Virginia-Highland's Neighbor's offers a perfect way to enjoy Atlanta's warm weather.

The patio is packed and the food delicious at Zocalo on 10th Street.

Bartaco has three patio restaurants.

Pay some golf, eat some oysters, enjoy the weather. Yes, The Optimist has it all.

Go "camping" at Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall.

17 Places To Eat And Drink Outside in Atlanta This Spring

What better way is there to enjoy the day, work on your tan, gossip with friends and enjoy the great outdoors than patio dining? Here are 17 of Atlanta’s best places to dine outside.

  1. The Optimist repeatedly makes the “Best of Atlanta” lists, both locally and nationally, for its fresh, creative seafood dishes, but in the summer, its outdoor space makes it among the best to hang and indulge in mind-numbingly great food. Ford Fry’s The Optimist brings a seaside fish camp experience and offers a robust menu of oysters as well as swordfish, Georges Bank scallops and redfish. We love the outdoor turf lawn, complete with two-putt mini-golf and the occasional band. Doesn’t get much better.
  2. Neighbors is well named. Located in Virginia-Highland, Neighbors has a large and inviting patio where 150 friends, neighbors and dogs congregate in between games of shuffleboard and darts, jukebox karaoke and sports watching to enjoy Atlanta’s weather, cold beer and people watching. The inside bar is best described as a “dive,” and the patio is lively, noisy and casual. Whether you’re inside or out, Neighbors is a place to wear your flip-flops and relax. Next door to Neighbors is Hand In Hand, a British-style restaurant with a large and inviting patio as well.
  3. 5Church Atlanta offers delicious and varied brunch, lunch and dinner menus that feature such favorites as shrimp and grits. We especially love Ramen Mondays. The drink menu is outstanding with a wide variety of whites, reds, roses, bubblies, beer and specialty cocktails such as Holy Water (bourbon, sweet tea, lemon juice, blackberries, mint and blue agave) or Georgia Forecast (tequila, passion fruit juice, sour mix and muddled jalapeño). Located in Colony Square, 5Church Atlanta has a second floor patio that is perfect for people watching right in the heart of Midtown.
  4. TWO Urban Licks — tucked away in, well, a parking and delivery area — routinely offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Its wood-fired cuisine, live rotating rotisseries, unique 26-foot wine-on-tap barrel wall and breathtaking downtown skyline views make it an Atlanta favorite. While we love the edgy, urban look, it’s the patio that makes this place special. Located an arm’s throw from the Atlanta BeltLine, TWO Urban Licks gives a true Atlanta outdoor experience that should be in the movies.
  5. Six Feet Under has two locations, both with incredible outdoor patios. The original got its name from being across the street from Historic Oakland Cemetery, the final resting place for such dignitaries as author Margaret Mitchell and former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. And, it’s just that off-kilter thinking and humor that make both locations — Grant Park and West Midtown — such fun.
  6. Dine at Bartaco and you just might feel as if you’re at the beach in Brazil, Southern California or Uruguay — and that’s exactly the vibe the owners want. Bartaco is an upscale street food eatery in a relaxed environment with three locations — Chastain Park, Inman Park and West Midtown. Regardless of which one, the patio views are awesome and you don’t even have to get on a plane.
  7. Ford Fry offers another restaurant with patios that overlook a courtyard and the industrial feel of Howell Mill Road on the Westside. JCT Kitchen takes up two floors with the upstairs having its own bar and outdoor space. It’s perfect for eating fried chicken, deviled eggs with country ham and its signature dish, Angry Mussels.
  8. If you know Atlanta, you’ll know that the Atlanta BeltLine is the place to be, be seen and, yes, sit down and enjoy a meal and a drink. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is the first outdoor-oriented bar and restaurant to open along the Eastside Trail. Perfect for those who love camping — or just a unique dining experience — Ladybird offers elevated campfire cuisine with shareable dishes. Our favorite among the signature “vittles” is a beet + Georgia peach salad. Other campfire offerings include fish-n-grits and a double-stack cheeseburger. Its beverage menu features house-made juices and soda (don’t worry, Ladybird also serves craft cocktails, wine and local beer).
  9. Joe’s On Juniper’s has been an Atlanta tradition for years — and with good reason. Its casual atmosphere is perfect to enjoy bar food, speak with the friendly wait staff and sit outside and watch the sights and sounds of Midtown. Actually, watching the diners can also be pretty interesting and fun.
  10. Front Page News, located in Little Five Points, is a perennial winner on best patio lists. Unlike a lot of restaurants, Front Page News evokes the patios of New Orleans, so the patio is more of a genteel courtyard. It’s a perfect place to relax, have some gumbo or brunch and enjoy the quiet of the courtyard.
  11. Sometimes you want to put on your finest and have a romantic dinner or late night drink under the stars. In that case, Whiskey Blue Atlanta, located in the W Buckhead Hotel, is the place for you. Arrive by a private elevator to a rooftop patio that harkens back to the glamour of Palm Springs in the 1970s. Sink back into the overstuffed sofas, put your feet into the shag rugs and keep an eye on the dramatic 18-foot video on the back wall that shows images of vintage rock ‘n’ roll. There are two outdoor terraces that offer stunning views of Buckhead, and the bar offers a variety of classic cocktails, house cocktails, and wine and beer.
  12. Grindhouse Killer Burgers started at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and now has three locations. One, located on Piedmont Avenue near Cheshire Bridge Road, offers a large patio that is perfect for amazing burgers and boozy shakes. A Grant Park location has three patios. One has a bar, the second is covered in Astroturf and the third is perfect for shuffleboard and Ping-Pong.
  13. Nine Mile Station is a rooftop beer garden located atop Ponce City Market that offers sweeping views of the city’s skyline from downtown to Buckhead. Order a craft beer, classically prepared cocktails and shareable food, and enjoy the ever-growing skyline.
  14. Rustic Italian food and friendly neighborhood attitudes are just two reasons to go to Osteria 832 in Virginia-Highland. However, it’s the large outdoor patio overlooking North Highland Avenue that makes it hard to resist. You’ll feel right at home, whether it’s for dinner or brunch, a romantic date or a family meal with lots of kids. It’s casual and fun with a no-rush, enjoy-the-moment policy.
  15. Zocalo Mexican Kitchen & Cantina offers upscale Mexican foods, but the patio is the real star. With its large outdoor patio overlooking 10th Street, Zocalo is the hot spot for those who want to sip a margarita and enjoy Atlanta’s great weather. It is popular with Midtown’s gay population.
  16. When you think of Spain, you think of tapas, seafood and outdoor dining. Gypsy Kitchen evokes all of that and more. The restaurant, located at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, offers modern-day Spanish cuisine and a lively second-floor patio.
  17. The Lawrence, nestled away in Midtown, offers a perfect combination of energy and relaxation. The delightful menu changes seasonally, and The Lawrence recently revised its brunch menu to include specialties such as chicken and red velvet waffles and sweet vanilla crepes — all of which go down perfectly with a creative craft cocktail. The outdoor space is perfect for a leisurely visit with friends.

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications. 

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