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Houston's Best Patios

Houston's Best Patio Restaurants and Bars: 10 (plus) new outdoor dining spots that could be contenders

Houston's Best Patio Restaurants and Bars: 10 (plus) new outdoor spots

After a cold, dreary, rainy winter, spring has finally sprung in Houston. Last weekend's mild temperatures saw Houstonians flooding to outdoor activities like Sunday Streets, Kite Day at Hermann Park and the Bayou City Arts Festival.

They also flocked to bars and restaurants with expansive patios. A fly-by past perennial favorites like Brooklyn Athletic Club, Batanga and Boheme revealed large crowds of people sporting sunglasses and sipping frosty beverages. After all, Houstonians are the opposite of the denizens of Westeros.

Summer is coming, and, when it does, being outside will be kind of miserable. Best to soak up some rays while the getting is good.

CultureMap's Best Houston Patios update last fall featured intriguing options like Bistro Menil, Pax Americana and Bernie's Burger Bus. This new spring update features patios in suddenly booming Midtown, on the comeback trail along Washington Ave and even a spot in The Woodlands that's adjacent to water.

Maybe they'll replace an old favorite or validate the awesomeness of your favorite place — or maybe one of them will become the next patio institution.

Big Eyed Fish
Given that it's a converted house, no one should be surprised that Big Eyed Fish's patio is a porch. The menu of Southern favorites features winning dishes like crab beignets and turtle soup.

Linger over a craft beer or selection from the well-chosen wine list. 

Doc's Bar & Grill
Montrose residents have already embraced this Austin-import that opened in November. Its sprawling, 100-seat patio gets swarmed on sunny days by diners seeking cold beer and high-quality bar food.

Recently, Doc's introduced its Two-Wheel Tuesday and Wheelin' Wednesday promotions to draw in bicyclists and motorcycle riders, respectively. 

The El Cantina
Thanks to a takeover by the F.E.E.D TX restaurant group (Liberty Kitchen, BRC), this restaurant in the Heights has become a destination for Tex-Mex with a twist and solid barbecue. The expansive patio provides a view onto the bustling corner of Studewood and White Oak, while the top-notch frozen margaritas help the time pass by. 

Local Pour - The Woodlands
The Woodlands version of the River Oaks bar takes a more grown-up tack thanks to a menu designed by consulting chef of the moment Randy Evans that's served for both lunch and dinner. What better place to enjoy a burger made with 44 Farms beef or a salad made with Atkinson Farm strawberries than a patio that looks out over Lake Woodlands?

 As the Hughes Landing restaurant row picks up steam, expect Local Pour's patio to be one of its most coveted tables.  

As the Hughes Landing restaurant row picks up steam, expect Local Pour's patio to be one of its most coveted tables. 

North Italia
The new Italian spot from Fox Restaurants Concepts offers a shaded patio set far enough back from the Post Oak traffic to feel like it's located in a more sedate part of the city. Take advantage of the happy hour which offers a pizza of the day and bottle of wine for only $20 Mondays through Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Oporto Fooding & Wine
The bigger, better version of the Greenway Plaza tapas bar features a patio that, like the restaurant's interior, offers a serene alternative to the typical Midtown party scene. With the addition of lunch and brunch, Oporto has an all-day utility that makes it a pleasant place to spend an afternoon blowing off work.

Happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. doesn't hurt either.

The Republic Smokehouse & Saloon
Midtown's newest arrival may not be a traditional barbecue joint, but it does indulge the neighborhood's love for outdoor drinking. The Republic's patio is covered, features its own dedicated bar and offers four TVs to keep track of the games.

 Midtown's newest arrival may not be a traditional barbecue joint, but it does indulge the neighborhood's love for outdoor drinking. 

If the Houston Astros really make good on their stated goal of playing .500 ball this year, it will be a fun place to eat some ribs and watch the local nine win.

Table 57 Dining & Drinks
Located inside the massive new H-E-B on San Felipe, this restaurant's shaded, 80-seat patio features a small children's play area and live music on the weekends. With a food menu created by chef Randy Evans and a solid craft beer and wine selection, the restaurant serves neighborhood shoppers and diners well.

A strict no-tipping policy only adds to the value.  

Urban Eats
The combined restaurant and market features a second story patio with a nice view of the downtown skyline. It's the perfect place to park a cocktail with one of the restaurant's creative sliders. 

Weights + Measures
Admittedly, the 14-seat postage stamp-sized space that is the W+M patio is more smoker's refuge than serene, outdoor respite, but it is both shaded from above and the afternoon heat. When the weather is nice, the patio becomes a pleasant place to linger over brunch with a cocktail or two at the white-hot bar, bakery and restaurant in Midtown.

Tell the smokers to beat it to the sidewalk on Caroline.

Honorable Mention: Peska Seafood Culture
Eventually, Peska will secure the necessary permits to complete construction on its San Felipe-facing patio with a louvered roof that will open and close throughout the day in a way that shields diners from the worst of the sun's heat. Hopefully, it's completed soon after the restaurant's scheduled opening on April 6, because, when it is, people will flock to it for cocktails, wine and light bites from chef Omar Pereney's menu. 

Honorable Mention: Wooster's Garden
This list primarily focuses on restaurants, but, the patio at Wooster's Garden merits attention even though it's a bar. In addition to outdoor seating, a floor-to-almost-ceiling sliding glass door merges indoors and outdoors on particularly pleasant days.

Go there for a craft beer or craft cocktail and light bite from the tidy menu. 

2 Wooster's Garden in Midtown December 2014 patio
The sliding glass doors at Wooster's Garden merge the outside and inside. Photo by Eric Sandler
Beer taps at the H-E-B San Felipe and Table 57 Social February 2015
Take a craft beer onto the patio at Table 57. Photo by © Kim Coffman
Oporto Midtown patio
Oporto Fooding & Wine's spacious patio is a tranquil respite in Midtown. Courtesy photo
North Italia patio
North Italia's patio is set away from the Galleria traffic.  Courtesy photo
Doc's Bar and Grill patio
Montrose residents flock to the patio at Doc's on nice days. Photo by Kelli Elizabeth
2 Wooster's Garden in Midtown December 2014 patio
Beer taps at the H-E-B San Felipe and Table 57 Social February 2015
Oporto Midtown patio
North Italia patio
Doc's Bar and Grill patio