With the weather so gorgeous this weekend, you want to be able to drink AND sit outside. Luckily we live in a place that has such amazing views, you can find somewhere to go all around the Bay Area. These are the restaurants to visit if you’re looking to spend your weekend in the open air:
Auberge du Soleil: The food at this Cal-French in Rutherford is deemed “magnificent” by surveyors, but the place to be on a clear day or for a sunset cocktail is on the wraparound deck at the adjacent Bistro and Bar, where diners can take in the majestic views of the Napa Valley floor and dine for considerably less (707-967-3111).
Horizons: In my opinion, the best view of San Francisco. Not to mention an awesome deck with NO SEAGULLS! The food is excellent and the servers (Hector and Guillermo) are hilarious. It’s conveniently located 5 minutes from the Sausalito ferry and also has boat access. (415-331-3232)
Rooftop Garden Blue Bottle Coffee Bar: Coffee as high art meets Pop Art at this SoMa outpost of the cult roaster set on the fifth floor of the SFMOMA. The open-air rooftop garden boasts views of the San Francisco skyline, sculptures from the museum’s collection and fancy-pants coffee drinks from Blue Bottle plus a smattering of cleverly named pastries (think the Thiebaud and Mondrian cake) and Humphry Slocombe ice cream treats. It closes at 5 PM normally and 8 PM on Thursday evenings. Note: access to the Rooftop Coffee Bar requires museum admission (415-243-0455).
Jones: It’s not high (just one floor up from the street) but the terrace at this Tenderloin restaurant and bar is certainly mighty, claiming to be the city’s largest rooftop patio (clocking in at 8,000 sq. ft.). The heated terrace, with its own dedicated bar, is ground zero for weekend brunches and late night eats (415-496-6858).
Paragon Bar & Café: Watch the fog roll in over the San Francisco skyline while basking in the warm Berkeley sun on the terrace of this American cafe in the Claremont Hotel that serves food and hand-shaken cocktails from brunch through late night (510-549-8585).
Park Chow: The chow’s not fancy but the heated rooftop patio at this Inner Sunset eatery beckons. Ok, so its high walls prevent diners from actually getting a view of the nearby environs, but the retractable roof, which is pulled in warm weather, allows for alfresco dining (415-665-9912).
Passion Café: A French bistro in the most unlikely locale- SoMa’s seedy Sixth Street – might have been a hard sell, but not so with its rare rooftop oasis. After a slew of recent acts of vandalism, its fate is unclear, but as of now, the cafe and its coveted patio remains open (415-437-9730).
Rustic, Francis’s Favorites: Francis Ford Coppola’s new Disneylandesque wine wonderland (restaurant, winery tasting room, cabanas) up in Geyserville also includes an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards of Alexander Valley, a perfect perch for enjoying Mrs. Scorsese’s lemon chicken after a dip in the pool (707-857-1400).
Bocanova: Located in the revitalized Jack London Square, dine outside on delicious Pan-American food while enjoying the view of the Bay. If you live in SF, it is a quick ferry ride over. (510-444-1233)
Top of the Mark: Though it doesn’t offer any alfresco seating, this Downtown sky lounge perched on the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental offers views so spectacular, we’re willing to make an exception. It serves lunch, sunset dinners, decadent Sunday champagne brunch and over 100 different martinis. Live entertainment Tuesday–Saturday gild the lily (415-616-6916).
The Meadowood Grill: Where else can you dine on Californian cuisine while watching croquet? This casual cousin to the fancy-pants Restaurant at Meadowood, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the fairways, allows guests and day-trippers to do just that (707-968-3144).
Medjool: The trendy Sky Terrace at this Mediterranean restaurant and lounge affords 360-degrees of the Mission. And though there have been reports that it’s up for sale, it’s still the place to drink and eat meze (415-550-9055).
Nepenthe: Snag a beer, an Ambrosia burger and a seat on the terrace at this hippie-era Big Sur cafe perched on a craggy cliff above the Pacific, and you’ll never want to leave (831-667-2345).
Orchard Garden Hotel: There’s no food or cocktail service up here, but guests can simply grab grub at the Roots restaurant on the first floor and tote them up to enjoy the Downtown views at this hotel’s little known 500-sq.-ft. rooftop terrace decorated in classic English garden style.
Sam’s Anchor Cafe: Come grab Sunday brunch at this seafood restaurant in Tiburon. If it is sunny out, people definitely flock hereto drink on their huge deck with boat access….all day. (415-435-4527)
Marengo on Union: Whiskey, sliders, and a retractable roof make this an easy place to hang if you are in the Marina. They also just rolled out a new brunch menu for the weekends. (415-441-2575)