Spring is prime time for alfresco dining in Houston. No matter your zip code, a cool patio awaits. Here are 10 new patios we'll be frequenting as long as the weather remains this delightful.
Toulouse Cafe & Bar
Freshly opened Toulouse Cafe & Bar at River Oaks District features local chef Philippe Schmit, formerly of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge, at the kitchen helm. Dining al fresco is extra fun at the Dallas import thanks to its climate-controlled, 50-seat patio that features a retractable awning. The menu offers classic French fare (think: fresh mussels, bouillabaisse and New York strip with pomme frites and béarnaise). In May, sister restaurant Taverna will present Italian eats, from homemade pasta to wood-fired pizza, and a patio with room for 40 when it opens in an adjacent space in May.
Axelrad Beer Garden
An eclectic mix of art, lush landscaping, live music and a garden patio with room for 200 set the background at this sprawling brew spot with a curated selection of 31 craft beers on tap, plus additional beers in cans and bottles. Those seeking to lounge in one of the space's signature hammocks should get there early. They fill up fast!
Celebrities ranging from Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus to hip hop superstar Bun B know to hit up Ronnie Killen’s Pearland-area restaurant for killer chops, plus tasty brisket nachos and lobster quesadillas. The upscale eatery features a 10,000 square-foot patio, perfect for enjoying cooler temps. P.S. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Killen's Burgers, slotted to open May 28.
The Burger Joint
Power forward Donatas Motiejunas of the Houston Rockets knows there's no better place to nosh outdoors than at this new Montrose neighborhood gem. A spacious 2,500-square-foot dog-friendly deck seats 142. Don’t skip the Mexi burger topped with grilled ham, avocado, queso fresco, jalapenos and chipotle mayonnaise. Pair it with any of the 24 beers on tap.
Eight Row Flint
Housed in a former gas station, this Heights-area modern icehouse doesn’t hold back when it comes to its patio (it seats 200) or its tasty sips. Choose from the large whiskey selection, 10 beers on tap, 30 beers by the bottle, frozen cocktails, and carbonated drinks, among them the unmissable Ranchwater made with sotol, clarified lime juice, lime oleo saccharum and salt. A selection of tacos are made with the same high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients that have earned sister concept Coltivare such acclaim.
There’s not a bad seat in the glass-enclosed house at The Dunlavy. If you can see past the eye-catching, chandelier-clad interior, the private-event-space-and-cafe is also decked out with outdoor seating for 40, complete with picturesque views of Buffalo Bayou Park. The list of standout fare includes avocado toast and Chinese chicken salad. Grab a bite and then go on an kayak adventure: There's a rental spot just a few steps away.
Drink, eat and play at this new Midtown gathering spot with an Irish-pub-slash-icehouse vibe and Texas-sized backyard that can accommodate over 800. Up the outdoor game with 70 draft beers, live music, barbecue smoked on-site, giant Jenga, ping pong and more.
Catch some rays on the patio at welcoming neighborhood joint the Barking Pig, and then dig into must-try items from mushroom pizza with goat cheese, pesto and truffle oil to meatballs served with mozzarella and bruschetta. Wash it all down with a craft cocktail or beer.
At Raven Tower enjoy the great outdoors at a picnic table. Choose from a roster of 24 beers on tap — and dozens more by the bottle, wine and cocktails including the off-menu, Luisa's Paloma. The house twist on the classic showcases smoky mezcal instead of tequila. Drink up and then catch a music act next door at White Oak Music Hall. An on-property food concept should launch later this year, but trompo tacos from popular truck La Macro will do for now.
Like its neighbor Hunky Dory, Bernadine's features a sprawling patio that seats about 100, and it's pretty much the perfect environment for snacking on chef Graham Laborde's Gulf Coast cuisine. Feeling particularly indulgent? Spring for the I-10 Tower that mixes a range of cold and raw ingredients for only $70.