The second we’re officially absolved from winter, god help the bar or restaurant that doesn’t have a backyard, rooftop, or patio to call its own—or at the very least, a license to stick a handful of two-tops and a couple of chairs on the sidewalk. That’s why most media outlets keep a running, annual list of preferred places (many of them in Brooklyn) to eat and drink outside, places from Juliette, Berry Park and Alma, to Crown Victoria, Lock Yard and Extra Fancy. But instead of paying lip service to the usual suspects yet again, we’re kicking off the season by honoring the borough’s best new al fresco eateries, including Krupa Grocery in Windsor Terrace, and Cooklyn in Prospect Heights.
PAIR Wine and Cheese: Sliding glass doors open up onto a glorious, lower-level garden, the ultimate idyll for sipping on chilled Sauvignon Blanc, and grazing on floral discs of soft, bloomy goat cheese and pungent wedges of Roquefort Papillon.
140 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights
Bar Bolinas: Legitimately good food is almost besides the point when it comes to restaurants boasting any form of prime, outdoor real estate. But you don’t have to exchange one for the other at Nate Smith and Sophie Kamin’s feel good, Cali-inspired spot, serving beachy, chef-y fare that perfectly complements the glorious, flagstone-floored backyard.
455 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill
Umami Burger: As if Williamsburg’s new, 3,000-square foot Umami Burger outpost wasn’t spacious enough, sun-worshipers now have access to 60 additional seats on a plus-sized patio as well, for whenever a craving strikes for gochujang-glazed patties and maple-bacon fries.
158 N 4th Street, Williamsburg
Krupa Grocery: What a boon Krupa Grocery has been for restaurant-destitute Windsor Terrace, especially its ridiculously luscious breakfast gnocchi, interesting tap list (which includes, not just beer, but kombucha, wine, cider and Japanese iced coffee) and peaceful, 45-seat backyard.
231 Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace
Arrogant Swine: Considering Arrogant Swine’s courtyard shares space with its pork fat-perfumed smokers, why would you want to waste a precious moment squirreled away indoors?
173 Morgan Avenue, Bushwick
The Bahche: Located on the quiet, industrial streets of Gowanus, this Turkish café is hardly a grab-and-go pit-stop for fried phyllo rolls and coffee. You’ll want to loiter for hours in the seriously massive, flower-bedecked courtyard, tricked out with cushioned lounge chairs, pillow-strewn banquettes and a trickling fountain. Talk about an oasis!
191 7th Street, Gowanus
Chilo’s: The owners of Mayfield recently parked a taco truck in back of a mural-anointed dive bar in Bed-Stuy, serving made-to-order chorizo, shrimp, mole and carnitas-filled tortillas, to patrons gathered on picnic benches.
323 Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Cooklyn: The skinny space is like an arrow pointing directly to the cloistered back garden, which, when it opens this May, will boast 30 seats, a large communal table, an outdoor bar and a custom-built fire pit, which chef Tony Theocaropoulos will use for whole animal roasts.
659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
Bricolage: This perennially packed, Slanted Door-inspired eatery inherited Brooklyn Fish Camp’s modest but agreeably cozy backyard, which is just as conducive to enjoying summer rolls and spiked iced coffee, as it was steamers, fried oyster sandwiches, and beer.
162 5th Avenue, Park Slope
Forrest Point: We’ve already dubbed this one of the best backyards in Brooklyn—and that’s when we visited during already nippy fall. Now, you won’t need to bundle up in order to pass the evening on swing sets and tree stumps, sipping milk punch and nibbling on rock shrimp lettuce wraps and tuna tartare tacos.
970 Flushing Avenue, Bushwick