's review of six outdoor drinking spots

With the weather (finally!) warming up in New York City, it’s time to take a look at some of the better outdoor drinking spots around town.  Today, I will look at spots where being outdoors is the primary draw.  Rooftop bars will not be included in this post.  I will write about them in a forthcoming entry.

Stone Street, Financial District, Manhattan: As someone once told me, “Stone Street is a little slice of Paris, right here in downtown Manhattan.”  There are nearly ten bars and restaurants along a one block, cobblestoned-paved section of Stone Street, tucked away amidst the canyons of Wall Street.  From April 1 through November 30, all the Stone Street establishments offer outdoor seating for food and drink.  It’s a great place to spend a few hours after work with colleagues or enjoy the afternoon sun on a weekend during brunch time.  Outdoor seating is available until 11pm every night.

Water Taxi Beach Bar, South Street Seaport, Manhattan: Located on the Northeast corner of Pier 17, this is the second location of the Water Taxi Beach empire (their original location is situated in Long Island City, Queens).  There are picnic tables and plenty of standing room on actual imported beach sand.  A limited beer and food menu awaits patrons.  The view north of the three bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg) is breathtaking.  You can also admire Brooklyn Heights to the east.  One word of caution, this place has been known to charge a cover fee for entrance on certain nights.

Chelsea Brewing Company, Chelsea Piers, Manhattan:  Sit outside by the docked boats to enjoy the sunset.  Or, during a sunny afternoon, watch the boats go by on the Hudson River.  The Chelsea Brewing Company is the only brewery in Manhattan and offers good food at reasonable prices.

Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, Astoria, Queens:  This is one of the largest outdoor drinking spots in the five boroughs.  Dating back to 1910, Bohemian Hall is the last of the original Beer Gardens in New York City.  Find a spot at one of the dozens of communal tables in their outdoor area and get ready make new friends!  For beer, enjoy a mix of imports from Central Europe or local craft brews.  If you get hungry, there is an outdoor grill menu featuring a few types of sausages, burgers and other grill fare.  Everyone must go here at least once!

Studio Square, Astoria, Queens:  Not quite “down the street”, but in the same section of Queens as Bohemian Hall, Studio Square is a newcomer to the Beer Garden scene.  Opening in the spring of 2009, Studio Square has nearly two dozen beers on tap.  The food menu consists of sausages, burgers and some other good accompaniments to beer.  The outdoor area is sizeable, almost the same size as Bohemian Hall’s.  Make a stop here before or after you visit Bohemian Hall.

Loreley, Williamsburg, Brooklyn: Located just north of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, this is the second location for Loreley (their first is the one in the Lower East Side of Manhattan).  Small in size compared to Bohemian Hall or Studio Square, Loreley has a cozy outdoor area with about 15 communal tables.  Beers on tap number a dozen, nearly all are imported from Germany.  The food menu is fairly extensive, focusing on German fare.

Tell me what you think about these six spots!  What are your favorite outdoor establishments?  Please leave a comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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