Dining al fresco is the only way to go this summer

Jun 8, 2016 at 1:00 am
Townhouse Photo by Scott Spellman

It's officially hot AF, and the thought of spending another minute in your stuffy Hamtramck flat with A/C that's on death row is unbearable (oops, sorry, that's me). Regardless of where you live in metro Detroit, you've been dying to get out of the house and enjoy the warm summer breezes. That's where outdoor dining comes in handy. Nourish your hunger, cool off with a refreshing cocktail, and remind yourself what the open air feels like again. Here are some spots throughout the metro whose patios are divine.


La Dolce Vita

This hidden Italian restaurant is famous for brunch, specifically brunch on its lovely garden patio, where you'll spend an afternoon lounging about on warm summer days.

17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331; ldvrestaurant.net


You'll find a massive beer list, creative bar food (hello Crack Fries), brunch, and regular live music acts. Plus, the outdoor, second-level patio beer garden is one of those places you'll want to sneak off to during a lively concert.

4265 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-769-8828; hopcat.com/detroit


The popular eatery made a remarkable transformation over the past several months, including the addition of outdoor patio seating. So grab one of Mudgie's famous giant sandwiches, choose from its great beer and wine list, and relax al fresco.

1300 Porter St., Detroit; 313-961-2000; mudgiesdeli.com

El Zocalo

Order yourself a hearty plate of classic Tex Mex dishes and one of their big ol' margaritas (choose from a huge selection of tequilas) and sit on the gorgeous garden patio out back. It'll make for the ideal afternoon siesta from adulting.

3400 Bagley Ave., Detroit; 313-841-3700; elzocalodetroit.net

Selden Standard

You already love the exquisitely executed small plates here, prepared with locally sourced ingredients. The drink menu is also out of this world. The outdoor patio, though, takes your dining experience at this lauded eatery to the next level. Oh, and did we mention brunch is served here as well?

3921 2nd Ave., Detroit; 313-438-5055; seldenstandard.com

Motor City Brewing Works

This Detroit-based brewery and pizzeria also happens to have one of the best rooftop patios in Midtown. So when you're looking for that ideal summer breeze, nights out on this patio are stellar.

470 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700; motorcitybeer.com


If you've ever spent much time in Los Angeles, then the concept at Imperial makes a lot of sense. Lots of Mexican-inspired street food to choose from, with a rotating selection of tacos (veggie-friendly, too). Plus, there's a large variety of tequila and mezcal-based cocktails and margaritas. Top it off with a chill patio, and you got that West Coast vibe on lock.

22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-850-8060

Northern Lights Lounge

You might have gone here to take in a live show, grab a drink with friends, or have a bite of yummy bar food. The huge patio takes all that and gives you one of the most laid-back, enjoyable outdoor venues in the city.

660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739; northernlightslounge.com

The Skip

Enter the mural-laden the Belt alleyway between Broadway and Library off Gratiot, and you'll find this sleek, new outdoor bar featuring frozen margaritas, a large beer selection, and a clandestine, hidden feel.

1234 Library St., Detroit

Townhouse Detroit

This sprawling space downtown has a glass-enclosed, outdoor "house," making patio seating available year-round. When weather permits, it's opened up to give you a nice, airy feel. This loud, splashy establishment also features a number of bars — including a whiskey lounge and seafood raw bar — an open kitchen, fire pit, and lounge seating.

500 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-723-1000; eatattownhouse.com

Central Kitchen + Bar

This relaxed, contemporary eatery is strong in its upgraded gastropub fare and interesting cocktail list. Its open design, with an adjoining street side patio offers a great view of Cadillac Square.

660 Woodward Ave. No. 4A, Detroit; 313-963-9000; centraldetroit.com

Old Miami

This is your quintessential neighborhood dive bar, replete with Vietnam and vintage rock memorabilia throughout, as well as cheap drinks. The best part is the giant back yard, complete with a tiki-style bar, plenty of lawn chairs and benches, and often a hot dog stand to dig into when you get the beer munchies.

3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830

1917 American Bistro

This place on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion is especially known for its brunch, has a full bar and an eclectic menu with Cajun influences, and rooftop seating — perfect for keeping the brunch vibe going all afternoon.

19496 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-863-1917; 1917americanbistro.com

The Rattlesnake Club

This fine-dining staple offers seasonal dishes featuring locally grown produce, prime certified Angus beef, and non-farmed finfish and shellfish. The bar features fine wines and Michigan craft beers. Oh, and it's situated on the Detroit River, making for a delightful view of the Windsor skyline.

300 River Place Dr., Detroit; 313-567-4400; rattlesnakedetroit.com

Sky Deck Detroit Opera House

The Sky Deck sits atop the Detroit Opera House and is open on a first-come, first-serve basis for Tigers games, giving guests a full view. The Sky Deck has a full bar and offers ballpark fare like hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken wings.

1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-287-3284; detroitoperahouseskydeck.com


Sindbad's offers plenty of seafood dishes, soups, and chilis, as well as handhelds like sandwiches. The drink menu offers fine wine and craft beers. Plus, that deck overlooking the marina gives you a prime view of the Detroit River.

100 St. Clair St., Detroit; 313-822-8000; sindbads.com

The suburbs

Brownie's on the Lake

Brownie's on the Lake is another seafood mecca and also offers up a fine USDA prime beef. The restaurant, bar, and patio all have a nautical vibe, plus a comfortable atmosphere with stunning views of Lake St. Clair.

24214 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-445-8080; browniesonthelake.com


This small but popular gastropub offers a selection of craft beers and cocktails, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as chop house classics like ribs, a pork chop sandwich, and fish and chips. Enjoy all that on a spacious, covered outdoor patio.

1999 Coolidge Hwy., Berkley; 248-268-3175; republicaberkley.com

Social Kitchen

Social Kitchen has the New Americana game mastered, with creative comfort food dishes like the grilled cheese on naan, falafel, and a sizable variation of a classic Reuben. And when you hit the beautifully appointed rooftop lounge, you're in for a fine view of Maple and Old Woodward.

225 E. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-594-4200; socialkitchenandbar.com

Red Fox English Pub

Dig into some classic British pub chow, take a swig of brew, and cozy up next to one of many individual fire pits atop comfy seating on this rooftop lounge for a late night snack.

100 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-543-4300; redfoxenglishpub.com

Arbor Brewery Co.

This cheerful Ann Arbor brewpub serves up house-brewed suds and upscale pub food — all offered up on a street side patio. Great for people watching.

114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393; arborbrewing.com

Aut Bar

Spread out at this spot's quiet courtyard and enjoy a leisurely weekend brunch, with standouts like its Mexican specialties (breakfast burritos and huevos motulenos). If you're over 21, head up the second level for some adult beverages.

15 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677; autbar.com


This fine riverfront eatery offers a menu of Italian cuisine and seafood, as well as a selection of wines and a full-service bar. This time of year is perfect for dining on the patio or cruise the river on Portofino's U.S. Coast Guard-approved vessel, the Friendship.

3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-281-6700; portofinoontheriver.com