Whenever the weather is warm, we start searching for someplace lovely (or just fun) to eat outdoors. We’ve started rounding up the best outdoor patios at restaurants and bars in Greater Hartford and all of Connecticut. Check back as we add to the list.

The Blake Hotel’s rooftop bar and deck opened with plenty of time to become a summer drinking destination, but its retractable glass roof and other weather enclosures will ensure virtual year-round enjoyment. The space, which is bathed in bright sunlight during daylight hours, features dark wood accents, a marble bar top and seating for 80 guests at the bar, tables and banquettes.

A raw bar features a daily oyster selection and Jonah crab claws ($3 per piece) and smoked bluefish dip, shrimp cocktail, crudo and tuna tartare ($11 to $18). Sandwiches ($6 to $13) are served on steamed buns, with bourbon-buttered lobster, cornmeal-crusted whole belly clams, crab salad, shiitake mushrooms, chicken cutlet with caper sauce, cheeseburger with sharp cheddar and onions. A coal oven turns out meat and vegetable skewers ($4.50 to $7) with mushrooms, asparagus, chicken thigh, tri-tip beef and pork belly. Desserts ($5 and $6) are limited to whoopie pies and sorbet.



Red 36 is a popular Mystic destination, with an enviable waterfront location in the Seaport Marine and a menu full of beachy cocktails and fresh seafood. The restaurant and its nautical-themed decor with white and navy accents is a year-round favorite, but in the summer, Red 36 opens its windows and doors to the sea air, maximizing its outdoor bar and sun-drenched deck space.

Red 36′s seafood-heavy lunch and dinner options feature a sizable raw bar selection with oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail and ceviche; steamers, fried clams by the bucket, seafood paella, seared scallops, an ahi tuna poké bowl and grilled salmon and swordfish entrees. Lobster is also plentiful in a variety of dishes, from hot buttered rolls to lobster carbonara and mac and cheese.

This upscale bistro offers a taste of Paris in downtown New Haven with outdoor seating that emulatesthe tradition of France’s sidewalk cafes. La Terrasse offers seating for about 36 people at umbrella-shaded bistro tables and banquettes, bordered by boxwood planters and flower boxes containing colorful vegetation and blooms. Union League’s special La Terrasse menu, available starting at 2:30 p.m. (5 p.m. on Saturdays), presents a variety of raw bar selections, bar snacks, cheese and charcuterie boards and more substantial plates, paired with classic aperitif-style cocktails and wines.

ABC’s massive patio is an east-of-the-river favorite, welcoming Manchester-area shoppers looking for a bite and a drink. True to its name, burgers are the focus at this family-friendly restaurant, with creative beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon and vegan options ($9.95 to $16.95) along with indulgent appetizers and desserts. An extensive beer list often spotlights several Connecticut craft selections, and a “Patio Punch” is summer-ready, with Rum Haven coconut rum, pineapple, honeydew and blue curacao.

At the Delamar Hotel, Artisan boasts a garden oasis, designed by Renee Giroux, with outdoor seating amid rows of lush greens, flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Sparkling hanging tree lights complete the bucolic setting. Enjoy the summer bounty at one of the restaurant’s monthly garden parties, held on the last Thursday of each month from June to September, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar featuring craft cocktails and its own private-label French rosé.

An urban sidewalk dining experience right in the middle of the Capital City’s downtown, Trumbull Kitchen has been the place to meet for downtown denizens for many years. Close to everything and perfect for before or after theater, or you can just find a seat on the sidewalk and indulge in people watching while you enjoy a Whiskey Smash and an order of rock shrimp and sweet potato fritters, or brown sugar smokies filled with sausage, bacon and lime chipotle aïoli. 860-493-7412; maxrestaurantgroup.com/trumbull

Zohara’s lively Mediterranean vibe extends in warm weather to the wide sidewalk on the quiet end of Farmington Avenue in West Hartford Center. The menu here is exciting and worth fully exploring, and the bar shines with its creative take on cocktails. With ingredients like za’atar, star anise, blood orange and beet juice, you are sure to discover a taste that will bring you back over and over. Trust the bartender to make you a cocktail — just tell him or her what you like, and the magic will happen. One (or two) of their exotic cocktails and a few orders of perfectly fried shishito peppers and a shared order of hummus and lamb gyro make for a delightful after-work stop. 860-955-0300 and zoharact.com

For 25 years, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room in the city’s North End has been known for its impressive craft beer selection, quirky interior design and laid-back attitude. As the weather warms, Eli’s turns its back patio into a makeshift beach, coating the ground with sand and outfitting the space with beach-themed decor and seating.

