16 places to drink and dine al fresco in KC this summer
By Mary Henn and Martin Cizmar | Photography by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden
Summer is here to stay, which has us thinking about the best way to cool off—sitting on an evening patio in the warm breeze with a crisp cocktail in hand. Here, we’ve rounded up sixteen of the best open-air dining and drinking spots around the city, including stylish spots with seasonal cocktails, bars with live music and a new beer garden so nice we almost wanted to keep it to ourselves.
2700 Guinotte Ave., KCMO
Electric Park is the Rieger’s new outdoor bar in the back of the distillery. The idea for the menu was inspired by the amusement park located in the East Bottoms in the early twentieth century (from which the new outdoor venue gets its name). Today, Electric Park is a hip patio space with fire pits, cozy seating, pergolas and a swing set table where you can get boozy snow cones, smash burgers and mini key lime and chocolate pies.
2512 Holmes St., KCMO
Teocali is one of the best family Mexican spots in town, and this patio is part of the reason why. Situated on the west side of the second-floor dining room, it has a roof for shade and stays a lot cooler than most patios in the city—or, with the garage doors down in the winter, warmer. There’s a brick floor, wrought iron patio furniture and views of the Beacon Hill neighborhood’s charming brick mid-rises. There’s no place we’d rather crush baskets of chips and salsa with the sun setting.
2101 Central St., KCMO
Crossroads Hotel’s seasonal rooftop bar Percheron boasts some of the best views of downtown KC, and this year they launched their summer concert series. This summer, the menu features small tapas-inspired plates like shrimp ceviche and jamón y queso. They’ve also got a giant Pineapple Punch Bowl that you can get with tequila, mango and banana or vodka, lemon and apricot—the bowl serves six for $90.
Border’s Beer Garden
512 E. 18th St., KCMO
Border Brewing moved just one block north of its old location in the Crossroads last year, gaining a lot of space for production and more seats in the taproom. But make your way out the back door to the patio and you’ll find the biggest advantage of the new location. The patio is the size of a suburban backyard and has shade trees, wood chips underfoot and a mix of picnic tables and metal stools for seating. You will drink under the watchful gaze of an evil Krusty the Clown.
3835 Main St., KCMO
Canary claims to be the highest rooftop bar in KC, and while we have not broken out a measuring tape to verify this boast, you won’t be skeptical standing atop a midtown high-rise with views of the Plaza to the south and downtown to the north. Especially not under the evening lights and with one of Canary’s signature cocktails in slushie form in your hand.
320 Southwest Blvd., KCMO
Blvd Tavern is a hidden gem in the Crossroads. The patio seating is in a brick alleyway with string lights and feels like a little spot you might find in a place like New York, where the owner and chef Derek Nacey is from. This spot has great apps like fried cheese curds and truffle fries and happy hour from 4–6 pm Wednesday through Friday.
PHOTO BY ZACH BAUMAN
1829 Oak St., KCMO
If you haven’t been to the outdoor space at Brewery Emperial, have you even been to KC? The gravel area at this Crossroads brewery fills up at the first sign of good weather. It’s spacious and filled with picnic tables to fit big groups. On cool nights, the firepits are lit to give a campground kind of feel. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.
Clay & Fire
815 W. 17th St., KCMO
Clay & Fire is a Near Eastern restaurant with a heavy Turkish influence that sits in a little house on top of the hill in the Westside. That former home’s front yard elevated a few steps above street level behind a thick stone wall and a hedgerow has been converted to a cozy patio shaded by a flowing tree.
1599 Iron St., North Kansas City
Where else can you get sushi and tiki cocktails from shipping containers? Nowhere else in KC, that’s for sure. The Iron District is that unique collage of colorful metal in North Kansas City that comes to life during the summer months. The space hosts weekly events like Trivia Thursdays, local DJs and live music.
4901 Meadowbrook Parkway, Prairie Village
Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village aims for “East Coast beach resort vibes.” You’ll see that in Verbena‘s menu, which includes lobster bisque, raw oysters and fried crab. The interior of this upscale restaurant is lovely, but on a nice day, the shaded patio offers views of the nearby pond and park.
7313 W. 80th St., Overland Park
This popular food hall in downtown Overland Park has an expansive patch of artificial turf outfitted with Adirondack chairs. It’s a large space that gets lots of direct sunlight, but the food options inside are plentiful and diverse.
Gram & Dun
600 Ward Parkway, KCMO
For certain people, this reborn Plaza mainstay has THE patio. After a decade under its original ownership, the gastropub was taken over by the owner of Taco Republic during the pandemic. Almost everything changed, but the patio remains so popular they won’t even let you have happy hour deals there.
Fox & Pearl
2143 Summit St., KCMO
Like every nook of this historic building, the patio at Fox & Pearl shows the excellent eye for design possessed by Kristine Hull, the restaurant’s co-owner and wife to chef Vaughn Good. String lights are hung between brick walls, leafy trees, stylish wood patio furniture and plentiful planters. When the weather is going to be nice, a weekend dinner spot on this patio is one of the hottest reservations in town.
703 Southwest Blvd., KCMO
La Bodega is a staple on Southwest Boulevard, with its bright colors, Spanish tapas and sangria. It’s known for its sidewalk seating, weekend brunch and happy hour, which runs from 2–5 pm throughout the week. La Bodega is one of the few places in KC where you can get classic Spanish fares like croquetas and paella.
204 Orchard St., KCK
The Mockingbird Lounge is a small gem in KCK that’s always sure to be a good time, whether it’s karaoke night, a live band show or some other event. Locals gather here regularly, making the joint feel like a friend’s house. Their summer margaritas—like the coconut marg and blueberry marg on tap—are a great way to cool off on a warm evening. The patio is out back, and it’s small but cozy—a little like being in someone’s backyard.
Harry’s Country Club
112 E. Missouri Ave., KCMO
Built in the 1870s as one of the first local buildings made from brick following the devastation of the great Chicago fire, this spot on the southern edge of the River Market District started as a slaughterhouse. Weathered brick walls frame a large square patio that gets more lively as the night goes on, especially for those who started the night by taking advantage of the four-hour happy hour.