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Food & Drink

Best Places to Dine Al Fresco 

Wednesday, May 6 2015

'Tis the season to tipple al fresco. For a city roundly ridiculed for its borderline subarctic climate, we do have our fair share of outdoor destinations for drinking and dining. There are, of course, the familiar beer gardens, like Zeitgeist, and The Yard — which recently opened just outside of AT&T Park. But it's not just the beer drinkers hogging all the (scant) sunshine. We are in no short supply of upscale patios and roof decks from which to imbibe high-minded cocktails without sinister ceilings to confine us. The next time the heavens open to reveal an afternoon on the proper side of 60, head to these hangouts to enjoy some fresh air while you sip. 

For a huge outdoor space in the midst of downtown — yet still peacefully secluded from it all — it doesn't get better than Jones (620 Jones St., 415-496-6858). The expansive bar and nightclub serves up a bevy of $10 specialty cocktails to be enjoyed on plush patio furniture overlooking the skyline looming above. Other amenities include ample heat lamps, insulating you from nighttime shivers, an eclectic list of bar bites, ranging from succotash to charcuterie, and a worthwhile weeknight happy hour 5-7 p.m.

More than just a playful name, Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut St., 415-292-2300) offers a taste of living high on the hog. Its open garden patio is open year round, but sheds that tented canopy come May. It's the ideal setting for a weekend brunch in the Marina, complete with sensationally spiced Bloody Marys and cucumber-laced Pimm's Cups for all. Nothing says spring like its black-pepper candied bacon.

How do you improve upon a seafood-forward menu of Mediterranean fare, backed by an exemplary-yet-focused collection of craft beer, spirits, cocktails, and wine? Offer it all in a courtyard setting while projecting foreign films on a large outdoor wall. And that's why Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St., 415-648-7600) remains one of the greatest spots for an outdoor meal, brunch or dinner. If you're one of the half dozen or so San Franciscans who hasn't yet been to this Mission mainstay, there's no day like today — or anytime this summer, really.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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