Just when you thought Cleveland couldn't possibly squeeze in another patio, somebody opens another one and proves us dead wrong. Blessed with more alfresco eating and drinking options than our already feeble livers can handle, our fair-weathered village on a Great Lake is primed for its best summer ever.
Just last year, Nano Brew in Ohio City — what that one guy at Eater.com called one of the "best new craft beer bars in the country" — dusted off the expansive back patio that for years was Garage Bar's signature feature. New beer hall-style picnic tables, lighting, landscaping, heating and, of course, a never-ending supply of over-hopped suds already is making this one of the busiest plots in town.
1859 West 25th St., 216-862-6631,
Going on two decades, Lopez Southwest Kitchen has been the place on Lee to sip margaritas beneath the open sky. Ever since chef Michael Herschman joined the team a few years back, we also can eat to our hearts' content beneath that open sky. While smaller than many current (read sprawling) patios, Lopez's is petite, elegant and just boisterous enough to be fun.
2196 Lee Rd., 216-932-9000,
Felice Urban Café is best known for its Craftsman-style home setting. But it's the outdoor bar, built within a converted wooden carriage house, that attracts diners all summer long. A covered patio adjacent to the garage bar means never having to say "let's eat inside" come spring showers. Bonus: The patio boasts great views of the restaurant's huge kitchen garden.
12502 Larchmere Blvd., 216-791-0918,
You can't mention the word "patio" in this town with some know-it-all chiming in with L'Albatros this and L'Albatros that. Okay, so we are those know-it-alls, who not only bring up this leafy urban retreat at ever opportunity, but also sit our butts down there as often as possible, too. This is outdoor dining at its finest, with sturdy tables, casual sofas, and a granite-topped bar.
11401 Bellflower Rd., 216-791-7880,
We've been fans of Tremont Tap House from the moment it opened. It was TTH, after all, that first and fully introduced diners to the gastropub concept, merging ambitious fare with a stellar craft beer list. Going on about seven years, this place – this patio – should be near the top of every Cleveland diner's list of alfresco eats.
2572 Scranton Rd., 216-298-4451,