Save for slip-on shoes and sunglasses, an outdoor drinking and dining guide is the ultimate accessory for spring. And we’ve got 14 exemplary spots to add to Brooklyn’s ever-expanding al fresco list, from Bushwick’s Martha’s Vineyard-emulating Cape House, to Bed Stuy’s tiki-inspired Diamond Reef.
Cape House: Thanks to tall walls erected along Bushwick’s Knickerbocker Avenue flatiron— shielding the neighborhood’s unforgiving industrial sprawl from view—Cape House is a convincing stand-in for a New England clam shack (the bowls of oyster cracker-garnished chowder and paper boats of deep-fried, lemon-spritzed bellies certainly don’t hurt).
2 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick
Diamond Reef: The team behind the Lower East Side’s venerable, dimly-lit, half-hidden Attaboy took a total left turn with this new Brooklyn tiki bar; trading cultivated cocktails for Penicillin-stocked slushie machines, and an aloof, steampunk design aesthetic for a bountiful backyard, accented with shades of palm tree green and cerulean blue.
1057 Atlantic Ave., Bedford Stuyvesant
Aska: Sandwiched between Aska’s stark, dark tasting room and subterranean lounge is a surprisingly arcadian garden, with nubbly gravel floors, potted foliage, iron dinette sets and a comparatively casual a la carte menu of Swedish pancakes flecked with salted beef, and chamomile cocktails infused with aquavit.
47 S 5th St., Williamsburg
Sauvage: Though their outdoor seating amounts to a mere handful of streetside two tops, only a meandering line of cars separate Sauvage from McCarren Park — lending it the courtly appeal of a Provencal garden bistro (amplified by a menu of eggs piperade, steak au poivre, and brie and chicken rillettes).
905 Lorimer St., Greenpoint
Madre Mezcaleria: Devote the first part of your evening to tamales and mole at El Atoradero, then hop the fence into the shared backyard quarters of their newly debuted little sibling; for access to 75+ mezcals and an array of antojitos, featuring tortillas formed from house-nixtamilized blue corn.
706 Washington Ave., Crown Heights
Sally Roots: Jerk chicken wings and rum drinks beg to be enjoyed outside, and the cool, Caribbean Sally Roots (from the crew behind Featherweight and Sweet Science) doesn’t disappoint, with its capacious, plank-floored courtyard adorned with umbrellas and twinkly lights.
195 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
Mr. Dips/Westlight: Of Andrew Carmellini’s trio of William Vale hotel-located concepts, only Leuca is fully sheltered by a ceiling and four walls. The 22 story high cocktail lounge, Westlight, is encircled by an open-air balcony jutting out over the East River, while Mr. Dips is a smash burger and soft serve-dispensing airstream trailer, parked on the grass-lined mezzanine.
111 N 12th St., Williamsburg
LaRina Pastificio & Vino: As if a menu devoted to pasta and amaro wasn’t compelling enough, LaRina also boasts one of Brooklyn’s most captivating restaurant backyards, equipped with swinging loveseats, ivy-choked walls and tables crafted from stacked pallets.
387 Myrtle Ave., Fort Greene
Olmsted: Thanks to the combined efforts of chef Greg Baxtrom and horticulturist Ian Rothman, the backyard at Olmsted (perfumed by a lush riot of herbs and veggies, and soundtracked by the gibbering of penned quail) isn’t merely an alternative seating option, but a wholly different experience; offering an exclusively al fresco lineup of seasonal bites like gobi pakora cauliflower and spiked hot chocolate in winter, and fried fiddlehead ferns and goblets of rosè come spring.
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
Faun: Not to be outdone by in-demand neighbor Olmsted, Faun also cultivates edibles in their bewitching, Prospect Heights garden, informing an Italian-leaning menu of quadrucci pasta tossed with basil and tomatoes, and blue crab-stuffed fryer peppers set over cantaloupe, courtesy of Vinegar Hill House alum, Brian Leth.
606 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
Swell Dive: Bed Stuy’s Filipino taqueria is warm weather perfection, thanks to smoked pork sisig and chicken fried spam tacos, 15 shot-strong fishbowls encircled with straws and tinted with curacao, and a newly opened brick-walled patio bedecked with rainbow striped benches.
1013 Bedford Ave., Bed Stuy
Sunday in Brooklyn: The low-waste eatery’s standalone, three-story space includes upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, a marketplace and a rooftop garden, which helps grow crunchy subjects for their tasty house-brined pickles.
348 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
Gristmill: In addition to partnering with over 30 small-scale area farms (including the chef’s mom’s Hudson Valley plot), Gristmill looks to its own herb-furbished backyard to achieve its mission of using exclusively local ingredients.
289 5th Ave., Park Slope
1 Bedford: Since NYC has significantly more stringent open container laws than Milan, nabbing an outdoor table at the newly aperitif-focused 1 Bedford (formerly the Latin-styled Nights and Weekends) is as close as you’ll get to swigging aperol spritzes on the street.
1 Bedford Ave., Greenpoint
Photos by Jane Bruce, Chris Trigaux, Nicole Fara Silver, Maggie Shannon, and Kelsey Mitchell.