20 of the Best Patios in Dallas | Dallas Observer


The 20 Best Patios in Dallas

Picking just 20 patios in Dallas is a real challenge, but we buckled down. Enjoy al fresco dining and drinks at these establishments — some beautiful and others offbeat, but all worth a visit.
Thunderbird Station in Deep Ellum is always a great time.
Thunderbird Station in Deep Ellum is always a great time. Kathy Tran
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Here's the thing: Dallas has long known how to patio. Yes, we sloth through some miserable summers, and winters can get quite dicey, but between those spaces are many lovely days. And for decades Dallas restaurateurs have capitalized on al fresco dining, knowing that margaritas and burgers somehow just taste better with the sun shining on your face.

We have chosen 20 of Dallas' finest patios, even though there are so many more worthy of mention. This is a mix of new and old, and if you can't find one of your favorites, check out our rooftop dining list before you throw hands.

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The beer garden at Dot's Hop House.
Mikel Galicia

Dot's Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard

2645 Commerce St.
This 10,000-square-foot, pooch-friendly place is one of the premier spots in Deep Ellum to enjoy a well-crafted cocktail or a cold brew from the 99-tap beer menu. The owners of Dot's Hop House rescued the grill from the old Club Schmitz near Love Field after it closed in 2014, giving the burgers extra grit and character. Get a side of duck-fat cheese fries to go with that burger. Service is consistently on point and the music (which is a mesh of genres, but generally crowd-pleasing) is loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to drown out the riveting conversation from your tablemates — the Goldilocks belt of noise. They host trivia on Mondays, which is nice because Mondays can be so lame.

Smoky Rose

8602 Garland Road
Smoky Rose has a lot of things going for it, including its Tex-Que-inspired menu (think brisket queso) and its huge courtyard patio that's always a good time. But the main thing is that you can spend less than $25 for a couple of drinks and appetizers during happy hour (Monday – Friday, 3–6 p.m.). We love that. Draft beers, house wines and favorite cocktails are just $6, as are nachos, brisket queso, wings and sliders. It's just across the road from the Dallas Arboretum and there's valet parking (tips only) and live music on occasion. It's best to snag a reservation.

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The patio at Desert Racer is the quirky uncle living in the desert that you never had.
Taylor Adams

Desert Racer

1520 Greenville Ave.
Ever have the urge to peel out on your dirt bike and hit the desert dunes? Neither have we. But you can get an idea of what that might be like at Desert Racer. It's not a restaurant as much of a theme, like your quirky uncle's place. The huge walled-in courtyard has a retro camping days vibe with some lounge-like seating. Happy hour offers $5 drinks and bites, and the cheeseburger is excellent, as is anything with the smoked chicken (like tacos, flautas or nachos). There are TVs all around and some games to play, including foosball, with signs for parents to mind their children. Appreciate that.

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Truck Yard upgraded its patio recently.
Kathy Tran

Truck Yard

5624 Sears St.
After a $2 million nip and tuck job earlier this year, the Truck Yard is better than ever: additional weather-friendly patio space, fire pits and new bathrooms. Here you can enjoy a beer from Second Rodeo Brewing, whose brew boss, Dennis Wehrmann, comes from a long line of German brewers. The menu keeps things simple with hot dogs and cheesesteaks (some of the best, mind you) and nachos. There are also some food trucks on site. One thing about this spot: no TVs. Here they prefer you interact with humans.

Tequila Social

3100 McKinnon St.
The Katy Trail has a new boozy tenant. Tequila Social is in the McKinnon Building in the Harwood District; park in the garage and look for signs to the restaurant. The indoor dining room has a full bar, and beyond that is a 10,000-square-foot, West Texas-inspired patio with seating for 200 people and plenty of misters and fans to keep things cool in the warmer months (and surely heaters for the winter). Check out happy hour (as we did, recently), Monday through Friday, 3–6 p.m.

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Escondido's large bar goes both ways: indoor and outdoor.
Courtesy of Escondido, Photographer Kathy Tran

Escondido TexMex Patio

5950 Royal Lane
Patio is part of the name here so they're really leaning into it. Here you can get large plates of gratifying Tex-Mex and strong drinks, all propped up with the signature spot-on service that all of owner John Alexis' restaurants offer. Escondido has two patio spaces; the one with bar seating is the real sweet spot. Get a frozen mango margarita and let the day drift by. They take reservations (you can specify the patio) but also leave tables for walk-ins.

Ozona Grill & Bar
4615 Greenville Ave.
Ozona's massive patios are a quintessential Dallas scene. From fans and misters to fireplaces, every season is covered. On the weekends, the bloody mary bar is lush with options. The burgers are great, and don't miss the house-made onion rings. They recently added a massive new 14-foot LED screen outdoors that we think you might be able to see from an airplane. Happy hour runs Sunday (not a typo) through Friday, 4–7 p.m.

Uptown Pub

3605 McKinney Ave.
If you're driving up McKinney Avenue on a nice day and see the patio crowd at Uptown Pub, you'll get big FOMO. They're always out there having fun in the sun, while you're trying to adult. But don't adult. Stop and have a drink. The vibe at this 100-year-old-house-turned-pub is always chill, the beer is cold and the service is friendly. Start your tab at the bar.

