Food & Drink

The best restaurant patios in DFW

Ellerbe Fine Foods’s patio is the perfect place for a spring evening, glass of wine and a great dinner.
Ellerbe Fine Foods’s patio is the perfect place for a spring evening, glass of wine and a great dinner. Zuma Press

Five future Tarrant patios

HG Sply Co.: The original Dallas location of this paleo-centric restaurant has been praised for the view of the Big D skyline from its rooftop bar. The Fort Worth location, due soon at the WestBend development off University Drive and near the Trinity River, will have a wraparound patio that will be impressive in its own way.

Cork & Pig Tavern: Felipe Armenta restaurants (Pacific Table, Press Cafe) tend to have cool patio spaces. When he opens Cork & Pig in the old AF+B space in West 7th, he’ll add a patio there — catacorner to Social House, which has one of West 7th’s most hopping patios.

Piattello Italian Kitchen: Clay Pigeon Food and Drink chef/owner Marcus Paslay, who announced this second Fort Worth restaurant this week, plans to have an extensive patio when this Italian joint opens in the fall in the Waterside development in southwest Fort Worth.

Taverna Rossa Southlake: In a way, Southlake’s eclectic restaurant/retail center Park Village is one big patio, with a multicolor-lighted fountain spraying artfully near the already opened RA Sushi and not far from other recent additions such as Malai Kitchen and Luna Grill. Taverna Rossa (full name Taverna Rossa — Craft Pizza & Beer), due to open in early April, promises to add a 1,500-square-foot patio to the outdoor scene.

Truck Yard: The coolest food park in DFW is Dallas’ Truck Yard — it really does feel like someone’s lively back yard, and there’s even treehouse seating. And owner Jason Boso recently announced that he plans to open a Fort Worth location in the fall on White Settlement Road, not far from a Trinity River trailhead. Bonus: It looks like the parking at the Fort Worth one will be much easier.

Five new Dallas patios

Mudhen Meat and Greens: Restaurant guru Shannon Wynne has a knack for patios (Fort Worth’s Bird Cafe, Flying Saucer and Rodeo Goat), and that continues with this new restaurant in the Dallas Farmers Market, which has both a gardenlike, dog-friendly enclosed patio and a more porchlike patio near the main entrance. 900 S. Harwood St., Dallas. 214-698-7000;

BrainDead Brewing: Shannon Wynne’s son, Sam, who left the Rodeo Goat fold to start this Deep Ellum brewpub, inherits his father’s flair for outdoor spaces with a picnic-table-festooned elevated patio that’s a mob scene on Saturday afternoons. Lots of house brews to drink while you’re outside, or maybe you can just stuff yourself with BrainDead’s already legendary Coma Burger. 2625 Main St., Dallas. 214-749-0600;

Wayward Sons: A dining favorite of Dallas-based contributor Teresa Gubbins, this spot on busy Lower Greenville has a gravel-topped patio that overlooks the restaurant’s garden, which is the source of many of the vegetables served there. 3525 Greenville Ave., Dallas. 214-828-2888;

Pints & Quarts: On Ross Avenue just before you enter the trafficky madness of Lowest Greenville, Pints & Quarts comes from Brooke Humphries of Barcadia fame, who opened this retro-looking bar/burger/hot dog/etc. joint in an old tire shop in spring 2015. (There’s even a nod to Fort Worth on the menu: the Funky Town burger.) Although we’re usually averse to patios near traffic, there’s something very urban about sitting at Pints & Quarts picnic tables in the middle of the city. 5354 Ross Ave., Dallas. 214-821-3494;

The Goat Ranch: It’s a bar. It’s a driving range. It’s a concert venue. It’s all those things. It doesn’t just have flags for target golf — it has broken-down trucks and even a sculpture of a guy with a 100-yard marker on him. It has 32 Texas beers on tap and it hosts food trucks. And it has this line on its website: “Members may use either a golf club, baseball bat, hockey stick, tennis racket, or their own arm to play on the field at The Goat Ranch. We call these the ‘tools’ for the game that we invented for members may play.” Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy would approve. 4000 Ash Lane, Suite 103, Dallas. 214-293-3107;

The Alfresco Hall of Fame

Sundance Square Plaza: This is really one big patio, packed during warm weather, and surrounded by the restaurant patios at Bird Cafe, Del Frisco’s Grille and Taco Diner. Watch the kids playing in the jet fountains — one of the plaza’s most popular features — or just sit at the tables and beneath the funky umbrella art pieces. This is where downtown meets, especially for big events like the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival in April. Bounded by Third, Fourth, Commerce and Houston streets.

Ellerbe Fine Foods (2016 inductee): One of the pioneers in the Magnolia Avenue renaissance, this upscale Southern-influenced restaurant also has a smallish but elegant curtained patio that gives it a special look in the south-side food scene. 1501 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth. 817-926-3663;

The Bearded Lady (2016 inductee): In a short time, this craft-beer bar has added to the sidewalk scene on Magnolia Avenue’s restaurant row. It has the front-yard patio to go with it, a tree-lined, umbrella-festooned hangout where you can soak up some sun rays (or moon rays) while exploring the extensive beer list. 1229 Seventh Ave. (at Magnolia Avenue), Fort Worth. 817-349-9832; Facebook: The Bearded Lady.

