Al Fresco San Franciscisco : 10 of the Best Patios for Indian Summer
It's here! It's finally here! After a super intense Fogust, a windy July and a freezing June--San Francisco Summer has finally arrived! I hope you've been saving up some sick days because the sun is shining, the beach is calling and it's supposed to be over 80 for the first time in over 100 days! Eeek!
As anyone will tell you, September and October are the best times to be in The City. The tourists have mostly cleared out, the skies are blue and clear, and even Ocean Beach can seem like paradise. Parks are full of people, even into the late evenings. People make every excuse possible just to sit in the sunshine for a little while. You can wear shorts and skirts and dresses, and dare to venture out without a light jacket in site. In the moment, it feels like it will last forever. But, don't be fooled! The week before Halloween, The City will get chilly, the wind will come back, and by November 1st fall will be in full swing.
Don't let this al fresco weather go to waste! San Francisco may be know for fog and an unforgiving breeze, but patios are tucked away in corners all over town. The Mission might be home to some of the most well known, but each neighborhood has its own little gem. I've rounded up 10 of my ultimate faves, but there are still a bunch I haven't made it too. Cheers to sunshine and good times!
This classic, gay-friendly dive bar on the border of The Mission and Bernal Heights has a huge outdoor patio full of tables and chairs, a stage, and gas heaters for when it gets a little chilly. Happy hour includes some great deals and beers on tap are $4. There's even a super friendly, very soft bar cat.
A sunny day is an amazing excuse to venture out to 24th Street and explore all the shops, murals and restaurants. Tucked away at the back of Haus Coffee is one of the best patios in the neighborhood. It's super sunny, there's plenty of seating and the high walls block the wind. The furniture has a diy-feel and is actually super comfy.
William Cross Wine Merchants
I know that I've been writing about this place a ton, but I'm seriously obsessed. It's walking distance from my house, and there are tons of amazing food options close by. This part of Polk Street is quickly becoming my go-to for everything from coffee to magazines, and I even started taking classes down the street at Pop Physique. William Cross has a rotating selection of beers and wine by the glass, and wine flights. If you're with a group grab a bottle or two (ask for a recommendation! The staff is super knowledgeable!) and head out back. There are little twinkle lights, but nothing fancy. It's just a great spot to catch-up with friends and drink wine.
It's hard to find a bar in the FiDi with a decent patio, but Hidden Vine not only has a little patio, but there's also bocce ball! It's perfect for coworkers to hang out after work, or to meet someone for a date. It doesn't get too loud, so you won't have to scream to be heard. The wine is good, and there are small plates if you get hungry.
Come for the beer. Stay for the food, and spend a long afternoon out back. There's a built-in bench area with a Moroccan vibe, and plenty of picnic tables. I love to head to The Sycamore to escape some of the hipster crowd on Valencia. The prices are reasonable and everything is tasty. Bring some friends and grab a board game!
Don't go to Fisherman's Wharf. Just don't. Instead, if you're looking for a bay-side retreat head to The Ramp. The bloodies are delicious and the view is amazing. If it's Sunday and it's brunch time, be prepared to wait. It gets buys here!
All Good Pizza
Pizza. Sunshine. Pizza. And this little gem is literally around the corner from Flora Grubb. And the pizza is really, really, really good.
El Techo de Lolinda
Make a reservation--it gets packed here. The rooftop view is totally worth it though! Wear sunscrean, or a hat because the sun can get intense. I love all the drinks here, and the food is a really good, non-traditional brunch. The best part is easily the view, which stretches all the way downtown. If you can, sit near the edge but try to get an umbrella. It can get hot up here!
Dynamo Donut & Coffee
Another amazing 24th Street option is Dynamo Donut. The food is solid, and the bathroom is a pink wonderland. The patio is open even when the restaurant stops serving food. Grab a coffee from the stand out front and venture into the garden. It feels like you're in someone's super nice backyard. It's amazing.
This is my favorite patio to hang out at for brunch or in the evening in North Beach. Or anytime, really. The view of Washington Square makes for great people watching, and the drinks are delicious. Also the Brussels sprouts. Always say yes to the Brussels.
Some extras worth mentioning:
Park Chalet, Biergarten Hayes Valley, Zeitgeist, Virgil's Sea Room, Flora Grubb, any of the cafe's in North Beach, Palm House, Perry's, Epic Steak, Mission Cheese, Foreign Cinema, Naked Lunch, Mission Rock Resort, Pier 23, and Trou Normand.
Any of the above are excellent choices, but all can and will get crowded on a nice day. Plan accordingly. Enjoy!