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House

1154 Peavy Road
Not only does Goodfriend in East Dallas have one of the best burgers in the city (Anthony Bourdain-inspired with house-ground beef), they also have a great dog-friendly patio. The service is no-nonsense and fast. It's a little bit divey but also a touch hipster. The music is more than an afterthought with some surprising deep cuts.

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Katy Trail Ice House.
Kathy Tran

Katy Trail Ice House

3127 Routh St.
The Katy Trail Ice House is a massive tree-shaded beirgarten along the Katy Trail, which means you can sit there and sip a beer and think about that time you tried jogging. (Coulda thrown a rock further.) A bad time is just not to be had here. Service is so good for such a large space; each section, even on the patio, has its own dedicated server who's always hanging around while runners (the good kind) bring food and drinks out. Summer and winter, and every space in between, is fun out there. Got get some fresh air and think about that time you almost ran.

The Old Monk

2847 N. Henderson Ave.
This small but mighty patio in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood has old bones; it's been around for more than 25 years. If you prefer to sip on a draught European or Belgian beer while enjoying a formidable burger, The Old Monk is your home. Also here: some of the best fish and chips in the city. It's within walking distance of two sister pubs: Skellig and Spider Murphy's, each with its own good patio scene.

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Views from the patio at Ryder Cup Grille inside the Omni at PGA Frisco.
Courtesy of Ryder Cup Grille

Ryder Cup Grille at Omni PGA Frisco

4341 PGA Parkway, Frisco
We don't head this far north often, so when we do it's for good reason. This is one of the new restaurants at the massive PGA development in Frisco. The Ryder Cup Grille inside the Omni has county club vibes but the views from the patio are the real draw here. Tables overlook the new Fields Ranch golf course and a vast open vista. If your MO is a touch escapist, try the new Ryder Cup Grille. No putting required.

Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ

1950 Market Center Blvd.
Don't sleep on the barbecue at Ferris Wheelers; it's legitimate despite any other hokey-ish features — e.g., a Ferris wheel. The large outdoor space fits almost 1,500 of your closest friends, but it really gets that busy only when there's live music. During lunch and dinner, dozens gather at the picnic tables and bar for tender slices of brisket and cold drinks. They also host Cowboys watch parties, sound on.


308 N. Bishop Ave.
Paradiso is a summer dress on a sunny day. Square in the middle of the Bishop Arts District, the tree-shaded courtyard is tucked away from the street so that all the parking tussles just melt right away. The one-page menu has pizza, pasta and a few Mediterranean dishes, plus there's a whole separate menu for brunch, which is, honestly, what Paradiso was built for. You can bring the girls here, Mom or a date. It's a lovely escape.

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Cold Beer Company's spacious courtyard.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Cold Beer Company

3600 Main St.
Cold Beer Company hides just outside of Deep Ellum a bit on the down low. We haven't pulled out the tape measure, but it seems like there's more space outdoors than inside. The beer list is large (24 on draft, 36 cans) and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich helps soak it up. It's no frills here. Just come hang out and have a drink. Maybe watch a game. End of Tweet.

Thunderbird Station

3400 Commerce St.
Thunderbird Station is a Dallas gem. Just outside Deep Ellum, this bar wants to be an amazing restaurant when it grows up, serving retro hits like Sloppy Joes, bologna sandwiches and Frito pies. Drinks are inspired by vintage treats like the Peel Out, a Push-Up Pop-inspired cocktail with vodka that is only $5 during happy hour on weekdays, 4–7 p.m. Wednesday is Mexican Pizza night (a la Taco Bell). The large patio often hosts local markets and DJs for a bona fide good time.

Saint Ann

2514 Harry Hines Blvd.
We can't really talk about patios in Dallas without including Saint Ann. This is really more of a gardenscape made for leisurely meals with friends, with live music on occasion. It all adds up to something pleasant even when the weather isn't. The menu, including brunch, is Americana. There's a prix fixe dinner menu Wednesday through Saturday for $35. Try the $22 carafes of white or red wine sangria on Sangria Wednesdays. And why isn't Sangria Wednesday a national holiday?

Cafe Madrid

4501 Travis St.
Cafe Madrid somehow captures an old-world charm that is impossible to invent and hard to find in these parts. If you can't book a trip to Spain, come here for authentic Spanish tapas while sipping sangria on the patio. This is not a patio to be "seen" but a place to absorb and relax. Check out the flamenco dances every first Friday.

Chelsea Corner

4830 McKinney Ave.
Chelsea Corner has a large climate-controlled patio, with plenty of TVs, astroturf and lounge-ish seating made comfy by plenty of fans and misters (or heaters when needed). The menus are all seasonal and the energy is always good. Happy hour (Monday – Thursday, 4–6:30 p.m., and Friday, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.) includes a variety of craft beer for $6 and cocktails for under $9.

Lower Greenville Ave.

This is a bit of a copout because, well, we can't pick just one. Lower Greenville Avenue has matured into a lovely stretch of restaurants and bars, many with rooftops and patios that offer fantastic food and even better beverages. Large trees dot the neighborhood for shade and ambiance. There's always a just-right amount of foot traffic to keep it bustling and fun. From Vietnamese bites to pizza, ice cream and fajitas, stroll along Lower Greenville and take your pick of fantastic patios to enjoy. 
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