Nashvillians know that the weather in this fair city is definitely hit or miss. By mid-summer, the sweltering heat has everyone running for a cold drink in the air conditioning. But if you catch Nashville in the Spring, Fall, or unseasonably pleasant Winter or Summer evenings, dining outdoors is absolute perfection. That’s why so many popular restaurants and bars have expanded outdoor space to accommodate more people. If you're looking for a gorgeous courtyard to enjoy while you sip on wine, Park Cafe has you covered. Or maybe a good beer on a laid-back porch is your thing? If so, try Edley's Bar-B-Que. Of course, no list of Nashville patios would be complete without mentioning Jackson's Bar and Bistro. The bistro's large patio is poised for incredible people-watching in Hillsboro village, and it's dog-friendly, too. Now that's a patio!
You can get an incredible meal with perfect drink pairings in any Nashville neighborhood. But the perfect dinner outside? It takes a special touch and a unique location to create an atmosphere that has patrons begging for a seat in the open air. From romantic twinkle lights, to outdoor gardens, to seats poised perfectly to watch passersby, these are some of Nashville’s greatest outdoor dining destinations.
Edley's came to the 12 South neighborhood in 2012, and it was so popular that the restaurant opened a second location within a few years. The patio faces 12 South and wraps around to a side street where patrons can sit and watch car, bike, and foot traffic pass. The feel of the place is great: With slabs of wood making up the walls, rustic wooden tables, and garage doors that bring fresh air through the entire restaurant, it's the perfect place for southern fare.
Speaking of southern fare, Edley's has en extensive menu of barbecue and traditional southern sides. Order the macaroni and cheese or you'll be sorry! ((615) 953-2951)
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
Designed like a throw back to the old days of soda fountains and classic burger joints, The Pharmacy has had a constant line out the door since it opened. Burgers are on trend to be sure, but The Pharmacy bucks those trends by offering traditional American burgers. The kitchen staff has experimented with a few off-the-beaten-path menu items, like a falafel burger, but the farm burger (a beef patty topped with bacon and a fried egg) is a perfect, classic meal.
The back half of the restaurant opens up to the backyard beer garden, making it a perfect place to enjoy the open air under the safety of a roof. When the weather is right, head straight to the beer garden tables for your meal and a few drinks. ((615) 712-9517)
Rolf and Daughters
Since opening in late 2012, Rolf and Daughters has earned plenty of accolades--including a spot on BonAppetit's 2013 Best New Restaurants list. The kitchen staff takes pride in sourcing locally raised meats and Tennessee produce, but the handmade pasta is what really keeps a line snaking out the door. The rustic décor matches the menu at Rolf and Daughters, which keeps dinner simple with just a few ingredients in each dish. A juicy hunk of pork is dressed up with corn and another vegetable. Pastas are served with in a simple sauce that allows quality ingredients to shine.
If you're not looking for a full meal, R&D has an array of craft cocktails to sip on. You'll enjoy everything even more if you can grab a seat on the patio. The restaurant is set off on a quiet, historic street where you an enjoy a serene night in the city. ((615) 866-9897)
Rosepepper Cantina is an East Nashville favorite. In fact, it's so popular that people from other parts of the city trek across the river on weekend nights to eat at "The Rosepepper," as locals call it. One of the things that sets Rosepepper apart from other Mexican restaurants is the house-made margarita mix. You won't be getting a neon green margarita here! At Rosepepper, margaritas are served cold, large, and with lots of lime juice.
The restaurant has plenty of seating indoors, but most people opt to sit on the expansive patio attached to the building. Even when it's hot outside, the fans and ice-cold drinks will cool you down. Order the chicken chimichangas and you won't be sorry. And, of course, wash it down with a house margarita on the rocks. (615-227-4777)
There aren't many places in downtown Nashville that appeal to local Nashvillians--but Pub 5 is the exception to the rule. From the moment you step inside Pub 5, it feels like you're being transported away from the hustle, bustle, and loud entertainment on Lower Broadway. Upstairs, the Pub 5 rooftop rivals other rooftop bars downtown, thanks to craft beers on tap and an impressive food menu. The rooftop is quaint, thanks to a simple, rustic décor and twinkling white lights. You can hear the faint sounds of country music float up to the bar, which is a perfect backdrop for great conversation. (615-780-4005)
Village Pub and Beer Garden
The Village Pub and Beer Garden is a little off the beaten path, but it's worth a venture into East Nashville if you're looking for a laid-back spot to eat and drink. "The pub," as locals call it, is a melting pot of different types of people with one common love: good beer. The owners stock local and regional brews, rotating a solid list of seasonal and limited-edition beers. Since its opening in 2010, the delicious beer list and "everybody knows your name" vibe has made Village Pub an incredibly popular neighborhood bar.
The most coveted seats are on the porch. If it's hot, the open air setting will cool you off, and several wall heaters can be adjusted to warm you up when the air is too cold. If you're hungry, don't miss out on a house-made hot pretzel with beer cheese dip. ((615) 942-5880)
12 South Tap Room
The 12 South neighborhood has changed rapidly in the past few years. Old buildings have been knocked down and new ones, with new restaurants and bars, have taken their place. But the Tap Room remains a mainstay. Locals flock to the 12 South Tap Room patio after hours to catch up over craft beers and a menu that redeems the reputation of bar food. You can't go wrong with any item on the extensive menu, especially if you choose the Gouda macaroni and cheese as your side.
If you can grab a seat outside, don't miss the chance. There will be plenty to take in as you watch people walk past--not just great beer and incredible sandwiches. ((615) 463-7552)
This fun bistro turns to local farms and purveyors to serve seasonal, local dishes year-round. Park Cafe is particularly well known for incredible seafood and pasta dishes, so take note when you order. If you can arrive between 4 and 6 p.m., on a weekday, check out the $5 wine list--you won't be disappointed.
One of the best things about this local mainstay is its outdoor seating area. The wide patio offers quiet ambiance with white table cloths, candles, and soft lighting. If you're worried about the weather, don't fret. Park Cafe has a tent covering the patio so you can stay dry while you enjoy the fresh air. (615-383-4409)
Jackson's Bar and Bistro
Jackson's has been a mainstay in the Hillsboro Village neighborhood for years. Although the restaurant boasts a popular menu and a solid beer list, its claim to fame is an incredible patio. The large patio can hold sizeable parties, and offers guests an ideal seat for people watching. Plus, it's dog-friendly! Dog-friendly patios are few and far between in Nashville. unfortunately.
This unique restaurant is a coffee shop, bar, and restaurant all rolled into one. Come for breakfast and mimosas, pop in for an incredible lunch, or arrive at dinner and stay a while. Whatever you do, don't skip the cookie dough egg rolls. (615-385-9968)
Located in a historic home near 5 Points in East Nashville, Rumours East is the perfect setting for a nice glass of wine or a craft cocktail. The restaurant seating area is set up around a fireplace, while bar patrons can pull up a stool at a handmade wooden bar. But the best seat in the house can be found right out the back door. The courtyard at Rumours is perfect for a date night or dinner and drinks with friends. With a large pergola, soft lighting, and lush gardens, a seat outside is perfection when the weather is agreeable. ((615) 262-5346)
About Megan Pacella
Megan Pacella has lived in Nashville for the better part of a decade. When she's not on the road researching stories for outlets like USA Today Travel, USA Today Experience Food and Wine, American Spirit magazine, and American Songwriter, she's exploring all areas of Nashville. In her free time, Megan enjoys riding her bike, cooking, catching all sorts of live music, and practicing Bikram yoga. If you follow her on social media, you'll see how much she loves her dog and her husband.
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