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El Big Bad's balcony
El Big Bad's balcony
Max Burkhalter

The Best Places to Eat & Drink Outside in Houston

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El Big Bad's balcony
| Max Burkhalter

For some, the idea of experiencing the great outdoors means a hike in the woods. For others, it means having a cold drink in hand and some delicious food on its way. This map is for the latter. Enjoy the 70-degree weather (that comes and goes too quickly) at one of these outdoor restaurant spaces. Because in no time at all we'll be suffering 100-degree temps and surviving with frozen margaritas instead of merely enjoying them. As always, let us know if we missed a spot.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cedar Creek Café, Bar & Grill

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1034 W 20th St
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 808-9623
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Almost any of the Creeks are solid patio destinations, but this one's got a large outdoor area and an atmosphere that feels like you're somewhere very far from town. An extensive selection of draft beer and solid comfort food classics--burgers, nachos and the like--are hearty beer-soaking options.

2. Bar Boheme

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307 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 529-1099
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With a patio that wraps around a small, eclectic space in Montrose, there are enough little corners to enjoy a romantic date, or open areas to enjoy with friends. The outdoor bar is convenient, and the new menu rolls out this month. (Lobster pizza, Vietnamese fries and frozen mojitos are some current highlights.)

3. Tiny Boxwood's Cafe

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3614 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 622-4224
The neatly manicured small grassy area that separates the dining patio from the nursery--a pretty backdrop which belongs to the restaurant's owners--hosts movie nights when the weather's nice. Apart from a great food menu and well-priced mimosa carafes, the coffee program is great, too. (Get the Undertow for a quick pick-me-up.)

4. El Pueblito

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1423 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX
(713) 520-6635
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This old-school Montrose patio has only gotten better with time. The colorful Mexican spot has cabanas that make diners feel like they're on vacation, and the live music and strong cocktails make it a fun place to unwind.

5. El Big Bad

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419 Travis St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 229-8181
The 2,000-square-foot wrap-around balcony here comes with infused tequila, award-winning margaritas and a great view of downtown. The mole-covered tamale, tacos and tortilla soup are must-try dishes. [Photo: Max Burkhalter]

6. Brooklyn Athletic Club

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601 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 527-8328
Between the manicured lawn, croquet and vintage photos of country club patrons, it might seem like khaki pants, polo shirts and loafers are the dress code, but the place is actually pretty laid-back. The backyard bocce court features another convenient bar, and there are fire pits for making S'Mores and heaters for chilly nights.

7. D&T Drive Inn

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1307 Enid St
Houston, TX 77009
(713) 868-6165
It might be a beer bar, but the fried chicken Sundays, frequent pop-up dinners, steak nights and ever-present and delicious po-boys make this a place to have dinner. And the patio feels like you're having a cookout at a friend's backyard.

8. Cottonwood

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3422 N Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 802-0410
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No patio list would be complete without this Garden Oaks bar and restaurant. The 4,000-square-foot gaming patio has bocce, bags, foosball and live music. On the other side is a 2,000-square-foot patio that's quieter and and more relaxed. The creative cocktail list, better-than-pub-food bites and large draft beer selection (complete with two cask engines) make the patios even more enjoyable.

9. Cafe Brasil

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2604 Dunlavy St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 528-1993
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Apart from the little outdoor eating area at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer, this Mnotrose staple also boasts a more private patio space on the south side of restaurant that seems a little hidden. It's quiet, shaded by trees and often hosts art events and movie nights.

10. Eatsie Boys Cafe

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4100 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-3737
Ivy-colored walls, a nearby giant chess board and bright umbrellas make this tiny Montrose eatery a destination on a nice day. The BYOB policy and good food don't hurt, either.

11. Rosemont Social Club

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910 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 530-4698
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The rooftop patio is outfitted with Moroccan cabanas, modern furniture and a nice view of the city. It's a good place to enjoy a classic cocktail and some andouille sausage mac and cheese. It can get a little "bro" if it's packed on a weekend, but it's more low-key for dinner during the week.

12. Batanga

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908 Congress @ Travis
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 224-9500
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Sitting right in the middle of downtown's super-block of buzzy new bars is this Latin American tapas eatery with a beautiful patio. Live music and great cocktails enhance the large people-watching patio.

