The sun is out. You’re finally off work. (Or have managed to get out of bed on a Saturday.) You don’t have a plan but you know you want to be outside. And your group of 10 people can’t seem to come up with anything.
Look no further. Here are some of our favorite spots to eat or drink outside, with room for all your friends (and then some).
Check out the rest of our 2017 Summer Guide here.
Nowadays is a big outdoor space in Ridgewood opened by people who know how to do summer right: the founders of the Mister Sunday (a weekly party where people gather amongst friends and strangers to dance the day away). Most days of the week, Nowadays is an awesome place to just kick back over good food, good drinks, and good music - and on Sundays, the Mister Sunday is held here. So if your crew is looking to dance? On Sundays, Nowadays is your spot.
Fornino pretty much checks all the boxes when it comes to being a summer big group hang destination: there’s a lot of space, it’s located in a park, there are great views and sunset-watching opportunities, and they have good pizza plus wine, beer, and cocktails. It’s conveniently an order-at-the-bar situation for both pizza and drinks, which keeps things easy if your group is on the bigger side.
When it gets really hot, you have two options: get to a roof, or get to the water. Brooklyn Barge Bar is your best option in Brooklyn for the latter. As its name implies, it’s a bar on a barge, floating on the East River. The food isn’t much to speak of, but the skyline views more than make up for it. Bonus: it’s within steps of Paulie Gee’s.
Run by the people behind Cafe Habana in Nolita, Habana Outpost is a land of rainbow umbrellas, string lights, frozen drinks, and Cuban sandwiches in Fort Greene. Suggesting a group of friends meet here to eat grilled corn and frozen mojitos is always a good idea. They also screen classic movies every Sunday night at 8pm.
Blue Ribbon has operated a garden on a rooftop at the LES Thompson Hotel for several years, and they’ve rebranded with a Japanese theme. There’s a short food menu that includes sushi handrolls, plus frozen beers and boozy popsicles in flavors like bourbon-choco-banana and mint julep. If your group needs an activity, there are ping pong tables.
The secret to doing Roberta’s in the summer: don’t show up and wait for a table inside. You could, but you probably won’t eat until 10pm. Instead, go straight to the first-come-first-served tables outside, and have someone in your group head next door to put in a to-go order at the Roberta’s takeaway spot. You might have to wait a while for your pizzas to come out, but it’ll be a lot quicker than that two-hour wait you were quoted at the restaurant.
Union Pool484 Union Ave
Union Pool, don’t ever change. We count on you for afternoon outdoor drinking, nighttime outdoor drinking, and tacos all the time. And for that, we are grateful.
Royale is still home of the best burger and the best patio in the East Village. On any given summer day, this is the place we’re most likely to want to hang out, drink, and eat with a group. By this point, it kind of feels like our backyard, and if you spend enough time here it’ll feel like yours too.
Chilo’s is the kind of place that was made for The Infatuation Summer Guide. It’s a Mexican-themed dive bar, with a taco truck permanently parked on the back patio. That’d be cool, even if the tacos were somewhere above the quality your friend made at a dinner party last week. But the tacos are actually some of the best around. The patio’s pretty big, and if you can’t gather your crew with the promise of top-notch tacos, it may be time to find a different crew.
Despite its very exciting name, Our Wicked Lady is basically just a normal bar with a big rooftop space. If you need to get a group together in Bushwick for an evening hang, come here.
If you’ve been out and about in Williamsburg, there’s a good chance you’ve ended up at Night Of Joy, a cool bar with good cocktails and a grandma’s-house-in-a-good-way vibe. But did you know they have a big rooftop patio as well? Now you do. It’s big rooftop patio with frozen margaritas.
All winter, your friend has vaguely talked about inviting a bunch of you to his grandmother’s house in Cape Cod, but you have a feeling the weekend’s never really going to happen. Instead, bring the group to Cape House, an outdoor seafood shack in East Williamsburg/Bushwick. There are picnic tables, cocktails on tap, lots of wine and beer options, and of course, seafood. You’ll find everything from raw bar to clam strips to market vegetables, and the occasional random Korean or Thai ingredient mixed in.
d.b.a.41 1st Ave
From the street, dba looks like your average East Village bar. And once you walk into the main bar area, it still looks like your average East Village bar with an impressive beer selection. But head to the back garden, and you’re in an oasis. Well, as close as you can get to an oasis on 1st Avenue. There’s plenty of room, and it’s never that crowded.
Located basically under the Roosevelt Island Tram and featuring a “cocktail lab” run by someone called “The Bearded Alchemist,” The Jeffrey is not the topic of an SNL Stefon skit. Instead, it’s a relaxed bar with a backyard beer garden. This is a good one for people who get excited about beer, or for any time you need to drink with a crew in Midtown East.
Lavender Lake is one of those places you could roll into with 30 people, and it still wouldn’t feel crowded. The outdoor area is extremely pleasant, and there’s also a very large inside, should the weather turn. Get an order of brussels sprouts to go around.
Finding a spot for you and your closest 30 friends is no easy task, but Harlem Tavern is here to make things easy on you in northern Manhattan. More space than you’ll know what to do with, plus great beers and burgers.
Sweet & Vicious is a classic, and it’s one of those places you’ll always want to have on hand when 12 of your friends suddenly materialize and want to get drinks somewhere downtown. It’s a straightforward bar right off Bowery in Nolita, with plenty of space out back. Get a “jargarita.” It’s a frozen margarita in a giant mason jar.
When’s the last time you drank outside while looking out at the Statue of Liberty? Exactly. That’s what goes down at Pier A Harbor House, a cruise ship-sized building at the southern tip of Manhattan. The large outdoor area tends to turn into a bit of a rager on summer Saturdays.
We’re big fans of eating seafood in Extra Fancy all year, but this place is at its best in the summer, when the big back patio opens up. Most of the restaurants in this part of Williamsburg don’t have a ton of room for big groups to have sit and have food, but Extra Fancy does.
Want restaurant and bar intel like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here.