With this year's mild winter, it kind of feels like patio season never officially stopped in Dallas. But for those of you who were skittish about sitting outside in January (which does sound kind of weird), now you can don your sunnies in confidence while you scan the menu.
Let's be honest: When the weather is like it is now, we will find a place, any place, to sit outside. It doesn't even have to be pretty. But these 10 restaurants and bars not only recently(ish) increased Dallas' patio quotient, but they also meet the ambience requirements.
Back Home BBQ
It just feels right to eat smoked meats outside. The owners of Back Home BBQ knew that, so they added a patio to the front of the building when they took over the former Yin's Wok space in early 2015. With lights strung from the beams and kitschy Astroturf below your flip-flops, it's easy to imagine you're at a family cookout.
When it first opened, Blind Butcher's patio caused an uproar with nearby residents, who had previously complained about noise from the former Service Bar. But Blind Butcher draws a more mellow crowd, making the large patio a place to kick back and relax with a beer, while enjoying the gentle breezes that blow before the scorching heat takes over.
Eight Bells Alehouse
Expo Park isn't exactly known for its outdoor spaces; if you want to get some fresh air, you typically wander around Fair Park. But Eight Bells Alehouse addressed this lack by opening "the biggest patio in the area" and offering live jazz out there on Sunday nights to boot. This is a good place to chill, because it's not on a happening strip or surrounded by other patios.
Much like Eight Bells, you may not assume that El Bolero's location would be ideal for a patio. But the owners did a work-around with the Oak Lawn street corner, building a high wall and decorating the space with colorful tiles, twinkling lights, bright umbrellas, and a unique stone and grass patterned floor.
A wackier version of a bar and driving range, this new "entertainment destination" from the guys behind Bowlounge is supposed to be mainly about hitting odd targets with your golf ball. But because the range won't be fully finished until summer, it's time to focus your attention on the huge bar, which overflows to outside so you can watch all the weird action going down.
It claims to be Dallas' largest patio bar and lounge, and with 12,000 square feet, it's kind of hard to argue. Right across from the American Airlines Center, Happiest Hour boasts eight wines and more than 50 beers on tap, along with craft cocktails and delicious dishes. But those views!
The team propelling So & So's has turned this former Biergarten space into another patio-happy bar, one that is dog-friendly, features live music, and offers yet another way to people-watch the crowds milling around Henderson Avenue.
Pints & Quarts
The space at the corner of Ross and Greenville avenues lived as a tire shop for seemingly forever, but now the hot dog and hamburger mecca Pints & Quarts is staking out the spot. Relaxed and low-key, with great people-watching down the busy street, P&Q's patio serves as a terrific base for regrouping during Sunday Funday or happy hour-hopping.
True Food Kitchen
The partially covered, neon-colored patio at this Park Cities hot spot shelters ladies who lunch — and, sometimes, their kids — from the oppressive Dallas heat. Sip a signature "natural refresher" drink, and add some organic and gluten-free spirits to it if you're feeling sassy.
The bar and restaurant attached to, but separate from, the new Alamo Drafthouse in the Cedars doesn't just have an enviable built-in crowd; it also has a big second-story balcony that presents sweeping views of the downtown skyline to those sipping their craft cocktails.