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Before the turn of the millennium, there were very few Philly restaurants with outdoor seating. Pioneers like Bridget Foy’s, London Grill and Rouge had to work City Council to get special ordinances passed in order to make their streetside tables legal. These days, the permitting process is much easier, which means there’s great sidewalk dining all over the city. If you’re looking to freshen up your al fresco itinerary, take note of these 15 new places to eat outside this season.
The tables that have just appeared along East Passyunk should make it slightly easier to score a seat at this humming dumpling house from the Cheu Noodle guys. Tall windows that swing wide-open will bring let the energy from the dining room spill out on the street — you’ll get into the groove even easier with one of the bar’s great family-style cocktail pitchers.
This revamp of the former Dmitri’s by the team behind the popular Tria wine/beer/cheese cafes not only has a full kitchen, it also sports large, plate-glass windows that look out on the park across the street. Look to get even closer to Fitler Square when management adds the outdoor tables, promised within a few weeks of the spot’s April 2 launch. Photo by Danya Henninger.
Enjoy a totally unique set of scenery at Marc Vetri’s Italian rotisserie at The Navy Yard — the large stone patio is now set with plenty of wire mesh lawn furniture. Views of giant ships and green parkland will make your grilled wings, spit-roasted veggies or brisket cheeseburger taste even better. Bonus: it’s just a short hop away from the sports complex, making it a perfect pre- or post-Phillies stop.
A permanent carnival-style awning covers the sidewalk beside this elegant Italian on the southern tip of East Passyunk. Soon, you’ll be able to take shelter from either rain or sun beneath the wood-slat eves and enjoy tequila-blood orange Spaghetti Western cocktails with the most decadent potato skins in the city, or go all out with a bottle of Italian bubbly and a wood-grilled whole fish. Photo via Palladino’s on Facebook.
Even sitting inside this new Northern Liberties jazz bar and restaurant feels outdoorsy: the cedar-plank walls are covered with ferns and ivy that will soon creep into every corner, and a rollup garage door turns the front into a breezy lounge. The real deal is coming soon, too; a patio alongside the building will soon boast around 30 seats at garden tables. (No dining on the roof deck, unfortunately — it’s dedicated to growing herbs and veggies destined for the kitchen.)
After its launch during last year’s Fringe Festival, there wasn’t nearly enough time to enjoy the large beer garden outside this brasserie at the FringeArts building on Columbus Boulevard. This year, we’ll have a full season to sip and snack on French favorites while taking in the hefty beauty of the Ben Franklin Bridge arching across the river. Photo via the La Peg website.
There’s a beautiful stone-paved deck beckoning behind the floor-to-ceiling glass wall that backs the dining room at this new Fishtown restaurant/sustainable butcher shop from the Cafe Lift team. Keep an eye out for info on classes and collaboration dinners taking place on the patio, where tables will be surrounded by garden boxes and tantalizing scents from the smoker.
The second-floor deck is now open with seating for 28 at this Manayunk tavern from the Taqueria/Cantina/La Calaca Feliz crew. While the interior channels the bar’s name with taxidermy-based decor, the patio offers a much lighter vibe. Beneath umbrellas, whitewashed wood-plank tables beg to hold your beer — whether it’s a can of Milwaukee’s Best or a pull off the beer engine serving a special Forest & Main cask. Header and above photo via Beast & Ale on Facebook.
A 20-seat outdoor cafe will soon pop up next to this no-tip brasserie and coffee house on Girard Avenue in Fishtown, so you’ll be able to snack on avocado toast at wire mesh tables in the open air. For even more fun in the sun, bring along a bottle of booze and take advantage of fruit mixers like fresh-squeezed OJ elderflower and cranberry cordial before digging into brunch or dinner.
You also don’t need to leave a tip (won’t be allowed to, actually) at this revamp of the former Drinkers West into a rustic roadhouse with an artsy bent. Order food at the bar, pick up a $5 drink and swing through the vintage arcade to play skee ball and pinball, then take a seat at the soon-to-come sidewalk tables along both 39th and Chestnut Streets.
A redesign that softened the interior of this University City izakaya brought new charcoal drapes to the windows that surround the 30-seat balcony on the second floor, which will make it an even better sultry date spot during its sophomore season. Soon, red lanterns will illuminate the deck, beckoning pours carafes of sake and shochu cocktails to go with your skewers and sushi. Photo by Danya Henninger.
The patio beside this new, high-end cantina on Germantown Avenue is now up and running, providing a great spot for open air tacos and margaritas for anyone who ventures out to Chestnut Hill. Adventure tip: from Center City, bike your way up Kelly Drive and through Wissahickon Park to get there — that last leg up steep Valley Green Road will shred any guilt about having an extra drink or dessert.
A winter’s worth of renovation brought a brand new back patio to this 10-year anchor of South Street West — it’s not exactly al fresco dining, since the porch is entirely enclosed, but it’s close, with light streaming through multi-hued panels and landing on weathered wood furniture. Pick up one of the ridiculously good Australian chocolate bars to make your outback coffee and sandwich experience even better. Photo via Ants Pants on Twitter.
At the end of April, the outdoor party that meanders across the gravel-lined decks of this beer garden on Independence Mall returns for a second year with a brand new food and drink menu. A rotisserie was installed in the shipping container kitchen, so you’ll be able to snack on spit-roasted chicken while alternating between shuffleboard, cornhole and making fun of the tourists lined up to see the Liberty Bell.
It’s the fourth season for this festive bar out on the Delaware River, but each year brings a reinvention of the menu and a new chef at the helm. When it reopens on April 30, Top Chef New Orleans winner Nicholas Elmi will be in charge, offering togarashi shrimp, yuzu lobster rolls and gochujang pork belly tacos to go with your watermelon lime rickey and view of the Ben Franklin.