If you don’t already harbor a deep disdain for brunch, the task of finding a restaurant with an outdoor space that doesn’t require a reservation made three weeks in advance—or demand a two-hour wait—is enough to make you scoff at the weekly ritual. And even if you have the foresight to plan ahead of time, who knows what the finicky New York weather will bring? Or whether the previous night’s activities will leave you bedridden and relying on Seamless for sustenance? For those days when you want to take advantage of the glorious weather on a whim, you can rely on these six brunch spots to provide ample sunshine—without the fuss.
French Louis: At first glance, you wouldn’t expect this modern bistro on Atlantic Avenue to have a spacious outdoor area. But once you walk past the modest bar and through the narrow dining room, you’ll happen upon an intimate backyard garden. A string of lights is slung casually along a whitewashed fence, while planters give tables a little privacy from their neighbors. Equally as enticing is the menu—Ryan Angulo of Buttermilk Channel fame is both chef and co-owner, which means you can look forward to a particularly indulgent meal. Whether you opt for the towering crème brûlée French toast or the smoked trout and crème fraîche scramble, don’t miss the Everything Mary, which comes with everything bagel–infused vodka and a caraway salt rim.
320 Atlantic Avenue, Cobble Hill
J’eatjet?: Nestled between a bank and an equally tiny Italian restaurant, South Slope’s J’eatjet? offers two brunch essentials: a sunny patio and a cheap, all-you-can-drink mimosa deal. Tack on an additional $10 and you can lounge on old wooden picnic tables for two full hours, knocking back mimosas that have just a hint of orange juice (which is just the way we prefer them). Judging by the spot’s decor, you’d likely assume that the food fares on the simpler side—but Instagram-able dishes like the waffle burger arrive on sleek wooden boards, accompanied by perfectly square breakfast potatoes and housemade ketchup. The food—especially the French toast bites—is alluring in itself, but it’s the laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff that will have you returning all patio season long.
685 5th Avenue, South Slope
Krupa Grocery: Opened just over a year ago, Krupa Grocery has quickly become a neighborhood favorite, both for its outdoor seating and its extensive list of on-tap beers and wines. You’ll also find inspiring dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients that, served elsewhere, would likely arrive with a hint of pretension. Instead, you can look forward to a smiling server chatting with you as they ask whether you’d prefer mezcal or vodka in your Bloody Mary. (Note: Try the mezcal for a deliciously smoky taste.) Take your time lingering in the sun—the cheerful patio is decked out with picnic tables and flowers spilling out of their pots, a pleasant reminder of why you put up with borderline-arctic temperatures five months out of the year.
231 Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace
Piquant: Too often in New York you’ll find that flowing sangria and a sun-drenched patio comes with an obnoxious crowd—and a sound system that belongs in a club, not a restaurant. This isn’t the case at Piquant, however; a food- and cocktail-loving clientele is drawn to this Flatbush Avenue spot, not only for the endless Bloodys, mimosas and sangria, but the expansive, bi-level patio and a menu of American and Latin American dishes. After being led past the bar, down a flight of stairs and through the downstairs dining room, you’ll find yourself in a patio that manages to be intimate, despite its—by Brooklyn standards—gargantuan size. Take a seat underneath the sparse canopy of trees, fortify yourself with your beverage of choice and get ready to sop up the drinks with dishes like a black bean-, Chihuahua cheese- and poblano-filled pupusa topped with poached eggs and chimichurri.
259 Flatbush Avenue, Prospect Heights
Rabbithole: Located on Bedford, spitting distance from the Williamsburg Bridge, Rabbithole offers the converse of its name—an escape from the hustle and bustle of what is undeniably Brooklyn’s liveliest neighborhood. The cobblestone backyard garden is just as cozy as its interior, with mismatched tables, wrought iron chairs and low-hanging branches lending romantic touches. Pass on traditional brunch cocktails in favor of the bar’s signature cocktails, like the passion fruit–spiced whiskey or the Agave Spring (tequila, St. Germaine, lime, Angostura bitters and thyme)—then turn your attention to the brunch menu. The eggs benedict is a favorite here, and come with herbed biscuits and spiced bacon. If you’re particularly ravenous, order some house baked baguette with butter and jam to nibble on—just be sure to save room for the main event, and a second round of cocktails.
352 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
The Good Fork: The Good Fork is easy to miss—tucked between a vacant lot and a private residence, the narrow exterior may cause you to do a double take. But once inside, you’ll find a small dining room with a sculpted ceiling that leads to a sunroom and finally, a stunning garden. Guests almost feel like they’ve been welcomed into owner, chef and husband-and-wife team Ben Schneider’s and Sohui Kim’s own backyard dining under the clear, freestanding pitched roof. The menu heightens the intimate, homey feel: dishes like bibimbop with marinated skirt steak and fried egg manage to blend refined dining with comforting flavors. Order a round of homemade dumplings for the table, and if you aren’t partial toward any brunch cocktail, we suggest ordering two: the blood orange mimosa is the freshest you’ll ever taste, while the Clam Digger is the perfect balance between spicy and briny.
391 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook