Patios? Patios! - 12 Patios You Must Enjoy this Summer (Plus 10 Dog-Friendly Options)

Just when you thought Cleveland couldn't possibly squeeze in another patio, somebody opens another one and proves us dead wrong. Blessed with more alfresco eating and drinking options than our already feeble livers can handle, our fair-weathered village on a Great Lake is primed for its best summer ever.

Nano Brew

Just last year, Nano Brew in Ohio City — what that one guy at Eater.com called one of the "best new craft beer bars in the country" — dusted off the expansive back patio that for years was Garage Bar's signature feature. New beer hall-style picnic tables, lighting, landscaping, heating and, of course, a never-ending supply of over-hopped suds already is making this one of the busiest plots in town.

1859 West 25th St., 216-862-6631,

nanobrewcleveland.com.

Lopez

Going on two decades, Lopez Southwest Kitchen has been the place on Lee to sip margaritas beneath the open sky. Ever since chef Michael Herschman joined the team a few years back, we also can eat to our hearts' content beneath that open sky. While smaller than many current (read sprawling) patios, Lopez's is petite, elegant and just boisterous enough to be fun.

2196 Lee Rd., 216-932-9000,

lopezonlee.com.

Felice

Felice Urban Café is best known for its Craftsman-style home setting. But it's the outdoor bar, built within a converted wooden carriage house, that attracts diners all summer long. A covered patio adjacent to the garage bar means never having to say "let's eat inside" come spring showers. Bonus: The patio boasts great views of the restaurant's huge kitchen garden.

12502 Larchmere Blvd., 216-791-0918,

coolplacestoeat.com.

L'Albatros

You can't mention the word "patio" in this town with some know-it-all chiming in with L'Albatros this and L'Albatros that. Okay, so we are those know-it-alls, who not only bring up this leafy urban retreat at ever opportunity, but also sit our butts down there as often as possible, too. This is outdoor dining at its finest, with sturdy tables, casual sofas, and a granite-topped bar.

11401 Bellflower Rd., 216-791-7880,

albatrosbrasserie.com.

Tap House

We've been fans of Tremont Tap House from the moment it opened. It was TTH, after all, that first and fully introduced diners to the gastropub concept, merging ambitious fare with a stellar craft beer list. Going on about seven years, this place – this patio – should be near the top of every Cleveland diner's list of alfresco eats.

2572 Scranton Rd., 216-298-4451,

tremonttaphouse.com.

SOHO

SOHO Kitchen and Bar's Southern-styled menu seems tailor made for the Dog Days of summer. If there's any kind of breeze, plant yourself on the roomy side patio, roll up your shirtsleeves, tuck a napkin under your chin, and dig into a platter of fried chicken. Sporting a great view of the hustle and bustle that is West 25th Street — but set back from the sidewalk — this perch is primed for people watching.

1899 West 25th St., 216-298-9090,

sohocleveland.com.

Greenhouse

Who doesn't love getting high in summer? Climb a few flights of stairs at Greenhouse Tavern and find yourself high above East Fourth, enjoying commanding views of diners and pedestrians below. This rooftop bar is home to some of the best pop-up events in town, so keep an eye on the restaurant's social media feeds for the next rooftop fête.

2038 E. Fourth St., 216-393-4302,

thegreenhousetavern.com.

Spice

Spice Kitchen + Bar inherited a decent patio from its former tenant, but it's only gotten nicer, and not just because the food and drink are in another league. This hideaway in Gordon Square owns the farm-to-table niche, meaning alfresco diners can savor the season's best eats and drinks without having to brave the farmers market or the hot kitchen.

5800 Detroit Ave., 216-961-9637,

spicekitchenandbar.com.

Tartine

Summer west of the Cuyahoga doesn't officially commence until John McDonnell swings open the wide French doors of his lovable Tartine Bistro. The compact brick-paved courtyard becomes the restaurant's front porch, uniting neighbors in food, wine and conversation. This truly is a hidden-gem hideaway.

19110 Old Detroit Rd., 440-331-0800, tartinebistro.com.

Momocho

That new-patio smell finally has faded from Momocho's freshly laid piazza, which was recently installed when owner Eric Williams ripped up his entire patio to start fresh. Now, in addition to an expanded footprint, the alfresco dining room features new landscaping, fencing, lighting, and umbrellas.

1835 Fulton Rd., 216-694-2122,

momocho.com.

Sunset Grille

Cropicana is gone, Sunset Grille is back, and Whiskey Island remains one of the only places in town with bona fide lakeside dining. Hugging the shores of Lake Erie, this hedonistic summer getaway has enough open-air lawn seating for every boat owner in town.

2800 Whiskey Island, sunset-grille.net.

Black Pig

You won't find a better view of the Cleveland skyline than the one from the rooftop patio bar at Black Pig. Take the elevated route above West 25th Street and Ohio City to the sequestered and quaint perch above the Black Pig for one of the most relaxing spots in the bustling neighborhood.

1865 West 25th St., 216-862-7551, theblackpigcleveland.com.

Bring the pooch!

It's one thing to get away for a nice afternoon or evening on the patio, but if you can't bring along your favorite four-legged friend, you'll probably be feeling jealous the whole time you're there. Which is why these ten spots, which allow you to bring along Fido, are some of our favorites. Edison's in Tremont, Luxe in Detroit Shoreway, the Barking Spider, Rocky River Wine Bar, Fat Cats in Tremont, the aforementioned Sunset Grille, Nighttown, Flannery's, the Flying Monkey and Reddstone, which is simply one of our favorite summer patios ever.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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