Off to the beach today! There’s nothing like getting away from the humid, smelly city in the summer. But if you can’t get away, drinking and dining outside in NYC is a close second. Because outdoor dining is such a novelty here, it can be hard to find places that aren’t too sceney or too crowded. So today I’m sharing my 5 favorite places to imbibe outside with minimal fuss and maximum chill.
On Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, I was wary this place would be too hipster or pretentious for me, but Spuyten Duyvil is anything but. The back garden is very low key; some people were reading, others brought their babies. The beer selection is amazing (I tried a local IPA and am still kicking myself that I forgot the name) and the meat/cheese selection ain’t too shabby either.
Though Habana Outpost can get pretty crowded and busy on a nice day, it’s still family-friendly enough that it’s not too sceney. Definitely get there early on a nice day to stake out a table though. Their famous grilled corn really is worth the hype and the Morita (a combination of a margarita and mojito) is seriously addictive. Buckets of beer really makes it feel like summer. They even have movie nights outside, which I’d love to make it to this summer.
There’s always an interesting crowd at Tompkins Square Park. If you can get over the constant faint smell of urine, this is a great place for a laid back picnic. From heavy metal bands to drugged out artists leftover from back in the day, the quirky vibe feels very “New York” to me. There are endless to-go food options nearby as well. My faves are the Taste of Maine combo from Luke’s Lobster and the Salty Pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream.
Kevin and I stumbled upon Cafe Condesa after attempting to sit in the garden at next-door Bobo (another favorite place of mine), but finding it was closed for a private party. This little cafe is very chill, and the relaxed attitude of the servers and staff is infectious. With only a few tables outside on the sidewalk, it might be tough to get a seat outside if it’s busy, but this is a primo spot for people watching. Their heaping tall cobb salad is light yet satisfying and pairs perfectly with a refreshing glass of rosé.
Hardly a secret anymore, Smorgasburg can be a bit of a hassle if the lines are long and it’s a really hot day outside. But, if you can get there early enough to avoid the crowds and snag a good spot by the water, this outdoor food market is one not to be missed. Some of my favorite vendors include grilled cheese from Milk Truck, pork sandwiches from Porchetta, iced coffee from Grady’s Cold Brew, and the refreshing pops from People’s Pops. Plus there are lots of bars with outdoor seating nearby to continue the fun after you’ve eaten, like Berry Park or Spuyten Duyvil isn’t far either!