In nice weather it is great to slow down and get some R&R, along with bites and a beverage, on one of Atlanta's best patios. You might want to soaking up the summer sun on a rooftop while you dine outdoors or just relax by the pool at your hotel. Take your pick:
- Atlas – Some of Atlanta's best culinary creations can be found at Atlas, but the patio is a real treat, too. With firepits for cool evenings, it's divine for sipping a drink and nibbling the upscale bar food.
- Babalu Tacos – When I visited this taco spot last fall, there wasn't anyone inside. Everyone was outside enjoying a margarita and those tasty tacos and guacamole on the huge patio in the heart of Midtown.
- Barcelona Wine Bar – Located in Inman Park, this patio, along with tapas, makes you feel like you've been transported to Spain, especially with the abundance of wine choices.
- Barleygarden – If you love rooftop patios and beer, then this is the place for you. The upstairs balcony features lots of beers to enjoy while you look over the Avalon action.
- Basil's – Dining in the heart of Buckhead with the backdrop of high rises? You can do this at the expansive patio at Basil's. Sip one of the specialty cocktails like the Andes Candies or Jalapeño Margarita. Nosh on small plates with hummus and baba ganoush. Try the flatbread or a roasted artichoke.
- BeetleCat - Though the interior is lovely, come spring, everyone wants to be on the patio slurping oysters, especially during happy hour.
- Der Biergarten – Order a plate of jägerschnitzel and wash it all down with a delicious German beer. You’ll have a gorgeous view of downtown while you munch and sip. It’s a great place to hit before or after a downtown sporting event with friends. Tip: The patio is dog friendly.
- Fadó Irish Pub – Weekends at Buckhead’s Fadó might lend themselves to loud partiers, so, to chill, choose the expansive rooftop patio early evenings or weeknights to enjoy comfortable furniture and a terrific selection of beers or whiskeys.
- Gypsy Kitchen – In the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, you’ll find Gypsy Kitchen. With a mix of Spanish, Indian and Mediterranean fare, the menu is certainly unique. Although the interior is gorgeous, you’ll want to take advantage of the patio for the warm days ahead. And Gypsy Kitchen has an always-rotating round of patio specials, which includes discounts on wine and tapas. Gypsy Kitchen features live music on special evenings.
- Hampton and Hudson -- If you love a good sports bar with elevated bar food (hello beef tartare tacos) and plenty of patio space, you've hit the jackpot with H + H.
- Haven – Tucked away in the Brookhaven neighborhood, Haven is certainly a fitting name for this spot. The patio, with white tablecloths, overlooks a pretty green space, and tables are set far enough apart to ensure privacy. We recommend the mussels, fried oysters and duck breast.
- Horseradish Grill – This popular Buckhead restaurant has been a fixture in the community for decades. Part of the appeal of the restaurant, besides its Southern favorites, is the secluded outdoor patio. Tip: Horseradish Grill is a super spot for dining before seeing a show at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
- JCT Kitchen – Ford Fry’s first Atlanta restaurant serves up Southern favorites on the Westside. Patrons really love the upstairs patio, with small plates for sharing. It’s a good choice for a light snack and drinks with friends.
- Ladybird – One of the reasons this patio is so hot is that’s it’s located right along the BeltLine. We recommend visiting for brunch when you can have your pick of seating. Then when you are finished with one of the hearty options, like the hot chicken on a made-from-scratch-biscuit, walk it off on the BeltLine.
- Nine Mile Station – Does it get any better than a rooftop patio with stunning skyline views? Actually it does. Nine Mile Station is the restaurant attached to Skyline Park, a Coney Island-themed amusement park complete with carnival games. Go for brunch and get the huge sticky buns, French Toast and the Benedict, served on a pretzel bun.
- Park Tavern – Sitting on the edge of Piedmont Park, Park Tavern provides great views of the park with a spectacular outdoor dining area. Tip: When it rains, they pour -- $1 drafts when it is raining.
- Portofino – This fabulous Italian restaurant is beautiful on the inside and outside. The wrought iron and brick patio is a terrific spot for a romantic meal.
- Under the Cork Tree – This is the spot to gather with a friend and sip on a sangria and nosh on incredible small plates like octopus, lamb ribs and clams. Or, just split a pizza.
- Varuni Napoli – Some of the best pies can be had here, but you're doing it wrong if you don't snag a place on the back patio. The large tree dwarfing it, makes you feel like you're in a treehouse. Try the Bastardo pizza with mozzarella, pepperoni, 'nduja (pork sausage spread), romano cheese and basil.
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Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Roamilicious. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and has been featured on HGTV, Huffington Post and About.com. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the president of the Association of Food Bloggers and her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.