Hey, guys. It's spring! And while that can mean wind and occasional sprinkles, it can also mean fine, balmy, fog-free days and evenings that are made for outdoor drinking and eating. Below, our picks for the city's finest in al fresco imbibing venues, many of which also serve food. And because our city is known more for the cold and fog than for sun and heat, there's only one rooftop bar on here — though there are always rumors that there will soon be another, somewhere. — Jay Barmann

One not so well-known but very pretty patio can be found at Traci Des Jardins' Presidio Mexican spot, Arguello. There's an awesome array of tequila and mezcal, and some brand new patio furniture to lounge on. Just don't head there late on a Sunday, because they're only open for brunch until 4 p.m., and evening hours are early too — they serve until 9 p.m. But walk-ins are always welcome. — Jay Barmann
50 Moraga Avenue in the Presidio, in the Officer's Club


Arlequin Cafe and Wine Merchant
One of the most tranquil oases in the city is the lush, secluded patio in back of Arlequin and Absinthe, off Hayes. Any given day you can grab a glass — or a whole bottle — of wine in Arlequin's shop and take it out back to this secluded garden, with or without a snack from the cafe. If the weather's right, it's a pretty perfect date spot. Not to mention the fact that you've got easy access to food too, since the wine bar has a full lunch counter. Try to come here on a sunny Saturday or Sunday, though, and you will likely be hard-pressed to find a seat or free table. —Jay Barmann
384 Hayes Street near Gough

Photo: Facebook

The Barbary Coast Bar & Grill
Once upon a time, this bar with its lovely patio complete with leafy, gnarly, full-grown sycamore trees, was home to the Beat-era Old Spaghetti Factory in North Beach. It later became the Bocce Cafe, and now, as of this month, it's been reinvented as The Barbary Coast. It's got a pretty rad brunch menu if you're in the market for an off-the-beaten-path brunch that (I think) not many people know about just yet. And really, it is all about that patio. — Jay Barmann
478 Green Street at Grant

Biergarten. Photo: Proxy/Facebook

A fenced-in outdoor bar in the middle of Hayes Valley, Biergarten is a fave with Euro expats (my German father-in-law loves this place) and beer-and-brat loving locals alike. From the people who brought us Deutschland-dining standby Suppenküche, their German street cred's legit — and they have pork pretzels to go with your big-ass mug of beer. PORK PRETZELS, you guys. It can get cold at night as the fog rolls in, so bring a blanket if you're planning on making an evening of it (they close at 9 Wed-Saturday, at 7 on Sunday). -- Eve Batey
424 Octavia (between Fell and Linden)

A slice of clam in the Tenderloin. (photo: Chambers)

Chambers Eat + Drink
The cozy, den-like interior of this Tenderloin spot at the always hip Phoenix Hotel has one of the best, most L.A.-like outdoor spaces in the city, surrounding an actual swimming pool. The drinks are good, the food is good, and the scene at happy hour can get kind of nuts. But on a day like today, it's right where you want to be in the heart of the city — note they don't open until 5 p.m., though, on weeknights. — Jay Barmann
601 Eddy Street at Larkin

The Eagle
This classic, even arguably historic example of a SoMa leather bar, opened in the early 1980s and was revived under new owners just a couple years back. It boasts one of the biggest bar patios in the city, complete with a grill area that gets fired up for Sunday beer busts which benefit various gay organizations around the city. On sunny days, the outdoor section will be packed with men of different ages and stripes — though it can tend to be a more seasoned crowd — and it helps that the patio is flanked by bars on two sides, for easy beer access. — Jay Barmann
398 12th Street at Harrison

Hard French at El Riovia Facebook

El Rio
The grand, homey patio at El Rio is home to one of the biggest monthly dance parties in town, Hard French, as well as Salsa Sundays several times a month, Swagger Like Us (a queer, hip-hop and house party), and Daytime Realness (a gay monthly dance party on third Sundays in warmer months). as well as a bunch of other stuff. Their Margaritas and Palomas are good and strong, they sell $2 Tecates, and the bartenders are all pretty friendly and cool. But if you're there for one of the big party days, get there early or there will be a horrible line. — Jay Barmann
3158 Mission Street

Photo: Andrew Dalton/SFist

El Techo De Lolinda
This Mission rooftop oasis is a popular spot for after-work margaritas and quesadillas that, thanks to their glass wind guards along the railings, remains comfortable even after night falls. The limited menu doesn't make for much of a dinner — more like drinking snacks — but the hand-made chorizo and platano maduro are both big winners. Pro tip: They take reservations for brunch. — Eve Batey
2518 Mission Street (at 21st)

