A sure-fire way to beat the heat is to get out there and enjoy it. After all, outside is the new inside, so no matter how hot it gets, you’ll always be cool.
Best Patio for Carbo Loading
Bread Winners Cafe & Bakery is to carb-lovers what beer is to frat boys. Pre-meal, everyone gets a heaping selection of muffins, homemade breads, and rolls, and with goodies like this, waiting an hour for a table seems well worth it. Covered with trees and flowers, the secluded, shaded outdoor area is filled with plants and flowers that give it a cozy, nature-loving, Austin-esque vibe.
What to Wear: Depends on the day—weekdays are casual, but on Sundays you may run into the after-church crowd.
Tip: Plan to wait if you’re there for breakfast.
Location: 3301 McKinney Ave. 214-754-4940.
Best Patio That You Already Know About
It seems every time we get the urge to sit on the patio at Primo’s, about 40 people have already had that same urge. At night, the Mexican restaurant is a notorious watering hole for Dallas chefs. By day, the patio is packed with people sipping margaritas and looking good while doing so.
What to Wear: Walking shoes. There are lots of hotspots within walking distance.
Tip: Happy hour Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. Tuesday is $2.50 margaritas.
Location: 3309 McKinney Ave. 214-220-0510.
Best Patio for Panache
If palm trees, pools, and Prada get you going, then visit Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, Dallas’ newest chalet de chic. The patio features gardens, fountains, lounge chairs, a demonstrative dragon sculpture, and a full-service bar. Patrons hang out by the water, sipping flavored martinis, alcoholic smoothies, and other colorful, shaved-ice drinks.
What to Wear: A Dolce & Gabbana chiffon floral strapless dress worn over jeans, chandelier earrings, and a heavy spritz of Gucci Rush perfume—you’re sooo LA.
Tip: Get a room—that is, if you mind standing while you wait for your table. There’s limited seating on the patio, and the hotel doesn’t have a traditional reception area.
Location: 2332 Leonard St. 214-468-8399.
Best Patio for Rugrats
Hands down, Dream Cafe in the Quadrangle is the primo patio spot for youngsters, with its mini playground and expansive yard. Plus, on Monday nights, kids roam free at the Lollypop Palooza. The parking lot is far away from the play area, and there’s seating aplenty for weary parents.
What to Wear: Dockers stain-resistant capris, Nine West slides, and a BCBG twinset—the ultimate mom outfit.
Tip: Kid-friendly entertainment on Monday from 6-9 p.m. Dogs are allowed outside. Owners, however, should bring the scoopers. Tuesday nights feature half-price food entrées.
Location: 2800 Routh St. 214-954-0486.
Best Patio to Pop the Question
The Grape on Greenville has some mystical, magical quality perfect for sipping wine, nibbling cheese, and making moony eyes at your lover. The patio is cozy and intimate, with petite black iron tables covered with red and white tablecloths, bud vases, and fresh flowers. Subtle lighting and gently moving ceiling fans keep romance—and the sweet smells from potted flowers—in the air.
What to Wear: Your favorite Nanette Lepore dress, high wedges, and a flower in your hair. After all, this could be the date.
Tip: The patio is small, so practice getting down on one knee in tight spaces.
Location: 2808 Greenville Ave. 214-828-1981.
Best Patio for Parrotheads
Okay, so you’re not anywhere near the ocean, sandcastles are hard to come by, and sailboating is completely out. But Florida Seafood Grill does a hearty job of making it feel as if you’re in the Keys. The long patio features bamboo tables, bamboo ceiling fans, and bamboo peeking out from the long, L-shaped, fish-filled pond. There are actually sand and tiki lights along the walkways, and you’ll swear you can smell the saltwater.
What to Wear: Flip-flops, shorts, and Tommy Bahama shirt.
Tip: Live music on the weekends. Think Jimmy Buffett.
Location: 5013 W. Park Blvd., Plano. 972-596-7100.
Best Beer for Your Buck
The patio at the M Grill & Tap is decidedly uncasual. With minimal décor (okay, none), few lights, and fewer plants, this patio is built for conversation. But there’s a secret that beer lovers will appreciate. M Grill offers 7-ounce brews for $1.50. The standard 12-ounce bottle at most bars costs at least $3. So, according to our rudimentary math skills, that means you can get 14 ounces for the price of 12. That’s 2 free ounces of beer.
What to Wear: Leather braided belt, Cole Haan loafers, and Polo golf shirt with matching khaki shorts.
Tip: Nightly drink specials from 4-7 p.m.
Location: 2520 Cedar Springs Rd. 214-220-1130.
