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Parklets and Patios for Outdoor Dining 

Wednesday, Jun 3 2015

Just as humans don't live on bread alone, neither do we rest our tuchises strictly on grass. And while San Francisco's network of parks is top-notch, it's the parklets and patios where you can actually get some solid fraternizing (and drinking) done.

Ciencia Pública: Agua

Valencia Street has more parklets than anywhere else (including Deepistan, the city's only parklet maintained by a resident, which once hosted a wedding) but we're really digging this joint project by the Exploratorium and the SF Boys & Girls Clubs. A sustainable water exhibit with its own desal pump, rain gauge, and plants that locals may harvest, it's definitely the sharpest way to inculcate the virtues of a STEM career. 1217-1241 Valencia St.

200 Clement St. Parklet

As far as we know, there are only two parklets in the entire Richmond District, and this was the first. Erected outside Cumaica Coffee in the summer of 2013 through the participation of several neighborhood businesses and individuals, it's a beautiful wooden oasis and a great spot to observe Clement's interminable traffic snarls.

3600 16th St. Parklet

Most parklets are as enjoyable as the pedestrian traffic is heavy and this Castro location is no exception. Sit under the umbrellas and strung-up lights and pretend to read something while stealthily cruising the passing eye candy. If you want food from Squat & Gobble, you have to get it yourself; by law, table service is verboten.

El Rio

The ultimate patio experience, and not just because cuties on MDMA dance for hours at Hard French. El Rio's magnificent and surprisingly lush backyard is tiered for maximum visibility and eye contact, while the heat lamps keep partiers warm at night. Frequent barbecue helps offset all the alcohol at "Your Dive," while Carmen Miranda's visage beams down, a demigoddess of bonhomie and joy. 3158 Mission St., 415-282-3325 or

Dirty Habit

We think we speak for many people when we say that Dirty Habit really surprised us. Its capacious, fancy, heated fifth floor outdoor zone has a fireplace and a water feature, a wide variety of seating, plus a menu that's ideal for a happy hour pas de deux. And churros. You just don't need more than this. 12 Fourth St., 415-348-1555 or

Red's Java House

So much of the waterfront is given over to tourists that this maximally unpretentious spot just south of the Bay Bridge feels like a genuine secret. How many times have you clamored for a burger and canned beer in a coozie, with a million-dollar view? (Pssst, Red's also does breakfast, every day.) Pier 30, 415-777-5626 or


About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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