Photo courtesy of the Hi Dive

The Hi Dive
There aren't so many places left where locals and tourists intermingle in equal measure whilst drunk that aren't high-priced hotel bars or AT&T Park. The Hi Dive remains one of those spots, easily accessed along the Embarcadero if you're out for a walk on a sunny day and looking to sit down, or trying to escape the madness of Ferry Plaza on a Saturday. They've got a down-market patio with million-dollar views (but still on the wrong side of the Bay Bridge and a bit in the shadows), pretty cheap beer, and a full food menu with a passable burger. But really it's all about knowing where to go on a sunny day that's going to remind you how pretty our city while still keeping it real, and dive-y. (Fun non-fact: Rumor has it that this was a place gay men used to go to cruise sailors way back in the day.) — Jay Barmann
Pier 28 1/2 on the Embarcadero

A typical daytime scene. Photo: Yelp

The Mix
The Mix is nothing fancy, and its crowd tends to be neither as young and homogenous as the one at Hi Tops nor as touristy or bachelorette-party-burdened as some other bars in the neighborhood. It's a locals spot, with a pool table inside, and always plays host to a range of ages, races, and gender identities. The drinks are stiff, and the patio can be either pleasant or a bit smoky and crowded — it does, nonetheless, feel airier than the smoking patio at Toad Hall up the street, and there's a lot more room to move around than on the narrow terrace at the nearby Lookout. In short, it makes for a perfect stopping off point on the way back from a park day, or on a rare warm evening. — Jay Barmann
4086 18th Street near Castro

Photo: Google

Pier 23 Cafe
You don't come to this place along the Embarcadero for the food, or the service. You come here to drink, or perhaps to have a hangover brunch of fish and chips and a Bloody Mary, and you come here when it's sunny out and not horribly windy. Because if the conditions are right, this is a prime Bayfront spot with plenty of space to move around, unless of course it's prime time on a weekend. And, be warned, Saturdays are for live reggae. — Jay Barmann
Pier 23 near Battery and Embarcadero

Sparrow's back patio: Katie S/Yelp

Sparrow Bar & Kitchen
Sparrow's lovely back patio is a great place to linger over breakfast, lunch, or dinner (their menu's here), and with an inventive beer and wine list (sorry, cocktail snobs, no hard booze) you'll want to stake out a spot for a long while. Friends with kids tell me that they're exceptionally child-accomodating, so if you want to slap some sunscreen on junior and bring him along, no worries there! They have a sweet happy hour menu of nibbly things and a brunch without much of a wait (at least, not at publication time), so it's good bet pretty much any time you're in the mood for an outdoor drink-and-dine. -- Eve Batey
1640 Haight Street (between Clayton and Belvedere)

The Sycamore
This little bar next to Sycamore Alley is near and dear to my heart. One bartender says that it's been called "Nicegeist" — a reference to Zeitgeist, of which the Sycamore is sort of a tiny version. There, a genuinely friendly staff serves a selection of about eight very well chosen craft beers alongside bar food like sliders and those infamous pork belly donuts. The bar's interior is cozy, if in a divey way. Also: board games. Sometimes: mulled wine. Weekends: bottomless mimosa brunch. The real showpiece is outside, a casual patio with two long picnic tables and a bit more seating. Note that it get a bit smoky and tight for space. They don't serve liquor at the Sycamore, but they do have Underberg, a high-proof digestif much like Fernet that comes in a tiny bottle. They'll show you how to drink it — all at once after rolling it around and tapping it on the bar. — Caleb Pershan
2140 Mission Street between 17th and 18th Streets

Tee Off Bar and Grill
The Outer Richmond's Tee Off has a small outdoor area with a ping pong table and colorful picnic benches that is a winner with locals. It's a good place to hang out, and there's lots of bar food like a huge mac and cheese burger and "Oyster Orgy Fridays." They do pulled pork and put it in a waffle cone, so there's that. It's, okay, slightly grimy, but it's a strong pick for a neighborhood spot. — Caleb Pershan
3129 Clement Street between 32nd and 33rd Avenues

Virgil’s Sea Room
A patio with lovely string lighting, heat lamps, and people sits behind Virgil's, which is next door neighbors to El Rio, and has a nice symbiotic relationship with that bar. As in, during an El Rio day party, it's a great place to escape and still hear the music. Expect cocktails named for local legends, my favorite being the Warren Hellman, and sometimes cute dogs outside. Inside things are dark but warm and there's a solid jukebox. Chat up the bar staff, they're fantastic. — Caleb Pershan
3152 Mission Street between Powers and Fair Avenues

Photo courtesy of Waxman's

There is now a bonafied nice spot to enjoy a patio cocktail at Ghirardelli Square that's not a total tourist trap, and that's Waxman's, the first San Francisco restaurant from celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman. The place just opened last month, and it features a full dinner menu with a focus on seafood, as well as a fine selection of wine and a cocktail program. The patio, which overlooks the center of the Square, is typically open during business hours, weather permitting. — Jay Barmann
Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point Street

Green peace in the heart of Hayes Valley. (photo: Kevin Collins)