Best Patio for a Guardian Angel
The Green Room in Deep Ellum can be described as Old World meets garage sale, thanks to the subdued lighting and walls covered with framed music posters, guitars, and murals. Upstairs on the expansive patio, people munch pizza and down cocktails while music blares and misters keep them cool—as if they weren’t already.
What to Wear: Cargo pants with Prada heels and Gucci logo bag with bamboo stick detail.
Tip: On the way upstairs, if you’re wearing a skirt, watch out for the diners below.
Location: 2715 Elm St. 214-748-7666.
Best Patio on Two Wheels
The Blue Goose Cantina is easy to spot—the signage is big, the colors are bold, and there’s always someone laughing or chanting, “Drink, drink, drink!” With orange, green, yellow, and blue picnic tables, neon signs and bold lighting, Blue Goose is always loud, crowded, and fun.
What to Wear: Worn-in denim, fringed jacket, and chaps.
Tip: Look for hoards of hogs (Harleys, that is) on Sundays. Happy hour is from 2:30 p.m.-2 a.m. on Monday.
Location: 2905 Greenville Ave. 214-823-8339.
Best Patio to Wine and Dine
Il Sole’s second-story patio is classy and subtle—exactly what you’d expect from a top restaurant in Uptown. It’s decorated with black iron tables, green sun umbrellas, and flowering plants. One would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful gathering spot in the Knox-Henderson area.
What to Wear: A white YSL suit with an Hermés clutch. Pile on your Cathy Waterman jewelry.
Tip: Half-price wine by the glass on Monday night. Tuesday features a specially priced four-course dinner with wine.
Location: 4514 Travis St., Ste. 201. 214-559-3888.
Best Patio for Scorching Weather
Want a pool party, but don’t have a pool? Head to J. Pepe’s. There’s a pool on the patio. Plus music, margaritas, and rowdy people. In short, J. Pepe’s on Lower Greenville may just have the biggest pool party in town.
What to Wear: Juicy Couture terry shorts with matching hoodie—in pink.
Tip: Happy hour includes cheap margaritas.
Location: 3619 Greenville Ave. 214-821-6431.
Best Place to Practice French
Le Paris Bistrot on McKinney Avenue features a patio trés magnifique. Strewn with lights, far-reaching umbrellas, colorful flowerbeds, and green and black lattice décor, this is one chic site. Throw in a beret, and you’ll be halfway to Paris, back when that was a good thing.
What to Wear: A big pair of dark Chanel sunglasses and a small dose of “don’t stare at me” attitude.
Tip: Select daily wines are 25 percent off, and there’s a $10 lunch and $20 dinner special with three and four courses, respectively.
Location: 2533 McKinney Ave. 214-720-0225.
Best Patio for an Elvis Sighting
Dating as far back as when Central was two lanes each way, Chuy’s has been a Knox-Henderson fave. Must be the kitschy décor and reverence to Elvis. Smack in the middle of the covered patio sits a giant likeness of the King, which long has been the focus of photo-happy patrons. The ambience is as loud and colorful as the crowd.
What to Wear: Anything dark that conceals
Tip: Be patient. On the weekends, you might make your way through a six-pack before you make your way to a table.
Location: 4544 McKinney Ave. 214-559-2489.
Best Patio to Pretend It’s Spring Break in South Padre
Duke’s Roadhouse in Addison is seriously laid-back. The gigantic wooden deck out front is always crammed with people and waitresses selling shots. To secure the party vibe, the restaurant puts on frequent friendly competitions: strong-man contests, crawfish eating, “best dancers,” and the ever-reliable “sexiest” something or other.
What to Wear: Khakis, golf shirt, and cellphone belt attachment.
Tip: Parking spills into the nearby Sam’s Wholesale Club, so you can be fashionably late and still find a spot.
Location: 4180 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 972-503-2337.
Best Patio to Feel at Home
Thomas Avenue Beverage Company, aka TABC, is Uptown’s version of Cheers. Hidden under trees and tucked in with rows of brownstones, apartments, and townhouses, this neighborhood bar is no-frills and friendly. Patrons fill every seat on the wooden deck, where industrial fans and cooling misters keep things comfortable. If you go there more than once, you’re bound to see someone you know. It doesn’t hurt that the food is good, too.
What to Wear: Whatever you wore to work. To get a leg up on the crowd, go home and change into Earl jeans, high heels, and a tube top.
Tip: Now open on Sunday.
Location: 2901 Thomas Ave. 214-979-0452.
Best Patio to Bring a Leash
The red and green house of the Ginger Man is a dog-slash-beer-lover’s dream. There are 71 beers on tap and 100 varieties of bottled brew, but what’s most impressive is the Ginger Man’s nature-friendly bent. With three outdoor areas—one out front, a big one out back, and one upstairs—dogs that mind their manners can relax under an expansive tree or wooden table.