Live Oak Music Hall and Lounge (2016 inductee): Although the rooftop bar at rookie Varsity Tavern threatens to upstage it, the rooftop at this south-side music venue/restaurant is still our favorite place to get an elevated view of Fort Worth. 1311 Lipscomb St., Fort Worth. 817-926-0968;

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (2016 inductee): Talk about rising from the ashes: After a fire led to the closing of Tim Love’s Stockyards restaurant for a couple of months in 2013, it came back with a redesigned, tree-lined downstairs patio and a view of Saunders Park, where Marine Creek snakes through the Stockyards. 2406 N. Main St., Fort Worth. 817-740-8810;

Rodeo Goat Ice House (2016 inductee): One of our favorite burger stops also has an expansive, picnic-table-loaded beer garden. There’s also one at the newer Dallas location, which has the added advantage of having a spacious parking lot. But we’ll struggle with the West 7th parking and have our burgers and beers right here. 2836 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth. 817-877-4628;

Chadra Mezza and Grill (2016 inductee): A gem of a patio, in the back of the restaurant, it’s surrounded by hanging plants and feels like someone’s great back yard. Adding to that backyard feel: Dogs are always welcome. 1622 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth. 817-924-2372;

The Rustic (2016 inductee): Co-owned by Fort Worth’s Pat Green (who plays there fairly often), the Rustic calls its patio “Pat’s Backyard.” It’s like the lawn at Gexa Energy Pavilion and the patio at Woodshed Smokehouse had a baby. 3656 Howell St., Dallas. 214-730-0596;

Trinity Groves (2016 inductee): Dallas’ “dining theme park” is really one long string of patios, with restaurants lined up, one after the other, so that curious diners can cross from one patio to the next before finding a place to settle. Information center: 425 Bedford St., Dallas. 214-744-0100. Restaurant addresses vary; for a list, visit

Fred’s Texas Cafe (2016 inductee): After a makeover in 2012, the Fred’s patio grew, gaining new furniture and a cedar fence. But what we like most about this place is that no matter how much stuff grows up around it, you’ll still find funky folk drinking big, cold beers at the bar. 915 Currie St., Fort Worth. 817-332-0083;

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (2016 inductee): Long the best patio in downtown Fort Worth, both when it was the 8.0 and when the Saucer took over the space in 2012. Drive by on Third or Commerce streets and you’re likely to see crowded tables and hear live music amid all those trees. 111 E. Third St., Fort Worth. 817-336-7470;

Joe T. Garcia’s: The granddaddy of DFW patios is actually several lush patios that seem to stretch on forever, with strolling mariachis providing some entertainment. For more on Joe T’s, see our 2014 story about the popular space here. Cash and check only. 2201 N. Commerce St., Fort Worth. 817-626-4356;

Woodshed Smokehouse: Tim Love’s Trinity River hangout might be only a few years old, but go there on a warm spring or calm autumn Friday or Saturday night and you’ll know why it made the hall of fame so quickly. 3201 Riverfront Drive, Fort Worth. 817-877-4545;

Reata: The rooftop bar offers good views of ever-evolving downtown Fort Worth, while keeping you above the noise and bustle of the streets. The potent margaritas are a pretty good reason to hang out here, too. 310 Houston St., Fort Worth. 817-336-1009;

Central Market Southlake: Yeah, it’s a fancy grocery store, but it’s also got a cafe, with an adjacent patio that feels more like an expanded picnic area than something that’s right off a parking lot. Very family-friendly, as you can tell by all the kids on the playground. 1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake. 817-310-5600;

Glass Cactus: Wanna catch the pretty people partying, or just get a close look at Lake Grapevine? Go to this nightclub with a 13,000-square-foot patio/deck area in the sprawling Gaylord Texan complex. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. 817-778-2805;

Katy Trail Ice House: This bar and beer garden on Dallas’ Katy Trail took off fast after it opened in 2011, and has been featured on Bravo’s Most Eligible Dallas and Style’s Big Rich Texas, which gives you a clue about the kind of crowd it draws. Parking is … well, it’s best to use the valet. Or just walk up. It’s right on a trail. 3127 Routh St., Dallas. 214-468-0600;

Ozona Grill & Bar: This large, tree-shaded patio attracts a college crowd, which makes sense, since it’s near SMU. It’s been around longer than similar patios at the Woodshed and the Rustic, but it still shares their … rustic feel, even with all those attractive 20-somethings hanging out. 4615 Greenville Ave., Dallas. 214-265-9105;

Bar Belmont: Not only does the patio bar at the Belmont Hotel have the best views of downtown Dallas, it’s also just a short walk from Smoke, Tim Byres’ meaty restaurant at the hotel. (Byres’ other properties, Chicken Scratch and the Foundry, are not far away and also have good outdoor spaces.) 901 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas. 866-870-8010;

Piola Restaurant and Garden: Maybe “Hall of Fame” doesn’t apply to a hideaway a lot of people still don’t know about, but we’re putting Bobby Albanese’s small Cultural District spot here anyway, because its a mini oasis and the essence of outdoor dining. 3700 Mattison Ave., Fort Worth. 817-989-0007;

Lightcatcher Winery & Bistro: Another secret that deserves to be discovered by more people, this winery is so far west in Fort Worth that it almost feels like the Hill Country. Jazz from 3 to 6 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of the month, March through November. Dinner reservations recommended. 6925 Confederate Park Road, Fort Worth. 817-237-2626;

Lee Harvey’s: First of all, there’s that name. Then there’s that patio, which is larger than this popular dive bar’s interior space. There’s a stage for local bands, wooden tables, benches and fire pits, which come in handy on nippy winter nights. 1807 Gould St., Dallas. 214-428-1555;

Bolsa: This casual spot helped kick Oak Cliff’s foodie revolution into gear, and it has a comfortable patio with a mix of communal picnic tables and smaller tables for intimates and introverts. The food’s good — the cocktails are even better. 614 W. Davis St., Dallas. 214-943-1883;

Staff writer Bud Kennedy and correspondent Teresa Gubbins contributed to this report, which contains material from archives.