As the season warms, Houston’s outdoor dining and drinking scene is heating up. Before the sweaty, mosquito-ridden months set in, locals look to flock to new spots offering the perfect patio experience, to savor a bite or a cocktail.
Here, then, is a brief look at some of the city’s best new patios and what makes each so special.
Come for the views and stay for the food at this towering rooftop bar and restaurant in Midtown. The open-air space, situated atop Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub, is spread out over two levels, allowing guests to take in the sights and sounds of the city at every turn. Here, festive cocktails and items like the Hot Cheeto-topped El Loco pineapple bowl are Insta-worthy, no doubt, but the menu also boasts heartier finds like sweet and spicy tenders and the pastor taco plate.
There is nothing sour to be said about this new restaurant and bar by Benjamin Berg located directly across B&B Butchers. A narrow bar leads to a New York coffee-shop style dining area in the back, and an open-air space offering views of the tented courtyard allows bartenders to serve patio guests and bar patrons at the same time. Brunch is a lively time to dine in the courtyard, and so is the new happy hour, available Mondays through Fridays, appropriately coined “Lemon Hour.”
Betsy’s at Evelyn Park
This Bellaire-hideaway offers all of the picnic-in-the-park vibes with its charming location at Evelyn’s Park. Ordering is made simple at a kiosk on the property, and guests have the option to dine inside a quaint yellow house where bottles of wine and pastry cases are prominently displayed, or on the sprawling lawn with lush views of the surrounding neighborhood. Park-friendly eats include grain bowls, salads and pizzas, and activations like live music and Movies on the Lawn will have you lingering in the park with your peeps.
Decatur Bar & Pop-up Factory
This brand new concept which will rotate its chef-in-residence as time goes on, boasts a sprawling patio bedecked with string lights on which to enjoy the current offerings. In its inaugural phase, former Chopped champ chef Evelyn Garcia of Kin Concepts has launched a menu of sweet and savory offerings including brisket curry with herb salad and rose-berry glazed chai tea donuts, so pull up a picnic table and stay awhile.
Fig & Olive Rosé Terrace
Snap while you sip at Fig & Olive’s new, ultra-Instagrammable rosé terrace. With the restaurant located inside the Galleria, its patio spills out into the mall’s lot facing Westheimer Rd. offering guests, chic Uptown city views while they dine and drink. Pops of pastel from the patio furniture and a neon sign which appropriately reads “Rosé all day” in bright pink cursive lettering will surely pep up the next pic you post on the ‘gram.
Heights Bier Garten
This expansive Heights restaurant and bar can be a full on patio party on the weekends, with guests crowding two covered bars on each side and picnic tables in the central, open-air seating area in the middle. The menu lists booze on booze — from wines by the glass and bottle to dark and bold beers. Under the culinary direction of chef Brandon Silva, the food menu is given equal attention, with selections including the veggie-friendly cauliflower in Madras curry and heaping burgers and sammys.
The Rice Box River Oaks
Take in the sights and sounds of River Oaks while dining on the buzzy patio at the newest Rice Box location on Shepherd Dr. With a one-of-a-kind exterior splashed with colorful art, the covered patio serves as a neat place to enjoy traditional Chinese-American comfort eats like kung pao chicken and steamy chow fun noodles. Dine after dusk, and experience the funky outdoor space illuminated in neon lights.
Houston’s hip new coffee concept, The Roastery, recently unveiled its flagship location attached to H-E-B in Briargrove, and with it, a lively outdoor patio complete with lawn games and a live music stage. The shaded space bedecked with flat screen TVs, serves as an ideal destination to kick back with a cup of joe — crafted with beans roasted onsite — or a cocktail, and a music-centric mural by artist Anat Ronen offers a hint of the many evenings of entertainment which are soon to come.
Tropicales Café y Comida
At this vacay-inspired eatery and bar by David Buhrer (Blacksmith, Morningstar), guests are welcome to let their worries melt away while enjoying offerings from a single menu available throughout the day… because there are no rules on vacation. Whether it’s 8 am or 8 pm, a meal may consist of chorizo breakfast tacos, a hearty Cuban sandwich or skirt steak fajitas with all the trimmings. And, what’s a vacation without your pup? Dining on the dog-friendly patio shaded with over-sized umbrellas will make you feel miles from home.
Hungry’s has long been a Rice Village staple for families to enjoy weekend brunch and relaxed dinners, but now with the addition of Upstairs at Hungry’s, a 21-and-up lounge and bar located on the second level, guests can kick back with cocktails and more in a festive atmosphere. The covered patio boasting loungey couch seating and bar highs, overlooks the first floor restaurant while offering pristine views of the Village. And, staying true to Hungry’s, the menu combines boozy beverages with casual eats like house-made hummus, wood stone pizzas, and vegan grain bowls.