Discover Creative Outdoor Dining
Restaurants and bars around the country have gone crazy creative to thwart the cold and keep you safe.
Greenhouses, Dining Domes and Ice Boxes
San Pedro Café in Hudson, Wisconsin invites you to dine in outdoor greenhouses. The outdoor greenhouses are heated for the café’s Caribbean-themed food and cocktails. You can fantasize that you’re in a real greenhouse, or maybe sitting on an island. Reservations are required as these are in high demand.
Market Steer Steakhouse in the historic Santa Fe Plaza area in New Mexico has four climate-controlled Dining Domes on its patio, each seating up to four guests. Each dome has a HEPA air purifier, a heater and a Bluetooth speaker, so you can create your own playlist to go with dinner. The gorgeous setting sets the mood and tall adobe walls help keep the area warm and private as well.
Guests can cozy up in both private igloos and ice boxes on the Lookout Rooftop at Boston’s The Envoy Hotel. The newly designed ice boxes, each with individual Plexiglas-enclosed banquettes and comfortable couches, are warm and toasty, perfect for absorbing the views of the Boston skyline and harbor.
In San Francisco, a giant Christmas tree sets a holiday tone at The Vault Garden’s fully tented Winter Wonderland. The decked-out tent with its sparkly lighting is perfect for enjoying soul-warming dishes like Liberty Farm duck cassoulet or a winter-perfect tomato soup and grilled cheese combo. Watch their website for special whiskey and wine tastings.
Want to pretend you’ve gone to the North Pole? Hotel Jerome in Aspen has set up a Scandinavian-inspired après-ski tent in their spacious courtyard, an inviting space for enjoying a variety of booze and bites.
And, how about a personal pink tent? Bia in Rhinebeck, New York has individual heated tents designed for 2-5 people, a colorful shelter that will keep your entire bubble safe… and warm. Blankets are available upon request.
Rooftops definitely have an advantage when it comes to spaced-out dining. The Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront serves up a snowglobe-like igloo experience. Be sure to look up at the winter sky while you listen to tunes on a personal Bluetooth speaker and enjoy cocktails, snacks and charcuterie from the downstairs Catch 31 restaurant.
Cincinnati’s The View at Shires’ Garden gives you two ways to enjoy panoramic views of the riverfront. Dine in the heated terrace greenhouse, or if you score a private heated igloo, you’ll stay warm with blankets while you listen to your own personal music on a Bluetooth speaker and play board games.
Rooftop restaurant VASO at AC Hotel Columbus Dublin dishes out tapas and handcrafted cocktails to igloo guests. From the fur-covered chairs, with blankets provided, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Scioto River and downtown.
On Ponce City Market’s roof in Atlanta, the space at 9 Mile Station transforms into a woodland forest with seating overlooking views of Atlanta. Stay warm in a rink-side igloo before you go skating or enjoy dinner and drinks, with special hours designated for families.
Gondolas, Yurts, Huts and Flexible Spaces
You have to love what the town of Mountain Village in Colorado has invented for socially distant outdoor dining. Twenty extra gondola cars have been retrofitted into eight-person dining cars perfect for après-ski. And what’s even cooler, cuisine isn’t limited to just one restaurant because a variety of restaurants will occupy these updated gondolas. It’ll be as close to a private dining room as you can imagine. Cabins are heated and lit in the ceiling and under chairs, with leather-covered cushioned seats and wooden dining tables. Attire is après-ski, too, ski boots and all. You can also book a yurt, if a gondola isn’t available.
For more après-ski feel, custom-designed pub huts from 10 Barrel Brewing are roomy enough for your quarantine crew. Inspired by the warming huts that skiers know and love after a day on the mountain, the Bend, Oregon pub huts come kitted out with old school ski decor, kitchen-to-hut service and a centrally located fire pit.
Feel like pretending you’re in the middle of a movie set? That’s what LA’s Della Terra has created in this film city. With black and white murals of New York City, scenes of LA, and old black and white movie stills, founder Michael Simhai has built a flexible box for dining on the restaurant’s expanded patio area. Removable awnings cover the space if it rains and heaters that will hang from above to keep diners warm in the colder winter months.
The Liberty Bell Beer Garden in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is what they call a shape-shifting building. It transforms from a closed indoor structure in winter to an outdoor beer garden with glass ceiling panels and side walls retracting back during nice days. Serving a menu from Liberty Bell Gastropub, the 7600-square-foot space makes sure you’ll have a great time no matter the weather with fire pits, TV screens and socially distanced patios, too. weather or season.