- Lesli Peterson For the AJC
The days are longer and warmer, calling for al fresco drinks and dining. It's patio weather, people. Don't park yourself in the same old seat each week; try something new. These 10 patios are tucked away from view by the average Joe, with a little something special for your enjoyment. And hey, let's keep them just between us, OK?
10 Degrees South. The back room of 10 Degrees South surpasses the typical patio experience and invites you into a South African oasis. Comfortable sofas and safari-style touches call you to relax and unwind. Enjoy live music Wednesday – Saturday or half-price bottles of the best South African wines on Mondays. If South African cuisine is a new adventure for you, don't worry. Affordable small plates tempt you to try the best of the region. www.10degreessouth.com. 4188 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta.
Atlanta Grill. Wrought-iron railings and dancing lantern light frame the view of Peachtree Street on the veranda at Atlanta Grill. Try a cocktail like The Sazerac with absinthe or Lavender Bliss with gin, chamomile tea, orange juice, rosemary and lavender-lemon extract. Visiting for lunch? The view is made perfect with a Lobster Roll - huge tender pieces of seafood fill every bite. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/georgia/atlanta/dining/atlanta-grill. 181 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.
Einstein's. Round up your friends for an afternoon under the trees at Einstein's. Indulge in manchego fritters with a garlic-chili honey dip and $2 shorties while watching the crowds traffic to and fro along Juniper. If clever cocktails and scrumptious small plates don't transform you into a regular, the loyalty program just might. Accrue points for credit, with double points on Mondays. einsteinsatlanta.com. 1077 Juniper Street, Atlanta.
Empire State South. Sip coffee or drinks on the front lawn, or indulge in a succulent dinner in the quaint open-air seating area at Empire State South. If cocktails are your calling, pair them with a game of bocce ball on the outdoor court, or sit in the beach chairs as an onlooker. Feeling "outdoorsy" on the weekend? Brunch at ESS is not to be missed. www.empirestatesouth.com. 999 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.
no. 246. Sail right past the brick wall, over the handsome salvaged-wood floors and make your way to no. 246's Backyard. The name perfectly describes the atmosphere of this al fresco patio, complete with a shade awning, stringed lights and pingpong tables. www.no246.com. 129 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur.
Parish. You probably know The Brasserie, but you may have missed the patio at The Neighborhood Café. Rolling community picnic tables, cushy leather seating and exposed brick with industrial metals compliment gourmet sandwiches and lattes. Find a spot out of the sun and tucked under the roofline, or soak up some vitamin D in the open-air seating area. www.parishatl.com/p/the-neighborhood-cafe.html. 240 N. Highland Avenue, Atlanta.
Stone Soup Kitchen. When you enter Stone Soup Kitchen, you can't see the patio. Don't panic; just head to the back. The enclosed four-season patio allows sunshine to penetrate, with grand glass windows on two sides and a clear roof. Tropical plants and bright orange swags melt away the stress of the day. The food is fresh and locally-sourced when possible. Even carnivores will appreciate the vegan rancheros. stonesoupkitchen.net. 584 Woodward Avenue, Atlanta.
The Garden at Community Smith. Community Smith takes off its tie this year, loosens its collar and invites you to dine al fresco on their rooftop patio. Inspired by German Biergartens, you'll find craft beers on tap, cocktail creations and a bar menu with the same classy spin offered downstairs. Both table seating and conversation corners offer spectacular views of midtown for your spring and summer evenings. www.communitysmithatl.com/garden.html. 866 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta (corner of W. Peachtree & Abercrombie.)
The Optimist. Beach food classics taste best when noshed outdoors. Patio seating at The Optimist treats you to benches, lounge chairs and quaint dining tables, skirting a made-for-fun putt-putt lawn. Try east coast oysters, west coast oysters and everything in between. Grab a pitcher of Fish House Punch, and (mini) golf the night away. theoptimistrestaurant.com. 914 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta.