- Eileen Falkenberg-Hull For the AJC
You know which patios are your best bets for dining al fresco, but which are best for straight up people watching?
Le Bilboquet – Buckhead Atlanta's jewel box restaurant has delicious menu offerings that pair perfectly with watching as Buckhead residents and visitors walk from upscale shop to upscale shop and impatiently wait at the valet stand. www.lebilboquetatlanta.com. 3035 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta.
GRAIN – While you take advantage of their $1 oyster offerings, grab a seat on the shady patio out front to watch as West Peachtree Street businesses let out and the people parade begins. Add in a touch of the Tech crowd during the school year and there's plenty you won't be able to un-see. grain-bar.com. 856 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta.
Across The Street – The consummate neighborhood hangout, Across the Street gives patio sitters the perfect place from which to sip your margarita, eat your goat cheese enchiladas and observe as runners, walkers, and those being pulled by their pets make their way on the Freedom Park Trail. www.acrossthestreetatlanta.com. 668 Highland Avenue, Atlanta.
TAP – Consistently rated as one of Atlanta's best patios, TAP offers a view of the afternoon rat race like no one else in Midtown. Add in the fact that the patio is dog-friendly and their beer selection is always perfectly chilled and your 5 p.m. plans suddenly become much clearer. www.tapat1180.com/home.php. 1180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta.
Diesel – Not only does sitting on Diesel's patio afford you the opportunity to eat one of their burgers, you get to watch as VaHi live/work/play-ers go about their everyday lives. Also, Diesel is across from CVS, which gets it bonus people watching points. dieselatlanta.com. 870 N. Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta.
Hotel Indigo, The Lawrence and The Georgian Terrace Hotel – Whether you're just grabbing cocktails, noshing on an entire meal, or killing time while the rest of your party gets ready upstairs, these adjoining patios are where you want to be when, 220+ nights a year, The Fox Theatre has an event and the people parade begins. www.ihg.com/hotelindigo/hotels/us/en/atlanta/atlfx/hoteldetail. 683 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta. www.thelawrenceatlanta.com. 905 Juniper Street, Atlanta. www.thegeorgianterrace.com. 659 Peachtree Street NE.
Park Tavern – There really is nothing like watching the masses flock to Piedmont Park on the weekend. Park Tavern's patio is the perfect place for snarky, hushed commentary among close friends. www.parktavern.com. 500 10th Street NE, Atlanta.
Holy Taco – The ever-changing menu of Holy Taco is just about as good as its spacious patio which elevates diners just high enough above the East Atlanta Village to give the perfect surveying view of passersby. www.holy-taco.com. 1314 Glenwood Avenue SE, Atlanta.
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall – Do it up casual and spend your day eating grownup campfire food, sipping beer, and gawking at the thousands of people crowding the Beltline each weekend in various types of ill-fitting clothing and poor shoe choices. www.ladybirdatlanta.com. 684 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue NE, Atlanta.
Googie Burger – The Centennial Park restaurant offers a patio on which to sit and enjoy your burger and view. From their location on the southern end of the park you can observe the Fountain of Rings, tourists heading to the CNN Center who didn't realize it's uphill and plenty of police/citizen interaction. googieburger.com. 265 Park Ave W. NW, Atlanta.
And if you want to head indoors for some good people watching, check out this list of restaurants great for scoping out the scene.