What to Wear: See TABC above.
Tip: Once a month, Ginger Man has a beer-tasting event. Cost is $15-25 per person, depending on the beers, snacks included.
Location: 2718 Boll St. 214-754-8771.
Best Throwback to a College Bar
Relive your college days with come-ons, catty looks, and cheap (but good) beer at the Barley House. There are ceiling fans on the side patio, but the front area is for sunbaking. Don’t expect to be the youngest in the crowd. The Barley House caters to the music-loving, beer-drinking, twentysomething, ex-SMU crowd.
What to Wear: Whatever smells clean.
Tip: Two-dollar pints on Tuesday. Extended happy hours all day and night on Monday, including free pool.
Location: 2916 N. Henderson Ave. 214-824-0306.
Best Patio for Duck Watching
There are scant few places in Dallas where one can wine and dine by the water. Mignon is one of them. The restaurant features fine patio dining, complete with white-linen tablecloths, delicate lighting, soft jazz music, stone walls, and overflowing flower boxes—all presented in front of an audience of friendly, chatty ducks. If you can ignore the cars zooming down Preston Road, you might feel like you’re at a resort. Or at least somewhere other than Plano.
What to Wear: Talbots suit by day; Ann Taylor tank dress and sling-backs by night.
Tip: Feed the ducks—only if you want them to stay for a while.
Location: 4005 Preston Rd., Plano. 972-943-3372.
Best Patio to Spot Mark Cuban
The double-decker patio at Cuba Libre mixes sass with class. Shiny steel tables and chairs stand out against bushels of greenery, terra cotta window boxes, and tall South American-inspired vases. From the top, spy on your more casual brethren at the Old Monk. Oh, yeah. Mark Cuban tapes his TV show here.
What to Wear: Lacoste t-shirt, your favorite Theory pants, Marc Jacobs sandals, and Louis Vuitton’s Murakami purse.
Tip: The top patio doesn’t open until 5 p.m. Happy hours are weekdays from 4-7 p.m.
Location: 2822 N. Henderson Ave. 214-827-2820.
Best Patio to Be a Couch Potato
At the Samba Room, Latin lovers mix it up on the covered patio decorated with swaying palms, comfy wicker couches and chairs, and white-clothed tables. With a South Beach/ Cuban vibe and booming, seductive tunes (live bands on the patio on Wednesdays), this place could be called the best outdoor nightclub in town. But the prime spot is on the couches that line the sidewalk in front.
What to Wear: Anything loose enough to Mambo. Make sure the heels are high.
Tip: On Wednesdays, $2 tapas and Cuban Mojitos, the signature drink and cure for shy dancers.
Location: 4514 Travis St. 214-522-4137.
Best Patio with a Pond
A tasty tramezzino, a little tzotchke—at least that’s the plan that the owners of Obzeet Restaurant & Bar had when they started their international/tropical restaurant and shop. The secluded patio packs in a pond and waterfall, enough plants to make you think you’re at the Arboretum, and plenty of seating. Patrons love the chocolate and banana martinis, desserts in King Kong-sized proportions, and the adjacent bazaar featuring hundreds of imports, including African and Zimbabwe Shona art.
What to Wear: Anything you can dance in.
Tip: Live music outdoors Monday through Saturday, from 7:30 p.m.-midnight; on Friday the band starts at 4 p.m.
Location: 19020 Preston Rd. 972-867-6126.
Best Patio to Meet and Greet
Beer, friends, and steamed mussels—what else do you need? Old Monk is a comfortable Henderson Avenue rendezvous for catching up with buddies or for the simple pleasure of people watching. The covered patio is completely no fuss, save one wall mural of three rotund gentlemen engaging in a little beer recreation. Stay at the bar long enough and you might see the real thing.
What to Wear: White monogrammed tank top, Abercrombie short denim skirt, armband tattoo, and a copy of Catcher in the Rye.
Tip: Old Monk has a large selection of Belgium beers and excellent bar food. Happy hours are weekdays from 4-7 p.m.
Location: 2847 Henderson Ave. 214-821-1880.
Best Patio Palette
Mattito’s Cafe Mexicano is known for two things: great Mexican food and bold color. On the front patio, purple passion vine slinks across the fence. On the side patio, blankets of wisteria make a shady, sweet-smelling ceiling, and colorful lights keep things cheery. Latin and salsa music help to complete the festive mood.
What to Wear: Casual dress. Sombreros are optional.
Tip: Parties of up to 35 can reserve the enclosed “Garden Room,” which is really a covered glass patio with French doors.
Location: 3011 Routh St. 214-922-8835.