We Outchea: Your Go-To Patios For Nice Days guide image


We Outchea: Your Go-To Patios For Nice Days

From an Inman Park favorite with fresh oysters to a Summerhill spot with smoked turkey, here are the best places to eat outside right now.

From March to damn near December, temperatures in Atlanta can range from pleasantly cool to clay sweat lodge hot. But we do get those nice idyllic days when everything feels right in the world—greens at all the stop lights, perhaps a surprise trade that will set the Falcons or Hawks up for a championship this year, and maybe Andre 3000 finally drops a few new verses. So when those temps hit the perfect numbers, head on outside and find a good spot. Here are our favorite places.


Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and Bar  review image

Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar


822 Marietta St NW, Atlanta
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Day or night, the patio space at Virgil’s is always a scene. Small palm trees on the outdoor space, strong cocktails that remind you of being on vacation, and pulsating music transform this normally uneventful West Midtown strip into a summery hotspot. On those nice days, Virgil’s fourth wall/garage door is up, so you get the full open-air dining experience whether you’re seated on the actual patio or in the main dining room. There’s also an open-air rooftop space, which gives you views of the city skyline. But whether you come for mimosas and crab-topped shrimp and grits at their Soul Brunch or are just there to socialize over fried wings and their dangerously good Geecheeritas (their house margarita made with Henneseey and Grand Marnier), it’ll be a nice day well spent. 

Anis, located in a house on a Buckhead side street, is the best place to get a little wine-tipsy outdoors while eavesdropping on the senior social syndicate discussing the new hairdresser at the pet spa. The patio, with a charming but somewhat haphazard collection of potted plants and tools, is what we imagine our garden would look like if we decided to move to Provence and drink champagne outside all day. Get the mussels or the croque monsieur for lunch and add a bottle of wine before canceling the rest of your meetings for the afternoon.

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The Lee + White complex on the West End stretch of the BeltLine is kind of like an adult playground where you can wander with open containers from brewery to cidery to distillery, visiting tasting rooms and patios while maximizing your day drinking. Eventually, though, you’ll want to break up the booze crawl with some food and that’s when you head to the Boxcar patio for a lobster roll, some chicken liver pate, or yuzu fried chicken. When you’re ready to get back to drinking, Boxcar has almost 80 draft taps, 30 wine-by-the-glass options, and a cocktail menu mostly made up of spirits from the neighboring ASW Distillery. They also have a beer cave with 1,000 packaged beers and 800 bottles of wine, both excellent goals to aim for in your own basement.

Dead End Drinks, formerly known as Ration and Dram, is a great place to keep in your back pocket—it’s easy to walk-in for cocktails and snacks or for an all-day brunch. Right on the border of Edgewood and Kirkwood, this spot has two outdoor seating options—a patio with picnic tables and a second-story porch. If you’re here for brunch, get one of their dressed-up versions of fast food favorites, like the McDowell, which is basically an egg McMuffin. (We’ve always been Team McDowell, tbh.)

Located at Krog Street Market, Bar Mercado is a Spanish restaurant with a large, shaded patio that will become part of your warm weather rotation after your first visit. The tapas spot serves great brunch dishes like crispy artichokes, banana bread, and Huevos a la Flamenca, along with bottomless sangria and mimosas. The food here is also super photogenic, so feel no shame in wasting a few rows of your photo roll on your order. Or just have another mimosa and strategize with your friends about how you can make your apartment look more like this colorful patio.

Much like the Deadpool movies, or double prizes in a box of Cracker Jacks, the two patios at Beetlecat are better than one. This seafood restaurant from restaurateur/alchemist Ford Fry  is one of the most popular places to eat and drink outside in Inman Park. You can usually find a spot on one of the patios, where you’ll find other landlocked Atlantans channeling their best oceanside vacation memories with beachy rum drinks and a plate of oysters from the lengthy oyster menu.

This Day of the Dead-themed restaurant has one of the largest patios in West Midtown, and once there’s even a hint of warmth, it's packed. Besides the outdoor seating, Bone Garden Cantina serves some of the best Mexican food in the city, along with specialty margaritas and agave cocktails that help stave off the heat when it's so steamy that you debate going outside before the sun sets. There’s always a wait, but just use the extra time to look over the huge menu (make sure to try the braised goat tacos) and grab a drink.

