Ah, fall is finally in the air! The humidity has finally subsided (besides the occasional rain), the heat has eased up, and after 5 p.m., the temperature is around a perfect 75 degrees--ideal for dinner al fresco.
Personally, I've been waiting all summer for this weather. It's my very favorite time of year in Atlanta, when you can actually enjoy relaxing on a fabulous terrace, sipping a chilled cocktail and munching on something equally as refreshing.
Many places in the city have great outdoor patios, and now that it's finally nice enough outside to use them, I strongly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity. Check out my favorite picks for outdoor dining options in Atlanta:
Southern Art & Bourbon Bar currently tops my list for several reasons: If you want to feel classy and fabulous, this is the place to be. First, the restaurant is located in the Intercontinental Buckhead hotel, and, um, it doesn't get much classier than that. Its elegance is reflected in everything, from the flower beds lining the patio, to the impeccable service, to the upscale southern cuisine of the talented master chef Art Smith (extra points if you got the "Top Chef" reference). Oh, and the view of Peachtree Street is pretty unbeatable.
Is there a better way to end the work week than with some ribs or pulled pork and an ice cold beer (or five)? Nope. That is, unless, of course it's on the awesome outdoor patio of DBA BBQ in the Virginia Highlands. The atmosphere is casual and not pretentious. The BBQ is some of best I've ever had (the pulled pork sliders and the lemon-pepper wings are to die for! And the cheesy corn-on-the-cob is worth an honorable mention). So grab some friends for happy hour and stay for dinner.
Sexy cocktails, an equally sexy crowd, all smack-dab in the middle of midtown. Located on Peachtree Street, between 11th and 12th, the patio at this NYC transplant (STK's sister, btw!) is pretty awesome. Noshing on the stuffed friend olives or the veal meatballs, you'll feel like you're truly in the middle of the concrete jungle (all the gorgeous midtown high-rises surrounding you may also have something to do with it)--without the steep price tags. Check it out after work or for brunch!
Barcelona Wine Bar
Want a little taste of Europe in the capital of the south? Between tasty tapas, delectable drinks, and the most adorable patio in VaHi, Barcelona's definitely got it. Its wooden, covered, patio spans the full length of the restaurant and looks oh-so-inviting on a cool fall afternoon. There’s an additional outdoor space—with family-style benches and a wood-burning fireplace—in the courtyard of the restaurant. Everything about this place screams authentic Europe: From its décor to the ingredients to the wine!
Gino's NY Pizza Bar
Love, love, love this place! It’s not quaint or fancy or swanky, but it does have amazing New York-style pizza, cheap beer, and a kick-ass patio where you can get all of your best friends together on a Friday night. The food is authentic and very reasonably priced—we’re talking $2 for a slice of pizza or $10 for a seafood pasta plate! And the patio is gigantic. And it’s close enough to all your favorite midtown watering holes. You can’t go wrong with Gino’s.