Dining and drinking al fresco is one of the things I look forward to for the whole five months a year it’s too cold to do so. Eating outdoors is just magically conducive to slowing down and thoroughly enjoying your food and the company you’re sharing it with. It feels vaguely European and vacation-like. And really, aren’t we all trying to make our summertime more vaguely European and vacation-like?
There’s tons of great restaurants, cafés and bars with outdoor seating throughout the city. Here’s some of our favorites.
El Patio de Albuquerque
I mean … Patio is in the name, y’all. In addition to being one of my favorite places to go for New Mexican food, El Patio (142 Harvard Dr. SE) has a lovely, tree-shaded front patio that’s pretty pleasant all day long. Have a late breakfast of huevos rancheros with endless coffee refills, or share beers with some friends in the evening. They occasionally have a musician playing acoustic tunes out front to set the mood. Do yourself a favor and get the spinach enchiladas with a fried egg on top.
Zendo Coffee/Sidetrack Brewing
Zendo Coffee (413 Second Street SW) shares a back patio with Sidetrack Brewing, meaning you can transition seamlessly from your afternoon cold brew drinking into your afternoon beer drinking. Get yourself an iced dirty chai and a fortifying pastry or breakfast burrito at Zendo (while supplies last!) so you don’t fall over from the caffeine/alcohol crossfade. There’s also frequently a food truck parked out front in the evenings to serve dinner to the bar crowd.
Marble Brewery Downtown
When the weather is nice and it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, there’s nowhere else in the city I’d rather be than on Marble Downtown’s (111 Marble Ave. NW) rooftop patio. The views of Downtown and the mountains are pretty unbeatable, there’s plenty of comfy seating suited for large groups or one-on-one affairs and a retractable awning for riding out those occasional summer showers. There’s also a totally separate upstairs bar that opens when it gets busy, so you don’t have to worry so much about standing in an endless line for your next beer. There’s some great beachy lounge chairs on the east side that are perfect for catching some sun while you sip your brew. Just try not to fall asleep up there. … Or, if you do, at least ask one of the servers to wake you up before closing time. Check out marblebrewery.com to see what food truck is scheduled to be serving on any given day.
Seasons Rotisserie & Grill
The upstairs patio of Seasons (2031 Mountain Rd. NW) is a whole different beast from the downstairs. It’s much more casual, with an outdoor kitchen, a separate bar and frequent live music. When the weather is nice, the big garage doors open up to make the whole floor open-air. The views of the Sandias are killer from the second floor, so make sure to get there for sunset.
Michael Thomas Coffee
Not all the best patios in the city are reserved for alcohol consumption. Michael Thomas Coffee Roaster (202 Bryn Mawr Dr. SE), tucked into a residential corner of the city on the largely pedestrian Silver Street, has wonderful outdoor seating both out front and in back. The back patio is especially nice for some quiet and secluded chatting. When the weather is nice, they’ll even open their big glass garage door so that the whole place feels like the outdoors. If you’re a student or a laptop nomad, this place is a beautiful break from working or studying at home.
High and Dry Brewing
One of the newer additions to the craft brewing scene in ABQ, High and Dry Brewing (529 Adams St. NE) is a quaint little neighborhood spot with plenty of sunny patio to lounge on. Their in-house brews typically don’t stick around long, but they always have a full tap of guest beers as well, along with a few wines and Humble coffee. Check out their Instagram (@highanddrybrew) to see their schedule of food trucks and events for the week.
I have never actually sat inside of Canteen Brewhouse (2381 Aztec Rd. NE), because the patio and its big picnic tables are always too enticing. The patio is perfect for audiences when they have live music, but it’s also perfect for hosting big groups on summer evenings. There’s an awning and fans to keep the sun and heat off during the day and string lights to keep the party going at night. Oh, and you can bring your doggos here (as long as they’re well-behaved).
La Cumbre Brewing Company
It’s right off the bike trail. There’s a food truck parked there most nights. Their beers are some of Albuquerque’s favorites. La Cumbre Brewing (3313 Girard Blvd. NE) has a lot going for it, and its fenced-in patio is the cherry on top. It gets pretty crowded on a weekend evening, so be prepared to share your table with some friends you haven’t met yet.
Green Jeans Farmery
Ok, so Green Jeans (3600 Cutler Ave. NE) is technically a lot of different food and drink establishments, but they all share their outdoor seating. Order your food from either Amore Pizza, Rustic on the Green, Chumly’s Southwestern or Rockin’ Taco and you can take a seat in the shaded second story or in the central patio, where there’s plenty of umbrellas to keep you cool in the warm months and a gas-powered fire pit to keep you warm in the winter. If it’s brews you’re after, head straight to Santa Fe Brewing and hang out in their private upstairs balcony, complete with shade and misters for hot days. You can have your food delivered up there, too!
I know that most of Old Town is kind of tourist central, but there are some spots worth visiting even if you’re a local. Backstreet Grill (1919 Old Town Rd. NW, Ste. 6) is one of them. Their menu is filled with tasty Baja-style dishes like ceviche and fish tacos, they have plenty of local beers and their patio is spacious and shady. Perhaps the best part is that Backstreet is just across the street from Tiguex Park and right off the parking lot for the Albuquerque Museum, so you can make a whole day out of it.