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Best Alfresco Spots in Houston

ENJOY THE PATIO LIFE—WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING, OF COURSE!

Article by Radhika Patel

Photography by Radhika Patel + Provided

The sun is shining and all the Houston patios are calling my name! I absolutely LOVE a good outdoor seating space. Whether it's a 100F in my summer dress or 50F and wrapped up in my scarf and boots (a rarity in Houston), I could sit outside all day every day if I could. With the addition of good food and drinks, I'm all set!

I've compiled a list of my top 10 favorite patio spaces! Whether you're looking for a fun girls day, date with your loved one, or a play date with your children, I have you covered!

SECRET GARDEN

A perfect little hidden gem, Secret Garden screams whimsical and magical vibes. It's like a maze trying to find it, but once you do, you won't want to find your way out that's for sure! Imagine your dad's garden shed but revamped, upgraded and full with an elixir of cocktails!

Must try: the French Garden cocktail, featured below: Tanqueray Gin, french lavender liqueur, lemon juice and topped with bubbles!

Best for: girls day, impromptu photo shoot.

Location: 408 Main St.

*re-opened now.

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TINY BOXWOODS

Open for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tiny Boxwood's "from scratch food" is one of Houston's hotspots. A total chill vibe with a beautiful manicured lawn where you can find kids playing joyfully. We can't talk about Tiny Boxwoods without mentioning the cookies. YES!! The cookies! Tiny's No. 5 is an extension of Tiny Boxwoods right next door, serving up fresh cookies. What's even better, Tiny's Milk and Cookies also sell their frozen dough so you can enjoy them at home too! Pure bliss...!

Must try: the cookies and ALL the salads!

Best for: families, play dates, small gatherings.

Location: 3614 W Alabama St.

*re-opened now.

BRENNERS ON THE BAYOU BLUE BAR

One of the best steakhouses in Houston! Beautiful inside and out. The patio was closed when I went, as it was raining but it's definitely one to visit. The outdoor seating area with a bar overlooks the gorgeous, lush grounds. So picturesque and was voted "Houston’s Top 10 Patios - Rest of the Best, 2014."

Must try: fine wine selection with over 200 selections from around the world. Cigars are also available upon request. If you end up dining inside then the lamb chops are an absolute must. Best I have tried so far...and I've tried a lot!

Best for: happy hour, date night and amazing scenery.

Location: 1 Birdsall St.

*re-opened now.

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BUFF BREW - BUFFALO BAYOU BREWING CO.

A patio in the sky! One of Houston's new breweries, offers up AMAZING downtown views! Dubbed as "Houston's most creative brewery," Buff Brew not only provides the views but also beers and food galore! This is a family friendly facility with the rooftop available for families up until 9PM everyday.

Must try: Gingerbread Stout, this month's featured beer. For the foodies out there, the pizzas look delicious!

Best for: after work drinks, Sunday Funday, best Houston skyline views.

Location: 2101 Summer St.

*re-opened now.

Fig and Olive

My ultimate favorite spot in Houston. I first went to Fig and Olive in New York and was elated when it was announced a couple years ago that the Galleria was getting its very own location! Fig and Olive is ultimate South of France and Mediterranean vibes! From the DELICIOUS food and drinks to the atmosphere...are we even in Houston anymore?? The patio is lovely, especially with the "Rosé all day" flower wall. So fun!!

Must try: ALL the crostinis.

Best for: brunch, girls day, celebratory events.

Location: 5115 Westheimer Rd.

*re-opened now with social distancing rules enforced.

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BELLAGREEN CITY CENTER

City Center is the perfect area for so many reasons! I used to live here and it's like a little community in itself. The green area is surrounded by shops and restaurants like Bellagreen and Yard House. Bellagreen actually has outdoor seating next to the green, perfect while enjoying the views and your little ones play.

Must try: the spicy shrimp pasta...it's not spicy at all!

Best for: mommy meet ups, playdates, lunch with friends, relaxing views and vibes.

Location: 800B Town and Country Blvd.

*re-opened now at 25% occupancy

BACCO WINE GARDEN/HOPHEADS

A great outdoor bar with heaters for the colder nights! Located on a main road, Bacco is easy to get to with great parking and very chilled relaxed vibes. Pet friendly too!

Must try: the pizzas were amazing!

Best for: date night, after work drinks, chilled friends meet up.

Location: 3611 Montrose Blvd.

*Re-opened with social distancing layout enforced.

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THE KITCHEN AT THE DUNLAVY

Always on the top of my list is this gem! Any visitors from friends and family, I have brought them to The Dunlavy. I love a place which is pretty on the inside and outside, and The Kitchen at The Dunlavy is just that, quintessentially perfect. Pet friendly and a patio surrounded by large, luscious trees with twinkle lights, fans and heaters! The interior deserves a whole other separate article in itself, so stay tuned! Think The Great Gatsby meets any fairy tale movie!

Must try: the avocado toast and the smoothies!

Best for: a quick pop in for a pick me up after a run, breakfast, brunch.

Location: 3422 Allen Pkwy.

*Currently The Dunlavy is closed due to COVID-19 but their sister properties Brassiere 19 and Coppa-Osteria are open and offering pick up and delivery.

RIVER OAKS DISTRICT

The whole area of River Oaks Districts deserves a spot on the patio list! It's hard to chose from just one! There's Le Colonial's patio, amazing Vietnamese food, Ouzo Bay with their delicious fresh Mediterranean seafood and the area outside of Toulouse, featured below. I enjoyed being able to order drinks and food from Toulouse and sit in the spacious patio outside.

Must try: the lychee martinis from LC, the cheese board from Toulouse and the grilled prawns from Ouzo Bay.

Best for: romantic date nights, girls/boys night out, Sunday brunch.

Location: 4444 Westhiemer Rd.

*re-opened now with social distancing ruled enforced.

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BACKSTREET CAFE

I round up my top 10 with a legendary Houston patio! Award-winning Chef Hugo Ortega has created the perfect restaurant and patio here in a 1930's home in the River Oaks area. The New Orleans-style patio is enclosed in beautiful flowers and shaded by a sprawling camphor tree.

Must try: shrimp and grits

Best for: lunch meetings, Sunday brunch, romantic dinners.

Location: 1103 S Shepherd Dr.

*Currently operating a curbside pick up and take out menu. Reopening May 18th.