Nothing beats sipping a drink or enjoying dinner al fresco. Fresh air seems to make whatever you are eating or drinking taste better. A quick Twitter survey revealed quite a list of what people consider to be the Triangle’s best outdoor dining spots. Here are some highlights:
1. Outdoor dining with a view is always popular. The newest addition is the resurrected Hibernian Irish Pub and Restaurant (311 Glenwood Ave., hibernianpub.com). After a fire last year, the pub reopened in February as a two-story restaurant and bar with rooftop seating overlooking the popular Glenwood South nightlife area. Other noteworthy downtown Raleigh bars or restaurants with a view include the rooftop bars at The Raleigh Times Bar (14 E. Hargett St. raleightimesbar.com) and Busy Bee Cafe (225 S. Wilmington St., busybeeraleigh.com) and the patio outside Boylan Bridge Brewpub (201 S Boylan Ave., boylanbridge.com).
2. One of the most recommended spots in Raleigh was The Station Restaurant and Bar (701 N. Person St., stationraleigh.com). Diners can sit at the patio’s U-shaped brass bar, at one of the long communal tables or, if they are lucky enough on a chilly evening, at one of two prime tables in front of outdoor gas fireplaces. (If The Station’s patio is packed, check out the outdoor seating at nearby Wine Authorities (211 E. Franklin St., wineauthorities.com) or Quality Grocery (701 E. Lane St., qualitygroceryoakwood.com).
3. Moving out of downtown Raleigh, two suburban destinations in North Raleigh were among the favorites: North Hills and Lafayette Village. At the North Hills shopping complex, people loved Vivace (4209 Lassiter Mill Road, vivaceraleigh.com) and Mia Francesca Trattoria (4100 Main at North Hills St., miafrancescaraleigh.com). At Lafayette Village, diners enjoy sitting outside at Village Grill (8470 Honeycutt Road, villagegrillraleigh.com) and Vinos Finos y Picadas (8450 Honeycutt Road, vinosfinosypicadas.com).
4. Hidden outdoor seating spots are also popular, which means you may not know they exist and often cannot see them from the street, or through a dense screen of bamboo in the case of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill. Among the popular hidden outdoor patios: Raleigh’s Sitti (137 S. Wilmington St., sitti-raleigh.com) and in Chapel Hill, Jujube (1201 Raleigh Road, jujuberestaurant.com) and Crook’s Corner (610 W. Franklin St., crookscorner.com). And while you can’t really eat out there, Lantern restaurant (423 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, lanternrestaurant.com) has one of the best tucked-away places to have a drink or something to eat in its small garden outside the bar entrance.
5. Moving over to Durham, do not miss these lovely patios: Guglhupf (2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., guglhupf.com), Dos Perros (200 N. Mangum St., dosperrosrestaurant.com) and Vin Rouge (2010 Hillsborough Road, vinrougerestaurant.com).
6. Finally, three of my favorite spots: In Raleigh, the Player’s Retreat, (105 Oberlin Road, playersretreat.net) and Humble Pie (317 S. Harrington St., humblepierestaurant.com), which has recently renovated its outdoor patio and tiki bar, and Durham’s Geer Street Garden (644 Foster St., geerstreetgarden.com). The latter is so popular that owner Andy Magowan often tells people to send an advance scout who can get there early to grab one of the outside tables. But no worries if you can’t, Magowan said, the wait is no longer than about 45 minutes.
Weigl: 919-829-4848; Twitter: @andreaweigl