When the weather’s nice in Seattle, you could go anywhere to enjoy the sun—even your Juliet balcony. But Ballard’s one of the best neighborhoods to spend some time outside. Maybe that’s because of its proximity to Golden Gardens, but these great restaurants with outdoor dining situations might have a little something to do with it, too. So, if you’re looking for a bite to eat and/or to grab a drink north of Fremont, here are some great spots with patio seating.
Miri's Snack Shack
Miri’s is not the kind of beachside concession stand selling individual bags of Doritos with a “Best By” date of December 2017. This is a place that serves delicious marinated chicken kebab wraps with hummus and harissa on homemade flatbread, roasted fingerling potatoes with ranch aioli, nettle mint iced tea, and mini Dutch poffertjes. They have a few picnic tables just outside their takeout window, but you also have the entirety of Golden Gardens as your seating area— just pick a pile of sand to lay your towel on.
The Walrus And The Carpenter
Eating oysters outside is a Seattle activity up there with gasping anytime Mt. Rainier is out or contributing to a massive backup on a turning lane when you could have just zipper-merged instead. And at this seafood staple, you can do that. Order trays of bivalves on ice, sparkling wine, and repeat.
Baker’s is one of our favorite bars in town for outstanding cocktails and a little something to snack on. And it helps that their garden patio, full of green plants and a bright wall mural, is pretty dang adorable. With refreshing drinks, charcuterie plates, and a tasty burger, you’re set up for a great dinner under the sun.
We find ourselves on Ray's balcony deck every summer due to the abundant waterfront views, cool breezes, and stunning sunsets. It’s also because of the irrationally good (and free) bread basket. Ordering a bottle of ice-cold sauvignon blanc and suddenly having a table full of crab cakes and panko-crusted fish and chips is your right as a PNW resident.
Ballard is a great neighborhood to grab an outdoor drink, but most of the spots on the main drag have their patios crammed on the sidewalk. Not Bar Sabine’s. They have an entire alleyway complete with a bunch of tables, space heaters in case the temperature drops, and a floral wall mural. The cocktails are complicated and well-balanced, featuring fun ingredients like sandalwood, rhubarb Aperol, pistachio, strawberry red wine foam, and glitter. Sit out here with some tasty Mediterranean mezze, like smoked eggplant dip with homemade spiced potato chips, and appreciate your drink’s perfectly square ice cubes and rim of togarashi salt.
You’ll find some of Seattle’s greatest sandwiches at Mean, from thick corned beef with mint and maple syrup to a chicken cutlet with provolone and buffalo mayo. While their entire operation is a takeout counter, they have a backyard where you can sit with your paper bag full of good stuff between bread, fried baked potato hunks, and bread pudding.
This bar and sister spot to Mammoth has a few tables set up on the sidewalk that also spill onto the street a bit, too. There’s a lot of great BBQ happening here as well, from smoked jalapeño hushpuppies to big bowls of pulled-pork-topped mac and cheese. Not to mention a bunch of tasty, summery vodka cocktails.
Sawyer made the cut for our Best New Restaurants Of 2018 for the way they made us rethink comfort food, serving things like grilled artichokes dunked in hazelnut anchovy remoulade and rotisserie porchetta with homemade flatbread. You can reserve a table on their covered patio. No matter what, don’t leave without a s’mores choco taco or cookie dough semifreddo bar for dessert.
San Fermo is an excellent spot for fresh pasta and antipasti, and it happens to be located inside one of the oldest historic homes in Ballard. That also means this Italian restaurant has a fantastic porch, covered in leafy shade ideal for forking some rigatoni carbonara and slurping coupes of sparkling wine on a hot night.
Percy's & Co.
Percy’s is a cocktail spot that you need to keep on standby if you love herbs (literally every specialty cocktail involves thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, lemongrass, or basil). But it's also a cocktail spot that you need to keep on standby if you like drinking outside. You can enjoy these little libations out on their covered back patio, and snack on some fried chicken and cornbread or chili butter popcorn.
Urban Family Brewing Co.
Some of the best beer in town comes from Urban Family, a brewery that uses all kinds of fruits to make a bunch of different sours. Their new location in Ballard makes use of the large front area—there are some big tables set up where you can enjoy your tangy beer infused with blueberry and mango.
If you’re in the mood for a solid cheeseburger, hot wings, maybe some waffle fries, and alcoholic slushies, King’s Hardware is the place. Their dog-friendly patio is a nice size, and it's equal parts rowdy and fun.
Red Arrow has one of our favorite coffee shop patios. The whole operation is an open-air garden complete with a lifted garage door, so there are plenty of seating options depending on how chilly you feel and/or how much sunscreen you applied that day. It’s a great spot to get some work done while inhaling fresh air at the same time, and they also serve an excellent sour cream blueberry muffin.