Every year about this time, San Franciscans sheds their layers and crave a little Californian lounging and imbibing in the out-of-doors. But because restaurants have to do a lot to keep those patios habitable during the other eleven and a half months of the year, the inner Bay Area doesn’t boast a bevy of outdoor dining and drinking options. Here we bring you some of our favorites, including a couple of newcomers, so that you can plan the next couple of nights accordingly. In our experience, heat like this never sticks around long.
This Sausalito hangout is one of the chillest and prettiest spots for sitting out on the Bay — even on days that aren’t so hot in the city because Sausalito generally bests us in that regard. Have a squid pizza and some vino and you’re golden. 1250 Bridgeway, Sausalito. See the listing.
This offshoot of Suppenkuche in Hayes Valley only barely made it open in time for the heat last year. And you should know that those pretzels are pretty tasty, the Oktoberfest brews go down easy, and they open at 3 p.m. 424 Octavia Boulevard at Linden. See the listing.
This little sixteen-year-old Marina spot always does a solid job with light, simple, Provencale-style Cal-Med fare, including Patty Unterman’s favorite spaghettini with San Marzano tomatoes and Genovese basil; and their bouillabaisse. The patio makes for a perfect spot on an unseasonably warm night. 3340 Steiner Street at Lombard. See the listing.
Still one of our favorite spots in town, this La Lengua mainstay has a cozy patio that’s as nice in the spring and summer (with heat lamps) as it is in Indian Summer. 3218 Mission Street at Valencia. See the listing.
The pool patio at the Phoenix is as L.A. as it gets in these parts, and on a warm summer night that’s a happy thing. 601 Eddy Street at Larkin. See the listing.
It is not always warm in Noe Valley, but when it is, the patio at this Spanish-by-way-of-Cali spot is terrific. Go for chef Brett Emerson’s excellent food, and stay for another glass of wine and a little breeze on your face. 1320 Castro Street at 24th. See the listing.
The reservation may be hard to snag, especially in fine weather, but do your best to sneak in early or late to this iconic Mission restaurant on a warm summer night. Maybe if you’re lucky they’ll be playing some Antonioni, or Cinema Paradiso, and you can feel transported to Europe in August. 2534 Mission Street at 21st. See the listing.
This downtown Berkeley spot is as great a place as any to have some beer and pizza and feel a little like you’re back in college. And those firepits are highly unnecessary, though still charming, in the heat. 2181 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley. See the listing.
Sure, the Beach Chalet is an option too on a fine summery day, but check out Oakland’s version, on the banks of Lake Merritt, which has a ton of outdoor space and a celebratory vibe. 1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. See the listing.
One of our absolute favorite patios in the Bay is this popular Provencale brunch spot near downtown Berkeley. With the avocado tree and all the lush herbs and plants, you really feel like you’re in Southern France, we swear. As for dinner, you should know they’re only open Thursday to Saturday. 2377 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley. See the listing.
A brand new entry to this al-fresco dining category is this formerly booze-only (mostly) hangout on the waterfront near China Basin. New owner Peter Osborne (MoMo’s, Pete’s Tavern) has done a hell of a job with the revamp, and there’s no better time of year to check out. Also, we hear, the Giants are doing well, so the mood over should be high. 817 Terry Francois Boulevard. See the website.
The back garden is small and much in demand, obviously, but try to get there early and grab it even on cooler nights. The pizza, as always, is pretty great, as are chef-owner Sharon Ardiana’s seasonal salads. 311 Divisadero at Page. See the listing.
One of the Castro’s better dining options has a patio which they’re only (technically) allowed to use until 9 p.m. But it’s a great and comfortable spot in all kinds of weather, but especially now. Our recs: a glass of rosé and that jalapeño-bacon pizza. 3583 16th Street at Market. See the listing.
They do a swell burger, a great lunch (the Provencale BLT with goat cheese is the bomb), and the $25 prix fixe at dinner is one of the best deals in town. We recommend their bouillabaisse, and the mussels. 941 Cole Street. See the listing.