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Where to Dine Al Fresco in NYC

dsc09382Granted, the chairs may require a bit of a wipe down after all of the rain we’ve had, but now that it’s spring, there’s little to keep us from the long-awaited enjoyment of eating and drinking outside!  So here are eight great spots for sipping rosé in the sun the whole season through, from the High Line Hotel’s Alta Linea, inspired by a chic Italian piazza, to an oyster bar on a boat, Grand Banks, gently bobbing astride the Hudson River…

Alta Linea

Alta Linea
180 10th Ave
Chelsea,New York 10010
(212) 933-9735

Back for its second season, this entirely out-of-doors venue (located in the High Line Hotel courtyard) seeks to emulate cosmopolitan Italian piazzas, with a bubbling fountain, a marble bar, white umbrella-topped tables and yellow striped cushions on the banquettes.  And the chic and breezy menu follows suit, with a beverage menu of Frozen Negronis, Frozen Lemon Sgroppinos and Aperol Spritzes from L’Artusi and L’Apicio’s Joe Campanale, and edibles such as Crab and Grapefruit Insalata, Fried Artichokes with salsa verde, Black Cod with morels and Roast Chicken with ramps, devised by new chef Francis Peabody; formerly of dell’anima and Mission Cantina.

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Grand Banks

Grand Banks
225 West St.
New York 10013
(212) 960-3390

You can’t get more al fresco than slurping oysters and sipping Sancerre on a boat.  Located aboard a historic wooden schooner, and docked on Pier 25 in Hudson River Park, this stationary bar and eatery offers some of the city’s best views.  And the menu is killer, too.  There’s a selection of raw options like Navy Points, Peconic Gold, Black Duck Salt and Royal Miyagi, Soft Shell Crab served with ramp dressing, haricot verts, fiddlehead ferns and pickled smoked okra, Lobster Rolls tossed with a dulse emulsion and piled in a toasted bun, and a Pan Roast of oysters and clams with ramps, oyster root and crisp kale croutons.

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Narcissa

Narcissa
21 Cooper Sq
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 228-3344

While the chef’s counter is the most sought-after spot at Narcissa during the colder months, you’ll want to seek refuge in the glorious, bucolic and utterly private garden now that it’s spring.  And since ingredients are frequently sourced from owner André Balazs’ Hudson Valley farm, dishes have gotten a seasonal makeover as well; think a Salad of greens, strawberries, pistachios and smoked gouda, Haricot Vert teamed with nori breadcrumbs and torn kale, Poultry Liver Mousse paired with fried green tomatoes and baby zucchini, and Rotisserie Chicken served with snap peas and morel mushrooms.

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Birds & Bubbles

Birds & Bubbles
100B Forsyth St
Lower East Side,New York 10002
(646) 368-9240

Located in Grotto’s old space, this elevated southern spot has access to a pretty terrific backyard; a light-strung, plant-lined oasis which extends seamlessly from the back of the restaurant, and is just the place for partaking in two outside staples; Buttermilk Fried Chicken (served with Heirloom Grits, Collard Greens and Seasonal Slaw) and champagne, such as Veuve Fourny et Fils Brut Rose, and Clotilde Davenne Cremant de Bourgogne.

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99 Gansevoort St
Meatpacking District,New York 10014

You can enjoy Michael Anthony’s entire, seasonal American menu (which currently includes Fingerling Potato Salad with yuzu and charred ramps, Asparagus with green onion and sea urchin, and Sea Bass with field peas and fennel) on the wraparound terrace surrounding the Whitney Museum’s attractive eatery, sandwiched by glittering glass on one side, and the thrum of the water-adjacent Meatpacking District on the other.  And (not like we needed any extra convincing), they’re even featuring a special rosé promotion during the entire month of May; to welcome spring and support the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, with a $1 from each glass and $4 from every bottle benefiting the cause.

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Rosie’s

Rosie’s
29 E 2nd St
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 335-0114

Mexican food and drink is infinitely better when enjoyed outdoors.  So when Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman set out to open Rosies last spring, they commissioned Blue Hill’s Asfour Guzy to design the dynamic, airy space, with retractable doors that open straight onto the street side, corner patio.  What better way to enjoy the quirky and colorful panorama of the East Village, than with heirloom corn antojitos — such as Tostadas with albacore tuna or Huaraches with green chorizo and crema — in one hand, and a Mango Margarita in another?

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Mulberry Project

Mulberry Project
149 Mulberry St
Little Italy,New York 10013
(646) 448-4536

This Little Italy speakeasy (prized by those in the know for its quality, custom cocktails) is fronted by an unmarked red door, which means that everything beyond it comes as a total surprise.  Most especially, its 900-square foot subterranean backyard, dubbed “La Isla Escondida” (the hidden island), and featuring regular pig roasts, Latin bites, slushy, fruity tipples concocted by a revolving roster of some of the city’s most admired mixologists, and works from some of New York’s hottest street artists propped against the white wicker and bare brick walls.

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Sessanta

Sessanta
60 Thompson St
Soho,New York 10012
(212) 219-8119

Situated in the chic SIXTY Soho hotel, John McDonald’s coastal Italian Sessanta (with a menu of White Anchovy Crostino, Fritto Misto, Pasta Con Sarde and Branzino Acqua Pazza, from Bowery Meat Company’s Paul DiBari) has its fair share of amenities.  But come spring and summer, the most appealing might just be the 30-seat patio and Spritz Cart, offering tableside service of a variety of aperitifs, wine and garnishes, which can be mixed and matched in order to create your ideal, seasonal drink.

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