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Essential Arlington Patios for Outdoor Dining & Drinking

Whether you’re after a low-key atmosphere, a busy people-watching spot, a buzzing beer garden, or a mouthwatering meal, Arlington’s numerous outdoor dining locations will satisfy.

Besides rooftop bars, Arlington’s patios are an essential way to break free from four walls, find your foodie fix and quench your thirst.

Outdoor Dining: See and Be Seen

People (and dog) watching is the favorite warm-weather pastime for outdoor diners in the Village at Shirlington, where restaurant after restaurant sets up outdoor tables along the pedestrian-friendly promenade. Diners can sit outside, soak up the sun and select from many restaurants ranging from Indian to Irish and Mexican. Many, such as Carlyle, Guapo’s and Copperwood Tavern, even have water dishes attached for four-legged dining companions.

Get noticed and “Patio Life” at Bar Bao in the Clarendon neighborhood, where one sweeping patio faces the Clarendon Metro station so you can enjoy bao buns and Asian pub grub while seeing everyone who is anyone. With DJ music to dance the night away, Bar Bao’s second patio is tucked away between two buildings, and as the evening progresses, a string of lights above slowly turns on to provide a perfect summery atmosphere for sake and sochu based cocktails.

The surrounding neighborhood of Clarendon is a sidewalk-dining haven. This bustling area means you’ll find everything from comfort fare (The Liberty Tavern) to a French brasserie (Lyon Hall), Balkan cuisine (Ambar) and fresh sushi (Sushi Rock) — all within Clarendon’s energized social scene.

Beer Gardens in Arlington

Looking for a place to kick back and enjoy a drink with friends? Look no further than the down-to-earth atmosphere of Westover Beer Garden, a local favorite. It started out as a tiny neighborhood market in the Westover neighborhood and has blossomed into a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. On weekends, live music takes the stage at the garden while guests sip on any of the several hundred beers and the traditional pub fare on the menu—much of it sourced from the on-site butcher shop.

two red bikes parked outside of Westover Beer Garden in Arlington
Westover Beer Garden

You can also expect cold beers at Continental Beer Garden in the Rosslyn neighborhood, along with bocce, cornhole, and picnic tables with pretty lights hanging above. Its upscale comfort food featuring items like Pigs in a blanket, grilled skewers over basil quinoa salad, veggies and hummus, and soft pretzels help make it a comfortable oasis amid the high-rises of Rosslyn.

a person with a backpack faces a mural at Continental Beer Garden
Mural at Continental Beer Garden via @stay_royal_films

Patio Dining

Foodies enjoy their time outdoors at some of Arlington’s lauded local restaurants. Local favorite Lebanese Taverna is known for its authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and beautiful patio with greenery at its Pentagon Row location. Ballston's SER features outdoor dining that’s perfect for date night or just for some great sangria and Spanish cuisine with wonderful traditional dishes like seafood paella. Nearby Grand Cru Wine Bar & Bistro offers a quaint European-style atmosphere and outdoor dining in the secluded ellipse garden courtyard. And, in addition to its robust beer menu, Bronson Bierhall features German-style fare including tasty brats, sausages, and a Giant Munich Pretzel with beer cheese and house mustard. Stop by El Rey in Ballston Exchange and try their signature margaritas, birria tacos and more while sitting in a colorful patio, perfect for dining al fresco.

Low-Key Outdoor Seating

In a casual, order-at-counter setting, Pupatella pizzeria pairs Neapolitan-style pizza with a relaxed backyard patio. The acclaimed Ballston pizzeria is unassuming from the outside but its pizza is not to be underestimated.

You can also warm up by the fire pit at Fire Works Pizza in the Courthouse neighborhood. Wood-fired pies, endless beer options and there’s a lot more: even duck spring rolls at this pizza spot.

For something off the beaten path, try the small sunlit patio at Yayla Bistro with plates of Turkish cuisine. Customer favorites are Moussaka, calamari, sigara boregi and baklava. Feast on all-you-can-eat crabs on the rustic wooden patio at the rustic Quarterdeck. Enjoy modern Thai cuisine on a charming patio at Urban Thai in Crystal City. Or have ribs, brisket, sausage or a cocktail on the patio at Texas Jack’s Barbecue. No matter where you go in Arlington, outdoor dining abounds with the perfect opportunity to enjoy global cuisine and meet a fantastic community. For more on where to eat and drink in Arlington visit Restaurants & Nightlife.

Author: Emily Cassell