozy and charming enough, there also happens to be a garden in the back of the bar - which is pretty hidden itself. A romantic, artsy place with incredible custom cocktails means you really can’t go wrong with a summer night spent under the stars of (Little) Italy.
Good For: Uber-fratty beer and burger occasions
Details: Famous for their amazingly greasy (so I’ve heard) burger, Royale’s garden is jock heaven during football season. That doesn’t change much come summer so if you’re looking for a place where it is almost acceptable to don sweatpants in public, roll out of bed and drag yourself here for some hair of the dog drafts, this is it.
Good For: Great food and an extensive wine list on the back patio
Details: The quaint and romantic yet casual atmosphere of Bobo’s dining area is transferred to the outdoor patio where you can sip one of the deliciously refreshing glasses offered on the wine list.
Good For: A sexy night of lounging with cocktails while counting the celebrities you spot on both hands
Details: Though it can be tough to snag a seat if you’re not staying at the hotel, those lucky enough to enjoy a night in this garden behind the lobby of one of the coolest hotels in the city will be in for a memorable night.
Good For: A cozy brunch with one or two friends amongst those who somehow manage to look good while extremely hungover
Details: The tiny restaurant isn’t great for groups and same goes for the garden. However, if you’re looking for an adorably intimate place to have a mimosa or two with your eggs while surrounded by ivy-covered walls, you’ve found a home. Squeeze past the wood burning oven and out the rear doors in order to have a hard time remembering that you’re in the middle of New York City.