We love outdoor dining, but eating a delicious meal in the glow of a warm summer sunset is no longer a reality. That fact is, Boston weather doesn’t care that we’ve already had a rough year, so this is what we’re working with. Some of the city’s restaurants have adapted for days when it’s as gloomy as a Tim Burton set. so the next time it’s rainy and cold, here’s where to find bubble coverings, three-sided tents, and more.
Talulla in Cambridge has installed five insulated greenhouses for two right outside their restaurant. They will only accommodate one seating per night to allow for proper sanitizing in between parties, but we’re considering making a reservation as often as possible to save on our heating bills. Talulla is currently open from 5-9pm, Wed-Sun - when you’re making a reservation on Resy, make sure to pick the “Greenhouse” option to secure a spot.
The Playwright Bar
The Playwright Bar in Southie has decided to transform it’s outdoor space into what looks like the cozy home of Santa’s reindeer. They live in a barn that’s filled with heat lamps, right? The Playwright is open seven days a week - you can make a reservation here.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
About the only extravagant thing missing in Queen Latifah’s Last Holiday is a covered rooftop dome to sip cocktails in, which is why she should’ve vacationed at the Envoy instead of the Grandhotel Pupp. The well-known domes in Seaport are back for another year, and reservations are available Wed-Sun.
Six West is another rooftop spot that you can venture to this winter. Their row of greenhouses is a rather surreal sight, but given the year we’ve all had, we’re pretty used to surreal things by now. Six West is open for dinner during the week, and from 10am-9pm on the weekends. Book your spot here.
When it’s snowing outside and you’re craving a pop tart, head to Dillon’s in Back Bay. They’ve got a heated and covered back patio, and they’re currently open from 4-9:30pm during the week, with brunch on the weekends. By the way, that pop tart is filled with chicken parm - it’s about time to move on from blueberry anyway.
Here’s the reality: soggy fish and chips are no good, especially if they’re made soggy by an unexpected downpour. Maintain the crisp under The Druid’s covered tent on Cambridge Street - at least until you intentionally douse the plate with malt vinegar. The Druid is open every day from 12-9pm for outdoor dining.
It’s not often that we get to have oysters and lobster rolls in a ski chalet, but it seems that’s now possible at The Red House in Cambridge. They’ve built out their patio space to make it feel as if you’re dining on the slopes, and they’re even serving “ski shots.” The Red House is open from Wed-Sun for lunch and dinner - reservations can be made on their website.
Dining at dbar on their new patio filled with repurposed shipping containers feels strangely similar to dining on set of season two of The Wire. Only at dbar, there’s more popcorn chicken and fewer drunk ducks, which is probably for the best. dbar is open for dinner every day except Monday, and for brunch on Sunday. Reservations can be made online.
Rainy and 40 degrees is not a combo that’s particularly enjoyable - certainly not when compared to seared duck breast and pomegranate molasses or seared cod and sweet corn puree. Ashmont Grill is serving both of those, as well as a whole host of other things like blue crab bruschetta, under their large outdoor tent from 5-10pm, Thurs-Mon. Give them a call at (617) 825-4300 to make a reservation.
Petit Robert Bistro
Petit Robert has two covered domes and two greenhouses on their patio, available by reservation or for walk-in when it’s not too busy. We’re not sure why they didn’t just go with one style of covered structure, but that’ll be a secondary concern once there’s escargot and Côtes du Rhone on the table. Petit Robert is open every day from 11am onwards during the week, and 10am onwards on the weekend.
The Bowery Bar
The Bowery Bar already has one of our favorite outdoor patios, and now it’s filled with yurt-like structures. If there’s another unseasonably warm evening, you can also choose to sit on the non-covered heated patio. All reservations can be made on their website.
Loyal Nine, which already had a large driveway patio, has now built a barn-like structure for all those times when the weather’s not cooperating. Considering that Loyal Nine is open from 8am-9pm, Tues-Sun, that accounts for a lot of hours when you can stay dry while enjoying a lobster roll.
We’ve included Branch Line in our guides to Unique Fall Patios and Heated Patios, so we’re running out of superlatives for their truly fantastic outdoor space. Thesaurus.com suggests “preposterous” or “ludicrous,” but then we’d start sounding like Elon Musk. Branch Line is open for dinner Tues-Thurs, and for lunch and dinner Fri-Sun.
Woods Hill Pier 4 was one of the first spots to set up heated domes, which makes sense given that they have an expansive outdoor area along the harbor with a great view. Unlike some others, these domes are actually large enough to fit up to six people at a time. It’s important to know that there is a minimum food and beverage charge that changes depending on the day and the size of the party. You can read about all the specifics here.
75 On Liberty Wharf
This Seaport spot has now finished construction on its village of domes, complete with nutcracker men too. Strangers walking by and staring at the diners inside is the new holiday tradition - book your spot and stare back. 75 on Liberty Wharf is open everyday for lunch and dinner.