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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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Cedar Creek Café, Bar & Grill

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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.

Bar Boheme

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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.)

Tiny Boxwood's Cafe

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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.)

El Pueblito

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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.

El Big Bad

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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]

Brooklyn Athletic Club

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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.

D&T Drive Inn

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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.

Cottonwood

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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.

Cafe Brasil

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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.

Eatsie Boys Cafe

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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.

Rosemont Social Club

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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.

Batanga

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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.

Backstreet Cafe

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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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Cedar Creek Café, Bar & Grill

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.

Bar Boheme

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.)

Tiny Boxwood's Cafe

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.)

El Pueblito

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.

El Big Bad

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]

Brooklyn Athletic Club

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.

D&T Drive Inn

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.

Cottonwood

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.

Cafe Brasil

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.

Eatsie Boys Cafe

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.

Rosemont Social Club

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.

Batanga

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.

Backstreet Cafe

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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