Boston’s Best Outdoor Dining Options

Filed in Food & Dining by on April 28, 2009 9 Comments

As any of my friends will tell you, I’m a sucker for outdoor dining. There’s just something so enticing about the idea of sitting outside while dining al fresco and people-watching along Newbury Street or perhaps Harvard Square. Even if there are tables available inside, I will often insist that we wait for an outdoor table instead. Now that warm weather is returning to Boston, this is prime time for patio dining.

Here are some of my favorite Boston restaurants, coffee shops, and bars with outdoor seating:

  1. The Rattlesnake Bar & Grill – This is one of Boston’s few rooftop bars (the others being the Black Rhino, The Baseball Tavern, and Daedalus to name a couple), and I just can’t get over the novelty of being on a breezy patio high above Boylston Street (I told you I’m sucker for outdoor dining). A margarita and an order of chips and salsa make the perfect post-work snack.
  2. The Living Room – This friendly restaurant and bar overlooks Christopher Columbus Park in the North End. While Tia’s (just across the park) is always hopping during happy hour, The Living Room is less crowded and more laidback. Relax on the patio with a few martinis and appetizers, then head to one of the North End’s many Italian restaurants for dinner.
  3. Tremont 647 – Nothing says Boston in the summer like brunch in the South End. Tremont 647’s pajama brunch is legendary, as are the generous-sized pastries and the raspberry gimlets made from house infused raspberry vodka. Since dogs are practically de rigueur in this neighborhood, the restaurant also caters to dog-owners and their pups.
  4. Uptown Espresso Caffe – For a quick cup of joe and a slightly quieter atmosphere in the South End, head to Uptown Espresso Caffe. Free wifi and mini-cheesecakes (available in three flavors the last time I visited) make this small, artsy cafe one of my favorite places for relaxing with my laptop or a book. The patio in back is so secluded and quiet, I almost feel like I’m relaxing at home (that is, if my home had a nice large patio shaded by trees, which, alas, it does not).
  5. Crema Café – Ever since this cozy little coffee shop opened in Harvard Square last year, it has been my go-to spot in the Square for a quick, inexpensive Panini (try the sweet potato one –yum!) or pastry (macaroons – mmm…).  When the weather is nice, they open the front windows and let the warm breezes wash over the rows of students and intellectuals poring over their books and laptops. They also put out several tables and chairs outside, which gives patrons a front row seat for the street performers entertaining passerby with their music or juggling

This summer, I hope to try the outdoor patios at Church, Barlola, and Stephi’s on Tremont Street so I can (hopefully) add them to my list.

What about you? What’s your favorite place to eat al fresco in Boston? Any suggestions for other places I should check out?

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About the Author ()

A contributing writer/blogger for, Susan Johnston lives and writes near Fenway Park. She loves exploring the city and has also contributed to The Boston Globe,, and many other places.

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  1. Lisa says:

    I love al fresco dining, and the season is starting! Thanks for thesuggestions.

  2. Ha! I know you appreciate outdoor dining more when your season for it is so limited, she says smuggly from Arizona.


    Vera Marie Badertscher’s last blog post..Fighting Hunger with Travel and Books

  3. KrisB says:

    Mm. Makes me want to visit Boston. I love to eat outdoors.

    KrisB’s last blog post..Kona Village BOGO Deal

  4. Kerry Dexter says:

    a friend swears the lattes at cafe crema are the best he’s tasted. not being a coffe drinker, I’ve yet to visit, but you’ve given me reason, Susan.

    you might want to check out sabur near davis square for your al fresco explorations, too, and oleana while you are in cambridge.

    Kerry Dexter’s last blog post..Bodega: Under the Counter

  5. So many new restaurants since I’ve lived in Boston. I can’t wait to try these next time I’m there!

  6. …Blog Matsuri: June Edition
    Susan Johnston presents Boston’s Best Outdoor Dining Options posted at The Blog @ Directory of Boston…

  7. MichaellaS says:

    thanks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  8. hanna says:

    Great choices! Crema Cafe is situated in a picturesque neighborhood of Harvard Square on Brattle St. You can walk around the area and check out small neat shops before or after sitting at the cafe.

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