13. Backstreet Cafe

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1103 S Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 521-2239
If you've never had brunch here, you're missing out on a Houston tradition. And the best way to brunch here--apart from flavorful mimosas and tasty frittatas--is to enjoy your meal al fresco on the beautiful patio.

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1. Cedar Creek Café, Bar & Grill

1034 W 20th St, Houston, TX 77008
Almost any of the Creeks are solid patio destinations, but this one's got a large outdoor area and an atmosphere that feels like you're somewhere very far from town. An extensive selection of draft beer and solid comfort food classics--burgers, nachos and the like--are hearty beer-soaking options.
1034 W 20th St
Houston, TX 77008

2. Bar Boheme

307 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77006
With a patio that wraps around a small, eclectic space in Montrose, there are enough little corners to enjoy a romantic date, or open areas to enjoy with friends. The outdoor bar is convenient, and the new menu rolls out this month. (Lobster pizza, Vietnamese fries and frozen mojitos are some current highlights.)
307 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77006

3. Tiny Boxwood's Cafe

3614 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77027
The neatly manicured small grassy area that separates the dining patio from the nursery--a pretty backdrop which belongs to the restaurant's owners--hosts movie nights when the weather's nice. Apart from a great food menu and well-priced mimosa carafes, the coffee program is great, too. (Get the Undertow for a quick pick-me-up.)
3614 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77027

4. El Pueblito

1423 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX
This old-school Montrose patio has only gotten better with time. The colorful Mexican spot has cabanas that make diners feel like they're on vacation, and the live music and strong cocktails make it a fun place to unwind.
1423 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX

5. El Big Bad

419 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002
The 2,000-square-foot wrap-around balcony here comes with infused tequila, award-winning margaritas and a great view of downtown. The mole-covered tamale, tacos and tortilla soup are must-try dishes. [Photo: Max Burkhalter]
419 Travis St.
Houston, TX 77002

6. Brooklyn Athletic Club

601 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006
Between the manicured lawn, croquet and vintage photos of country club patrons, it might seem like khaki pants, polo shirts and loafers are the dress code, but the place is actually pretty laid-back. The backyard bocce court features another convenient bar, and there are fire pits for making S'Mores and heaters for chilly nights.
601 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77006

7. D&T Drive Inn

1307 Enid St, Houston, TX 77009
It might be a beer bar, but the fried chicken Sundays, frequent pop-up dinners, steak nights and ever-present and delicious po-boys make this a place to have dinner. And the patio feels like you're having a cookout at a friend's backyard.
1307 Enid St
Houston, TX 77009

8. Cottonwood

3422 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77018
No patio list would be complete without this Garden Oaks bar and restaurant. The 4,000-square-foot gaming patio has bocce, bags, foosball and live music. On the other side is a 2,000-square-foot patio that's quieter and and more relaxed. The creative cocktail list, better-than-pub-food bites and large draft beer selection (complete with two cask engines) make the patios even more enjoyable.
3422 N Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77018

9. Cafe Brasil

2604 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006
Apart from the little outdoor eating area at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer, this Mnotrose staple also boasts a more private patio space on the south side of restaurant that seems a little hidden. It's quiet, shaded by trees and often hosts art events and movie nights.
2604 Dunlavy St
Houston, TX 77006

10. Eatsie Boys Cafe

4100 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006
Ivy-colored walls, a nearby giant chess board and bright umbrellas make this tiny Montrose eatery a destination on a nice day. The BYOB policy and good food don't hurt, either.
4100 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006

11. Rosemont Social Club

910 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006
The rooftop patio is outfitted with Moroccan cabanas, modern furniture and a nice view of the city. It's a good place to enjoy a classic cocktail and some andouille sausage mac and cheese. It can get a little "bro" if it's packed on a weekend, but it's more low-key for dinner during the week.
910 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

12. Batanga

908 Congress @ Travis, Houston, TX 77002
Sitting right in the middle of downtown's super-block of buzzy new bars is this Latin American tapas eatery with a beautiful patio. Live music and great cocktails enhance the large people-watching patio.
908 Congress @ Travis
Houston, TX 77002

13. Backstreet Cafe

1103 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77019
If you've never had brunch here, you're missing out on a Houston tradition. And the best way to brunch here--apart from flavorful mimosas and tasty frittatas--is to enjoy your meal al fresco on the beautiful patio.
1103 S Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77019

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