The menu focuses on comforting bar fare, like wings in more than a dozen flavors, burgers, sandwiches and nachos piled high with cheddar jack, tomatoes, jalapeños and olives. Summer offers lighter options, like fish tacos and a salad with mixed greens, watermelon and cucumber. Summer drink specials have included a smoked pineapple mezcal margarita, a bourbon peach tea, and cocktails incorporating beers from the bar’s 36 taps. 860-347-3547, elicannons.com.

At the nationally renowned Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank, you can order a steamed lobster weighing as much as 10 pounds, a hot lobster roll with a full pound of crustacean and “all the butter you need,” and even deviled eggs with fresh lobster meat. But you can’t get anything fried.

If your summer dining experience requires seafood with a crispy, satisfying crunch, the answer is down the road about a tenth of a mile. Abbott’s sister restaurant, Costello’s Clam Shack, features all the fried classics: clam strips and whole bellies, fish and chips, shrimp and more. You’ll find Costello’s at the Noank shipyard at the end of a dock with a large patio and second-level deck overlooking the Mystic River. 860-572-2779 and costellosclamshack.com.

Butchers & Bakers’ expansive patio, with ample seating and its own bar, has a dedicated outdoor drink menu for the season, with a variety of beers and wines, spiked lemonades and whiskey-based cocktails. “Shareable” large-format drinks ($32 to $38) are intended to please a crowd, like pitchers of seasonal margaritas and Moscow mules for six guests and the “Butcher’s Punch,” a mix of rums, tropical flavors and Angostura bitters, served scorpion bowl-style for four people. Patio happy hour, from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, features $4 beers, $5 wines, $6 cocktails, $8 pizzas and half-priced meatballs and garlic bread with Gorgonzola cream.

Butchers & Bakers also plans special patio events, like an upcoming fiesta party June 6 starting at 4 p.m. with Latin American inspired tapas and dinner specials, cocktails, live music and piñata prizes.

This BYOB riverfront restaurant, overlooking Rocky Hill’s Ferry Landing, is prime real estate. The edgy eatery let’s diners enjoy fun food and a relaxed, beachy atmosphere with a front-row river view of the state’s oldest continuously operating ferry service. Best-sellers include market-priced lobster rolls, fried whole-belly clams, lobster grilled cheese, a BBQ pulled pork “Cubano." The restaurant is cash-only with an ATM on the premises. 860-571-0535, shadrowct.com.

Bill’s Seafood in Westbrook promotes itself as an “ongoing party," and it’s just that — a come-as-you-are, laid-back, family-friendly stop for lobster rolls and fried clams, frozen cocktails, live music and summer sunsets.

Umbrella-shaded picnic tables on a waterfront deck overlook the Patchogue River and the town’s landmark Singing Bridge, and some diners even pull their boats right up to the restaurant’s dock, where visiting seagulls often wait patiently for crumbs or dropped French fries. Open yearround. 860-399-7224, billsseafood.com.

The Blue Oar sits along the Connecticut River and the lines can be long in summer, but if some dedicated regulars had their way, the relaxed restaurant along the Connecticut River would remain their little secret.

“Everyone still thinks, even though we’re busy, that it’s their own little private place, because we’re so hidden,” says Jody Reilly, who owns the eatery with her husband, Jim.

The BYOB, cash-only restaurant opens for the season on Mother’s Day weekend and shutters toward the end of September. Colorful picnic tables fill a two-tiered deck, and patrons sometimes bring their own cloths and flowers for the table. 860-345-2994, blueoarct.wix.com.

Cava introduced its opulent rooftop seating overlooking Mount Southington in 2017, featuring a sophisticated open-air design inspired by the owners’ Mediterranean travels and similar venues in Miami and Las Vegas. The rooftop features a new Sunday brunch, with plates like eggs Benedict with steak tips, shrimp and grits and cauliflower flatbread, and a Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings. Happy hour launches May 27, with appetizers like truffle fries, Rhode Island calamari, $1.50 oysters and specialty drinks like a mango mule and pineapple margarita.

From Elbow Room’s coveted rooftop deck, centrally located on Farmington Avenue, you can catch all the activity in busy West Hartford center. On the roof, you’ll find full-service dining, live music and cocktails, including “frozen doozies” like margaritas, daiquiris, piña coladas and frosé. Happy hour, from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, is also available on the rooftop and features $5 appetizers and specials on featured draft beers, wines and drinks ($3 to $5.) If you’ve got your pooch with you, the Elbow Room features dog-friendly seating on its sidewalk patio space.

