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Ten Great Spots To Drink Outside

Carolyn Alburger | April 19, 2013 | Story Clubs and Bars

The weekend forecast is looking good, and it’s going to get even hotter next week! You know outdoor drinking is the name of the game, so the usual suspects, like Zeitgeist and Biergarten, are going to be slammed.

Here are ten other great spots to drink outside where: 1) You don’t have to order food to drink, and 2) There’s enough outdoor seating that your chance of intersecting with a ray of sunlight are pretty high.

1) A rooftop drinking lounge, plopped in the dead center of the Tender Nob, Jones is an urban oasis in every sense of the word. The most affordable cocktails are the $10 classics (aviation, sazerac, etc.), there are heat lamps to hug you the moment the sun begins to set, and you can go at 11 a.m. on Sunday for a sun-kissed outdoor brunch.

2) By now you have probably heard about the very good ($11) cocktails at Bar Agricole. But everyone doesn’t know that there is a rather large brick-floored, wood-walled, and plant-filled area built out in the front of the restaurant for you to sit and drink them in.

3) At first glance, Mayhem might just look like another very popular Mission Street bar. But the joint has an unprecedented bi-level back patio area, crowned by dreamy hillocks of AstroTurf. Walk into the bar, order the shandy, then proceed right on past the bathrooms to sun-filled bliss.

4) Strung with summery lights overhead, Central Kitchen’s courtyard fills your ears with the sound of its trickling water feature as you sip on a flute of bubbly. One of the more posh choices on this list, the outdoor space here makes a great beginning to a Saturday night out, or an evening of post-work winding down.

5) A hidden gem of Cole Valley, Finnegan’s Wake has a ping pong table and several picnic benches in back. This is the kind of place that sometimes gives you a surly attitude, but they also give you pickled string beans, olives and a celery stick on one of the best Bloody Marys in town. Bonus points: There’s a grill out back, that you can reserve if you call ahead.

6) Up until 7 p.m., you can bring the kids to Southern Pacific Brewing Company, where an ever-changing crew of house-brewed beers is always there for you. Built into a former machine shop, the bi-level, mezzanined space has so much seating it seems to never end, and—unlike many spots specializing in beer—they’ve got a full bar at your disposal. Take note: The menu is hit or miss, but the banh mi is a sure bet.

7) This huge Embaracadero-bordering patio at the Hotel Vitale’s restaurant, Americano, is a lovely perch for a classic Roman “spritz” (aperol-spiked prosecco) on a warm afternoon. Happy hour is Saturday through Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., so you can take advantage of $3 beers, $5 wines, and $5 cocktails on the weekends. They also have heat lamps, just in case.

8) A three-tiered, Renaissance-like fountain feels a little out of place in a courtyard in Jackson Square, but no one at Cigar Bar is paying attention to that. Sangria, Caipirihnas and Mojitios are always pumping out of the bar here and some sort of live Latin jazz usually has people feeling extra-buzzed. (See the music calendar here)

9) When it’s warm out, it’s hard to beat a margarita, and Tacolicious makes one of the best in town with the simple combination of good blanco tequila, fresh lime and agave nectar. The sun always seems to be heating up the Mission location’s 28-seat outdoor patio. Go early to snag a seat.

10) Huge all over Oregon, Rogue Ales’ southernmost presence is right here in San Francisco’s North Beach. Forty beers on tap, an unfussy atmosphere, and picnic-bench-filled outdoor seating make it a reliable staple on a sunny day. Sweetening the deal, you normally don’t have to fight huge crowds at the bar.

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