Maybe you love brunch. If so, we don’t need to convince you to use this guide to find some places where you can have it outside.
But let’s say you don’t. The crowds, the waiting, the usually-overpriced food you could (maybe) make at home. We get it, those are all completely acceptable excuses to avoid brunch. During the winter. But it’s not winter right now - it’s summer. And in summer, we eat brunch outside. It’s worth putting on pants (and putting up with all that other stuff) for, especially if you do it at these places.
Check out the rest of our 2017 Summer Guide, in partnership with Stella Cidre, right here.
All brunches exist somewhere on a very long spectrum. At one end, you have the places you go when you’re just trying not to vomit into your eggs. At the other, you have the places you go when the brunch itself is the start of the party. Llama Inn is an excellent choice for the latter - a slightly upscale, very fun Peruvian spot that would be perfect for a rooftop birthday party or impressing an out-of-towner.
Want to feel like you’re in an Italian beach town, without leaving downtown Manhattan? Sit outside at Santina. Afterwards, take a walk on the Highline. Perfect summer day, complete.
Marlow & Sons is cool. Almost too cool. It kind of feels like a neighborhood clubhouse, but if you’re not a member you can pay a visitor’s fee (the cost of your meal) to get in for the day. And you should. The food is great (there’s breakfast fried rice and gravlax and house-made pastries), there’s a small but nice little front area, and the crowd tends to be made up of people who care more about eating their food than taking photos of it.
Esme is the best under-the-radar outdoor brunch spot in Brooklyn. Their back patio has tables both big and small, plus plenty of shade, and they make simple, excellent brunch food. The pancakes are some of the best in NYC, the avocado toast will actually fill you up, and the cocktails are strong and not too expensive. This is the outdoor brunch for brunch haters.
Amanda’s quitting her job to be a yoga instructor in Costa Rica, Josh got invited to your college frenemy’s wedding in Italy, and your roommate has a Hamptons house (that she never invites you to). Meanwhile, you don’t have plans to go any farther than Rockaway this summer. But if you want to feel like you’re in Paris for a minute, have brunch at Sauvage. Sit in one of the wicker chairs overlooking McCarren park, drink too many cocktails, and have a mini-vacation without leaving Brooklyn.
Narcissa’s fresh, almost healthy food is best enjoyed in the restaurant’s big garden. This isn’t a rickety-chair-on-some-cracked-pavement situation: there are couches, hanging lights, and even some real trees.
This is a Williamsburg brunch rooftop that’s named accordingly. Sunday In Brooklyn knows what the people want: giant bowls of healthy things, giant fluffy pancakes, mezcal Bloody Marys, and matcha lattes. This place is a bit of a scene, but the good news is the food is actually good.
Meadowsweet is the restaurant that inspired our use of a term called The Feel Good Factor, and it’s just as present, if not moreso, at brunch. The food is upscale (stuff like truffle egg toast, giant cinnamon donut holes, and a chorizo hash), but the place never feels stuffy. Not only will you be able to eat outside - but you will also be able to make a reservation. There’s no losing here.
The West Village has it all - cobblestone streets, pretty people, a disproportionate collection of delicious restaurants. But it doesn’t have that many good restaurants with outdoor seating that’s more than three two-tops on the street. Enter Hudson Clearwater, a semi-hidden American restaurant with an extremely charming garden and great food.
The other West Village patio we can endorse for your brunch needs? The low-key neighborhood French spot AOC. While the food isn’t particularly mind-blowing, the garden is prime. It looks out onto the kind of beautiful West Village apartment buildings that either leave you feeling inspired (maybe one day you’ll live there) or depressed (you’re never going to live there).
Barbuto should be your go-to brunch move for entertaining aunts and moms and really anyone who would enjoy drinking rosé outside - but you also don’t need any of those visitors to justify a meal here. This is an excellent place to eat pasta, pizza, an extremely good kale salad, and an even better roast chicken outdoors. You’re probably going to want some rosé too.
Krupa Grocery is the kind of neighborhood restaurant that has you pulling out your phone to look at your StreetEasy app in the middle of brunch. Which is to say, if you don’t already live in South Park Slope/Windsor Terrace, Krupa Grocery is worth traveling for. The back patio is great, and they make the kind of food you could never make in your apartment even if you tried. Get at least one order of breakfast gnocchi for the table.
Lafayette not only serves delicious food all day, it also has one of the largest and most impressive sidewalk seating situations, complete with covered awnings for maximum comfort. Eating a croque madame outside is advisable all days of the week.
Large, partially covered, and covered with greenery: it’s about all you can ask for in an outdoor brunch spot. There are plenty of brunch classics on Aurora’s menu, but it’s also a great option if you’d rather eat a salad or even some pasta on a Saturday afternoon.
Anella’s outdoor situation feels like it could be your friend’s backyard (if your friends had backyards). The menu is of good choices whether you’re feeling a salad, sandwich, eggs, or something sweet. The patio even has ceiling fans to keep your brunch from being a sweaty one.
Your mom’s in town, or your college roommate’s in town, or your college roommate’s mom is in town, and you have run out of activities that don’t involve eating. Fail-proof summer idea: walk across the Brooklyn bridge. Then rewards yourself for your activity with brunch at Vinegar Hill House.
Walter Foods isn’t new or trendy, and that’s exactly why we appreciate it. Don’t come here looking for avocado toast or acai bowls - you won’t find them. What you will find are very solid versions of classic brunch comfort foods, and a low-key big back patio.
Find yourself wanting brunch outside at 4pm on a Thursday? We support you. And so does Rabbithole. This neighborhood Williamsburg spot serves brunch every day until 5pm, and you can enjoy it on their umbrella-covered back patio.
You might ignore us when we tell you to go to brunch at the very top of Greenpoint. But if you do, you’ll be missing out on one of the best back gardens in the entire city. And if that alone isn’t enough to convince you, the bottomless mimosa situation should do the trick.