Bring your best (furry) friend to Lucky Lou’s, in Old Wethersfield’s historic Deming-Standish House, where the large fenced-in patio is pet-friendly and live entertainment is on the schedule Thursday through Saturday. Fun fare features dirty wings in a variety of flavors, super chili nachos, a Greek gyro plate and a Maine lobster roll with infused citrus mayo and hot butter drizzle. If fine steaks are more your speed, Lucky Lou’s also offers a separate “chophouse” menu with various cuts of beef, sides and sauces.

Market Grille’s serene hilltop location, which overlooks the Hartford skyline, is conveniently located near Manchester’s Buckland Hills mall, but far enough removed to provide an escape from the traffic and bustling crowds of shoppers. The patio, complete with an outdoor bar and fireplace, is a popular stop for happy hour specials like daily flatbreads, risotto fritters, truffle Parmesan fries and summer sangrias. Thursdays are for seafood lovers, with two-for-one deals on raw bar items like oysters, clams on the half shell and jumbo shrimp cocktail.

This is the first patio season for the revamped historic Marlborough Tavern, which reopened in November after a full-scale renovation. The tavern serves classic American fare with innovative twists, and its new seasonal menu features lighter options for warm weather, like seared tuna tataki with lo mein noodle salad ($17.75), shrimp salad rolls on mini brioche ($11.75) and chicken chopped salad ($14.75.) Patio plans include a late-night happy hour with specials on food and drink from 9 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, says general manager/managing partner Justin Morales, along with occasional live music.

Max Burger’s patio is a LaSalle Road favorite on sunny and warm days, but its partial enclosure also helps extend its season and shields guests from the elements (and heaters are standing by if the temperature drops.) If you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll find a bunch of new menu items, including several new burgers, salads and sandwiches and the addition of tacos and mac and cheese. Cool off with a Raspberry Beret sangria (rosé, peach puree, raspberry) or an adult milkshake spiked with bourbon, vodka or rum.

Mill on the River’s picturesque waterfront setting, with a rushing waterfall and romantic “kissing bridge,” is a favorite for weddings and banquets, but you don’t need to be part of a special celebration to enjoy the view. The restaurant’s riverside patio seating is an ideal spot for warm-weather dining, with a dinner menu of housemade pastas, seafood dishes and steaks and chops, and a popular Sunday brunch complete with Bloody Marys and mimosas.

One of Connecticut’s best waterfront views at a restaurant may be at the back of a suburban office building in Wethersfield. River offers unrivaled, sweeping views of the Connecticut River and Putnam Bridge, with a multilevel outdoor deck space outfitted with traditional tables alongside comfortable couches and lounge seating. An Italian-inspired menu features fresh pastas, pizzas, steaks and seafood, with new summer items including crab bruschetta and harissa Berkshire pork chop. A daily happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.) offers specials on draft beer ($4 to $6), wines ($5 and $6) specialty cocktails ($6 and $7) and select “bites of River” appetizers ($5 to $7.)

Rooftop 120 is designed to welcome guests through all four seasons with heated and enclosed spaces, but summer is its high season, as visitors flock to the upscale third-floor venue overlooking Eric Town Square for drinks, small plates and live entertainment. Specialty cocktails include mojitos, cosmopolitans, sangrias and a “Roofpop" jumbo blue margarita garnished with a rainbow popsicle.

It’s time to luxuriate on a patio with a cocktail, or two, or ... more. Shell & Bones, the upscale seafood restaurant in the City Point section of New Haven, provides a spectacular waterfront view with sun-soaked outdoor seating and a full range of libations. 203-787-3466, shellandbones.com.

One of the newer vineyards in Connecticut, Chamard’s bistro specializes in French-inspired farm-to-table cuisine and has a lovely patio overlooking the vines. Close to Long Island Sound, the winery has a tasting room and offers tours of the vineyard. Try a hearty charcuterie platter on the deck off the tasting room in nice weather, with Chamard’s new sparkling rosé as the perfect accompaniment. Wines by the glass are half-off during happy hour. 860-664-0299 and chamard.com

The Gelston House has been around for 200 years, and you can imagine yourself in an earlier time sitting on the wide elegant covered porch overlooking the Connecticut River and the Goodspeed Opera House next door. It all feels very 19th century. Come for a meal before or after the theater, or just to relax with some lamb lollipops with horseradish cream, or an order of excellent PEI mussels and an Old-Fashioned while you river-watch. 860-873-1411 and gelstonhouse.com

