Patio season has arrived in Kansas City (finally!), and there’s really only one way to celebrate. On a beautiful, sunny day or a warm summer night, head to a spacious patio to grab a cold beer and catch up with friends.
Aep, Kansas City: One of the things that Aep, the new regional Thai restaurant on 39th Street, inherited when it opened in the former Thomas location was a fantastic rooftop patio. To the east, you’ll enjoy colorful views of 39th Street, and to the west you’ll marvel at the space-age look of the new Kansas University medical buildings that are nearing completion at 39th Street and State Line Road. The former patio furniture has been replaced with new tables and chairs, and chef-owner Jakob Polaco is considering creating a special menu just for rooftop revelers. –Jenny Vergara
Gram & Dun, Kansas City: Gram & Dun’s spacious patio ranks among the best on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City to relax, dine, drink and people-watch. Guests gather on modern outdoor furniture in cozy nooks, bar side on stools or at highly sought-after tables. Chef Nathan Nichols’ happy-hour eats include beef-fat fries and Not-So-Standard Potato Chips served with a sauce flight of gochujang mayo, gold sauce and smoked romesco. Oysters on the half-shell served with ginger-jalapeño-lime mignonette, as well as French onion dumplings with Gruyère and housemade brioche, also rise above standard bar fare. Classic cocktails, wine and craft beer on tap at the indoor-outdoor bar make it enticing to forget about life for a brief spell. –Pete Dulin
The Westside Local, Kansas City: The Westside Local’s patio is the type that you find often in New York, but – let’s face it – is pretty rare around Kansas City. It’s a comfortable but relatively cozy space, enclosed on all sides by the restaurant itself and the property’s concrete and wooden fencing, and just a dozen or so long picnic tables for guests complete the urban beer-garden feel. It’s a lovely, light and airy space, with greenery that fills out as spring moves into summer. The plantings (including a small tree in the middle of the beer garden) pop during the day, and soft white string lights illuminate the space at night. The patio is the perfect addition to this hip, walkable neighborhood just on the outskirts of Downtown. –April Fleming
Il Lazzarone, Kansas City: If authentic Neapolitan-style pizza is what you’re craving, then Il Lazzarone is the place to go. One of the best parts about the restaurant’s patio – aside from the large pizza oven and matching bright red chairs that beckon – is the fact that it stays open until 1:30am from Monday through Saturday and until midnight on Sunday. This means you can get your favorite glass of wine and a pizza after a concert or show, and enjoy it outside on the patio. With plenty of outdoor seating underneath several large trees that provide the right amount of shade, Il Lazzarone will begin or end your night out on the perfect note. –Jenny Vergara
Char Bar, Kansas City: To call the beer garden at Char Bar in Westport a patio might be an understatement. Rather, it’s a playground for adults, complete with a fire pit, croquet court, bocce ball field, pingpong tables and a cornhole toss. The space also features plenty of picnic tables and a large outdoor bar. Sitting outside in the beer garden feels like the right time to order something messy, like a half-slab of ribs or jumbo smoked chicken wings to share with the table. Smoked meats, ice-cold beer and a couple friends to play games with will make you feel like you’re at the best backyard cookout ever. –Jenny Vergara
Brickhouse, Kansas City: A new owner has brought new life to a patio that has been rocking since its days as the Velvet Dog. Brickhouse is the new steward of the popular Martini Corner patio, which features new wooden picnic tables, more television screens and spruced up yard games, making it a more casual spot to socialize when the weather gets nice. Stop in during the week and take advantage of Brickhouse’s happy-hour specials, or enjoy a tall glass of Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Tank 7 to go with your K.C. Burger, which features chopped burnt ends, pepper Jack cheese, fried onions and barbecue sauce with french fries. Kick back with your friends and catch up on the game as the sun sets. –Jenny Vergara
Brooksider Sportsbar & Grill, Kansas City: Under new ownership, local institution Brooksider Sportsbar & Grill reopened as an indoor and patio destination that retains its Brookside neighborhood charm and friendliness. An outdoor bar, mounted flat-screen TVs displaying pro and college sports, abundant seating and a dog-friendly atmosphere add to the appeal. Classic fast-casual bar fare includes popular Taco Tuesdays (99 cents each), dry-rubbed grilled chicken wings, fried pig skins and World Series Nachos loading the bases with abundant toppings. Let’s go, Roy-als! –Pete Dulin
Brown & Loe, Kansas City: The hardest decision you’ll have to make at Brown & Loe is whether to end your day with happy hour or dinner or start your weekend with brunch before hitting the farmers’ market. Either way, the patio is the place to accomplish both of those goals surrounded by unique views of the Downtown Kansas City skyline and the bustling River Market. If you prefer a quiet place to land during the week for happy hour, this red-brick perch is the perfect spot to watch the sun set while enjoying cocktails from the bar and comforting and creative nibbles from the kitchen. Brunch on the weekend is a hustle-and-bustle affair with a comforting and cozy menu full of favorites like chorizo bread pudding, shrimp and grits and jerk chicken chilaquiles. –Jenny Vergara
Bella Napoli, Kansas City: This neighborhood charmer is cozy during the winter, packing customers from Brookside and beyond into every nook and cranny for lunch, dinner or any special occasion. But when the weather gets warm, owner Jake Imperiale sets tables and chairs underneath his signature royal blue and maroon striped awnings, which provide just the right amount of shade to make the sidewalk feel as intimate as any bistro in Rome. Over the years, the patio went from being a mere suggestion to a full-on must, now featuring handsome wood-panel walls that define the space and give the pop-up patio a sense of permanence. Come for lunch for an extraordinary soup and salad experience; for dinner, order a bottle of wine and meet friends for a pizza or pasta dinner. –Jenny Vergara
Stock Hill, Kansas City: Kansas City’s newest steakhouse also has a fabulous patio that takes advantage of the sun and shade provided by the modern façade of the glass and steel building. Handsome wood tables and mesh chairs are scattered on the patio right outside the front door of the restaurant. Order a steak and sides, and share it alfresco with your significant other on the patio. Add a couple of great cocktails from the bar, and you have yourself a great date in the making. –Jenny Vergara
Photo of Aep courtesy Aep, photo of The Westside Local by April Fleming, photo of Char Bar courtesy Char Bar and photo of Brooksider Sportsbar & Grill by Pete Dulin. This article appears courtesy of Feast Magazine. Feast Magazine is dedicated to broadening the conversation about food and engaging a large, hungry audience of food lovers.