Patio season has arrived in St. Louis (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.
Rooftop Terrace Bar, St. Louis: Located on top of the seven-story Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop, the trendy Rooftop Terrace Bar offers views of the surrounding Delmar Loop entertainment district and, in the distance, the St. Louis skyline. The patio spans the entire rooftop and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. A full bar is available, as well as a special rooftop dining menu, so you can sip on a fruity cocktail and snack on fried green tomatoes and tofu tacos while you admire the hotel’s huge full moon replica – it’s the world’s largest man-made moon! –Stephanie Shepard
Boathouse Forest Park, St. Louis: Located right smack-dab in the middle of Forest Park, the Boathouse is the perfect place to grab a leisurely meal before hitting the Saint Louis Zoo, strolling through the museums or catching a summer show at The Muny. The patio offers a beautiful view – paddleboaters floating by in the lake offer a fantastic people-watching opportunity, too – and great food to match. Try the World’s Fair Dog; it’s a half-pound Angus beef frank with sweet pickled pepper relish. Wash it down with an ice cold Schlafly Boathouse Ale, and your afternoon is set. –Stephanie Shepard
Vin de Set, St. Louis: Following a trip to the Provence region of France, Paul and Wendy Hamilton of Eleven Eleven Mississippi opened Vin de Set in the restored Centennial Malt House. The seasonal, French-inspired fare is approachable, and the rooftop patio is charming. Grab a Croque Madame sandwich for lunch, or stop by during happy hour to nosh on a cheese plate and a glass from Vin de Set’s expansive wine list. Settle in and enjoy the lovely views of the surrounding Lafayette Square neighborhood, and, in the distance, The Gateway Arch. –Katlyn Moncada
The Royale, St. Louis: One of South City’s favorite hangouts, The Royale is a standby watering hole no matter the time of year, but its backyard patio is an absolute must in the warmer months. It’s laidback, cozy and comfortable – the perfect place to unwind after work or while away a few hours on the weekend. The food is seriously good grub, ranging from burgers and sandwiches to fish or brisket tacos. Perhaps the hardest decision you’ll have to make here is whether to order a local brew from the extensive tap list or one of The Royale’s excellent cocktails, like the Cherokee St. Margarita or the Pomegranate Punch. Then again, why not both? –Heather Riske
Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis: Gerard Craft’s Brasserie by Niche certainly has the concept nailed down, from the classic French fare (think onion soup, escargot, mussels and steak frites) to the space itself. In true brasserie fashion, the restaurant features sidewalk seating with a prime view of the bustling Central West End neighborhood. Settle in to one of the two-tops outside, order a foie gras terrine and you’ll be transported to Paris for the afternoon. –Heather Riske
Schlafly Bottleworks, Maplewood: With a massive awning covering the patio, the outdoor dining area at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood is the perfect place to enjoy all the perks of dining alfresco without getting totally toasted. You’ll find all the classic Schlafly brews here, of course, but the seasonal Summer Lager or Raspberry Hefeweizen are perfect thirst-quenchers in spring and summer. Local ingredients play heavily into the menu offerings, with everything from classic pub grub like pretzel sticks with Hefeweizen cheese sauce and chorizo nachos to heartier options like grilled rainbow trout, a pretzel-encrusted chicken sandwich and Cajun cavatelli with crawfish tails. Stop by on a Wednesday to stroll through the Schlafly Farmers’ Market, held in the parking lot from 4 to 7pm, to stock up on local, farm-fresh eggs, produce, meats and more before rewarding yourself with a cold beer and a delicious meal. –Stephanie Shepard
The Slider House, Rock Hill: With a mix of booths, high-tops and low-top tables, there’s plenty of seating inside The Slider House in Rock Hill. But when the weather cooperates, two glass garage doors open out onto a large patio outfitted with wooden tables and benches. The patio is even equipped with fire pits for those not-so-warm nights. It’s the ideal spot to nosh on the restaurant’s self-proclaimed “elevated bar food,” which, true to its name, features tons of mini burgers including beef, chicken, veggie and pork options. –Heather Riske
Atomic Cowboy, St. Louis: If you prefer your food with a side of Mexican flair, Atomic Cowboy is the spot for you. With plenty of outdoor seating, every spot offers a great opportunity to soak up the sun – or the moon. Acoustic performers often hang out on the patio, as well, to fill your ears with music as you fill your belly with the restaurant’s popular gaucho fries. Be sure to also try the Famous Cheeseburger Burrito, which contains Wenneman Meat Market beef, pepper Jack cheese and Atomic sauce, all wrapped up in a burrito instead of a bun. –Stephanie Shepard
Broadway Oyster Bar, St. Louis: Whether you’re in search of a fried oyster po’boy or just looking for somewhere to grab a drink after a Cardinals game, Broadway Oyster Bar is a St. Louis staple for a reason. Located in a historic old row building just a stone’s throw from Busch Stadium, the venerable watering hole encourages patrons to “leave your attitude at home.” Broadway Oyster Bar aims to give diners and imbibers a New Orleans-inspired experience, complete with live jazz and blues tunes, a Cajun- and Creole-heavy menu and a sprawling open-air patio that’s enclosed and heated in the winter months. –Heather Riske
Marcella’s Mia Sorella, Ballwin: Sure, it might not have breathtaking views of the Arch or the twinkling city lights, but the patio at Marcella Mia Sorella in Ballwin is still pretty charming. At the casual, family-friendly sibling of Trattoria Marcella, all pasta is made in-house, and pizzas – in flavors like Eggplant Parmesan – are baked in a brick oven. Even paninis get upscale twists – the local burger packs fontina cheese, housemade pancetta and lambrusco red onion jam atop a semolina sesame bun. You can’t go wrong with a pint of Peroni or a glass from the extensive wine list, but cocktails like the Town and Country (Stoli blueberry vodka, housemade basil lemonade) were made to be sipped under the shade of a bright red umbrella on the back patio. –Heather Riske
Photo of Rooftop Terrace Bar courtesy Moonrise Hotel, photo of Boathouse Forest Park by Gregg Goldman, photo of Vin de Set by Jacklyn Meyer and photo of Broadway Oyster Bar by Mabel Suen. 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.