Located in Elizabeth Park, which is home to the oldest public rose garden in the country, the Pond House Cafe’s stone patio is separated by a low wall from the duck pond and lushly surrounded by trailing vines and potted flowers. A stone’s throw away sits the whimsical vegetable and herb garden, which welcomes visitors to carefully walk among the herbs, lettuces and flowers. Perhaps a staff person will share the story of the summer years ago, when a mother duck made her nest in a large potted plant and didn’t move until the babies waddled back into the pond. The cafe serves lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch, and has the best waffle bar around, as well as a friendly wine list and craft beers. If you just want a gourmet hot dog and ice cream on the patio, stop by the Dog House on the park side of the building; it also offers doggie treats. 860-231-8823 and pondhousecafe.com

You can’t miss Monte Alban on the busy street in Hartford’s West End, serving authentic Oaxacan food on the yellow and red tiled patio. Surrounded by rose bushes, you won’t go wrong trying some of the more unusual dishes like the cactus salad and sharing the best guacamole in town as you sip a Margarita or Tecate beer. On weekends only, make sure to try the posole — don’t hesitate, it runs out early, and you don’t want to miss it. 860-523-7423 and montealbanhartford.com

Walls of windows lead to a spacious outdoor deck at Red 36, which offers seating right on the water in historic downtown Mystic, with classic cocktails and a huge menu of fresh seafood. It also has dock space if you’re coming by boat, and watching those boats come in adds to the magic of eating by the water. Try the overloaded Bloody Mary in a Mason jar, and clam chowder two ways – you know you think that only one is right. This way, everyone gets to feel his or her choice of clear or creamy is superior. 860-536-3604 and red36ct.com

A beautiful vineyard in the state’s quiet corner, Sharpe Hill requires reservations for lunch and dinner, and the restaurant fills up quickly, so make that call now. Enjoy Sharpe Hill’s award-winning wines and its classic American food on a lovely covered porch looking out over bucolic hills. The vineyard has some stellar wines, including the much beloved Ballet of Angels, a blend including Vignoles grapes, which were the first planted at the vineyard. The other standout is the Dry Summer Rosé, which is a wonderful aperitif as well. The vineyard has a limited but tasty menu of steaks, chops and wood-grilled chicken. 860-974-3549 and sharpehill.com

Climb the stairs to the restaurant’s Treehouse, a dining area tucked under trees with multi-level decks, its own bar and table seating overlooking river views. The space is a destination in itself during the summer months, with a dedicated outdoor kitchen making use of a wood-burning grill. The Treehouse uses a counter-service method, where guests order food and drink at the bar and then take a seat with a table number holder. 860-415-9266, and oysterclubct.com/treehouse-at-oc-1.

Sit on the wide patio and imagine what this gritty ex-mill town was like 100 years ago. And then be grateful that it’s the summer of 2019 and you’re sitting under twinkly lights eating excellent small dishes. Cafémantic has a solid selection of beer and some wonderful seasonal cocktails like the Rhubarb Mojito that would be a wonderful accompaniment to the scrumptious Boquerones, marinated white Spanish anchovies. 860-423-4243 and cafemantic.com

This inn sits right on the town green in one of the prettiest towns in the state. It serves the full Tap Room menu on its intimate covered porch. It also has a white-tablecloth dining room with more limited hours, and a casual menu in the Provisions Room seven days a week, which also has spectacular coffee, an eclectic gift selection and perfect picnic-worthy foods for packing up and taking to Bash Bish Falls, a half-hour away. The inn’s high-end, locally sourced British-inspired comfort food led Bon Appetit to name it one of the Best New Restaurants of 2015. 860-435-0030 and whitehartinn.com

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Enjoy German-Austrian dishes while sitting on the open porch or the flagstone terrace shaded by an ancient horse chestnut tree overlooking the northern end of lovely Lake Waramaug. In business as an inn since 1847, the old-fashioned European cuisine seems perfect for the bucolic setting. There are not many restaurants in the state that offer melon and Schinkenspeck ham, or old-fashioned marinated herring. In addition to serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant also offers salads and small meals such as a generous smoked salmon plate as a mid-afternoon treat from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays in the summer, as well as a full children’s menu. 860-868-7295 and thehopkinsinn.com

Leeanne Griffin can be reached at lgriffin@courant.com. Catherine Blinder, for Hartford Magazine, also contributed to this article.

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