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Drink in the Open Air


The Stonehome Wine Bar in Fort Greene.   

87 Lafayette Ave., nr. S. Portland Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-624-9443
Outdoor hours: Mon.–Thurs. 5 p.m.–12:30 a.m., Fri.–Sat. 5 p.m.–1:30 a.m., Sun. 5 p.m.–midnight
Fort Greene residents without a garden of their own find the tasteful ivy-draped backyard at Stonehome a perfect stand-in. For a wine-and-cheese (and fancy bottled beer) establishment, it draws an edgy crowd, including collage art star Wangechi Mutu. On weekend evenings, couples have a shot at getting a seat on the romantic patio; larger drinking parties should shop elsewhere.

76 Fourth Ave., at Bergen St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-643-2273
Outdoor hours: Daily 3 p.m.–4 a.m.
Brick apartment buildings rise up around the pub’s walled-in garden patio, their windows overlooking drinkers below. Loyalists come to appreciate a rotation of 25 reasonably priced exotic draft beers. The popcorn is always free, as is the Friday-through-Sunday hot-dog-and-hamburger barbecue, and there always seem to be a few empty tables and chairs both inside and out.

335 Bowery, at 3rd St.; 212-505-9100
Outdoor hours: 7 a.m.–midnight
The new Bowery Hotel’s lobby bar has a lovely, small patio that’s officially the domain of hotel guests—and, to keep it that way, reserved placards are placed on most of the low, candlelit tables and couches. During the day, the spot is quiet enough for you to attempt entry by smooth-talking the maître d’. Eight-dollar Heinekens buy you the pleasant atmosphere and an attractive wait staff that stay friendly even as the crowd outside grows to capacity around midnight.

29-19 24th Ave., nr. 29th St., Astoria; 718-274-4925
Outdoor hours: Weekdays 5 p.m.–3 a.m., weekends noon–3 a.m.
New York’s last true beer garden is worth a visit to Astoria. Amid an unpretentious parklike atmosphere with row upon row of wooden picnic tables, wash down kielbasa and sauerkraut ($8) with $14 pitchers of frothy Czech beers like the smooth pale lager Staropramen. Those with groups of twenty or more should arrive closer to noon than 5 p.m. on weekends to get a prime table under a shady tree.

500 E. 30th St., at the East River; 212-683-3333
Outdoor hours: Mon.–Thurs. 4 p.m.–midnight (or earlier), Fri.–Sun. 2 p.m.–midnight (or later)
Perched atop the crusty Water Club restaurant, the Crow’s Nest has a front-row view of the East River, making it feel like the upper deck of a cruise ship. (The hardwood floors, white railings strung with lightbulbs, and porthole windows contribute to the effect.) Whether on a weeknight, when a youngish, after-work khakis crowd dominates, or weekends, when a mix of locals and tourists man the deck, the Crow’s Nest rarely overflows. Even small groups won’t have trouble finding a table in the sun or under an awning.

Harlem's new Hudson River Café.  

697 W. 133rd St., nr. Riverside Dr.; 212-491-9111
Outdoor hours: 5 p.m.–2 a.m.
The brand-new Hudson River Café joins Dinosaur Barbecue and Fairway market on a gritty stretch of West Harlem. There are two large, sparkling outdoor patios—a ground-level deck with views of the Hudson and a two-level dining terrace. The expensive drinks (a mojito costs $10) and attractive staff make the place feel like a poolside restaurant in Miami. For now, the bar is busy but not overrun; groups arriving at peak hours (7 to 9 p.m.) on the weekend shouldn’t wait long for an outdoor table.

Reporting by Amy Braunschweiger, Nicole Davis, Nicole Hunt, Carol Vinzant.


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