After a couple of false starts, the winter coats are in storage and sidewalks are teeming with chairs again. Celebrate the return of warm weather at these al fresco spots.
North River Lobster Boat
Really commit to embracing the natural life by taking to the sea (at least for 45 minutes) on this three-floor floating lobster shack. Reopening on May 1 after a successful launch last year, it’s added 150 outdoor seats and expanded its bars, and you can continue the party at a new Pier Bar with cocktails and waterfront seating. And it’s not just a booze cruise — you’d be missing out on one of the best lobster rolls in the city, though we can’t yet vouch for the newest menu item: lobster ice cream.
820 Washington St.
Putting tables on the narrow sidewalk in front of your restaurant is fine, but red-hot, coastal Italian spot Santina has extended the ambiance of its breezy decor to its new outdoor area. Wear your biggest sunglasses for lunching under massive striped umbrellas, served by waiters dressed like cabana boys, and pretend you’re on a beach an ocean away.
848 Washington St.
With a change of the seasons comes a new iteration of The Standard, High Line’s outdoor square. For spring and summer they’ve packed up the ice rink, hauled out their patio chairs and filled their pitchers with large-format cocktails (we’d like to swim in the Chica Margarita whether or not it’s Cinco de Mayo) and a Mediterranean menu heavy on seafood.
173 Morgan Ave., Bushwick
Is there any other genre of food that just doesn’t taste as good indoors as barbecue? Park your butt on one of the newly reinstated outdoor benches at this barbecue joint/beer hall to smell the smokers and hardwood-burning grills making your Carolina-style plates of whole hog, Lucifer’s Chicken Legs and a worthy side dish of sweet potato waffles.
Hudson Garden Grill
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
Stephen Starr Events’ newest restaurant is already at one with nature. Newly opened inside the New York Botanical Garden’s Ross Conifer Arboretum, most of its 200 seats are on a terrace. The menu is new American — there’s even an In ‘N Out-style burger — and ranges from light breakfast to afternoon tea and more substantial dinner fare. Look for even more options from May 16 with the opening of “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life,” a solo exhibition of her work. Hudson Garden Grill will offer a special prix fixe menu related to the exhibition, as well as an outdoor tequila bar and taco truck serving dishes inspired by Kahlo's own recipes.