Spring is not so much a season here in Boston as it is a bridge from the cold hell of winter to the hot sweltering oppression that is summer. Seemingly shorter every year, this time of bloom or bust is the perfect excuse for patio perusing. So I reached out to Marc Hurwitz, founder of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants, a master of social (drinking) media, and asked for his top choices of places to imbibe suds outside (see below).
Marc also happens to be something of an urban outdoorsman, leading groups on some amazing meandering walks around the Hub for the Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). Feel free to get off your ass and join him, because walking is good for your body. And your mind. Oh, and there’s usually a patio and cold suds waiting for you when you reach the end of one of his trots around town. That should be enough to inspire you to lace up your kicks and get out there. If not for your health then for the beer.
Cozy restaurant and bar with live music, great food, and a quality craft beer list. But its crown jewel is its “secret” patio, which can be accessed toward the back left of the space. Very private feeling and very mellow. And very much a place to blow the froth off a few from Atwood’s well-curated (and rotating) 24 draft lines. [877 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617.864.2792. atwoodstavern.com]
A real neighborhood spot that’s also a food nerd’s favorite, this slightly upscale American place has a patio out back complete with strings of lights, plants, and a fire pit. And while the beer list isn’t extensive, there’s still some great local beer here. Sipping on a DOT Ale 1630, brewed right in Dorchester, feels right. [555 Talbot Ave., Dorchester. 617.825.4300. ashmontgrill.com]
Its sidewalk patio isn’t exactly a thing of beauty, but the people-watching can be good, the food is solid (don’t miss the tater tots), and this is a place that has one of the best curated beer lists on the Cambridge side of the Charles River—without being overwhelming. It’s one of the first craft beer bars, and still tops in my book. [1667 Mass Ave., Cambridge. 617.547.1228. cambridgecommonrestaurant.com]
Sharing its space with the Milky Way Lounge, Bella Luna resides in a historic brewery building and has a funky charm inside, with food offerings learning toward Italian fare and fine options for beer. Its outdoor patio is the place to be in the warmer months, with the brewery’s huge smokestack shadowing the deck. [284 Armory St., Jamaica Plain. 617.524.3740. milkywayjp.com]
Much like Cambridge Common, the sidewalk patio here is almost an afterthought, but on a warm summer day, it’s a killer spot to explore an insanely extensive beer list of 30+ drafts that lean heavy on the Belgians. [1648 Beacon St., Brookline. 617.277.2880. thepublickhousebeerbar.com]