We’ve definitely been on a few weekend group texts when someone chimes in with, “Let’s go to the BeltLine, and then let’s go to Ladybird!” Sitting on the BeltLine's Eastside Trail in Old Fourth Ward, this spot becomes one of the most popular patios in the city once the weather warms up. It’s dog friendly, has an outdoor bar inside a vintage camper for when it gets really crowded, and has a clever lodge theme that always makes us nostalgic for camp. Besides drinks, they serve snacks like pimento and crab dip and chili cheese dogs, and larger options like the backyard BBQ board for when everyone from your group text actually decides to join.

This French-inspired bistro in Inman Park is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee and croissant for brunch, or a cocktail on a warm afternoon. Either way, we recommend you do it from the street side patio that overlooks Elizabeth Street. The burger is what you should get here when you want more than just a snack—while not exactly French, quaint, or delicate like Bread and Butterfly’s name might suggest, it’s topped with gruyere, caramelized onions, and whole grain mustard, and will immediately replace whatever you were hungry for when you walked in.

KR Steakbar is an Italian steakhouse that you should go to on a date, with a friend, or just when you’re especially hungry, so you can avoid the conundrum of, “Do I order steak or pasta?” You’ll want both. Besides the food though, it’s KR Steakbar’s location and outdoor space that keeps bringing us back here. Located between a string of galleries and a park in Peachtree Hills, the entire area is largely shaded by trees, which makes the patio here one of our personal favorites. It’s quiet and you can eat spaghetti with clams and a ribeye outside while still staying cool. What’s not to like?

When you’re looking for a comfortable patio to drink a few margaritas, head to Bartaco on the Westside. It’s spacious, has a fireplace for when it’s a bit chilly, and you can order tiny tacos and rotisserie chicken as you debate the merits of frozen vs. non-frozen margaritas with your friends.When you can’t decide between the spicy pork belly tacos, the tempura battered fish tacos or the nine other taco offerings, be thankful for the nice day because you can spend more time on the patio, which means more time to make your way through the menu. But before you leave, try the crispy fried oyster taco and the corn on the cob; those two alone will forever hold space in your heart.

On top of Ponce City Market—next to the mini-golf course and carnival games of Skyline Park—you’ll find 9 Mile Station. This rooftop beer and wine garden has a great view of downtown and is a great spot for just about any occasion we can think of. They serve everything from cheese and charcuterie boards to Alaskan cod with salt and vinegar chips, so regardless of what you’re drinking, there’ll be something that you can claim pairs well with a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine.

More secluded than most patios in town, Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park is where you’d want to take a date or just come to drink some wine outside and finally start planning that trip to Spain you’ve been putting off. There’s an outdoor fireplace and lots of wine to choose from, along with tapas and paella, all of which should inspire you to finally book a flight, or just start coming here regularly.

Edgewood’s Georgia Beer Garden has more than 100 different local beers and ciders and their big back patio is the perfect place to spend the warmer months working your way through the list. They also serve things like sausages, sandwiches, and fries topped with chorizo and Kung Pao sauce, perfect for when you’re a few pints in. Between the backyard, drink selection, and food, this place might quickly become one of your go-to spots.

photo credit: Chil & Co

Wood’s Chapel BBQ review image

Wood’s Chapel BBQ

Eating BBQ in outdoor spaces just seems like some sort of Southern decree, no? Which means that on any nice day, you’ll see the Wood’s Chapel picnic tables filled with people hovering over metal trays of smoked wings, chopped brisket, and St. Louis-style ribs. And with a service window for patio diners, you can keep the boozy slushies, beers, and cocktails flowing without ever having to abandon your place in the sun. Since this BBQ joint shares patio space with other Summerhill restaurants like Junior’s Pizza and How Crispy Express, it’s your perfect opportunity to plan your own smorgasbord with both sticky BBQ from Wood’s and cheesy pizza or crispy chicken sandwiches from neighboring eateries.

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