When the sun is shining, gather your friends for a gourmet getaway in Lawrence – patios aplenty await. Consider this your invitation to delicious meals and thirst-quenching beverages.

I’ve logged hours dining as a local, often with a beer or cocktail in hand so that I can vouch for the following round-up of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating. 


Upscale Dining With Delightful Patio Views



Culinaria Patio - via Culinaria's FB

Photo via Culinaria on Instagram

At Culinaria, a quaint Mediterranean restaurant, couples, and small groups meet for dinner as the sun goes down. The Eastside eatery serves shareable appetizers and feasts for two, or diners can opt for popular entrees like Chicken Shawarma or Pan-Roasted Salmon. I recommend the appetizer, Crispy Cauliflower, which arrives beautifully plated with fresh herbs on a bed of babaganoush. It’s a meal in itself.

Entree at Culinaria

Happy Hour includes 25 percent off most cocktails through the summer months. Toast to chill vibes with a wine flight or seasonal cocktail, or share a bottle of Torre Oria Cava bubbly.

Merchants Pub & Plate

Merchants on Final Fridays

For years, outdoor dining fans have enjoyed leisurely liberations and farm-to-table meals at Merchants Pub & Plate. The Mass Street restaurant doesn’t adhere to a fancy dress code; however refined drinks and elevated recipes are standard. Ask the hostess for a shaded table under a turquoise patio umbrella.

Merchants Brussels Sprouts

Follow my lead and create a progressive patio dining experience, starting with an appetizer. The caramelized Brussels sprouts are a standout selection and are shareable amongst fellow foodies. At dinnertime, let the conversation flow between bites of Prime Strip Loin with bordelaise sauce. The bar’s selection of wine and spirits is first-rate. Order $5 feature craft cocktails from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Restaurants Serving International Cuisine For Warm-Weather Dining


The Mad Greek

The Mad Greek Patio

The Mad Greek is where you dine when craving authentic Mediterranean food enjoyed outdoors. The flaming cheese dish, Saganaki, will have you exclaiming, “Opa!” before the main course arrives when Mousaka and Souvlaki impress. It’s an unforgettable dining experience locals have loved since 1988. I’m not embarrassed to confess I ordered what must have resembled the entire menu one year for a birthday meal.


Salty Iguana

Iguana Dip Salty Iguana

Photo via Salty Iguana on Facebook

Salty Iguana is the best cantina-like patio in town. Take it from me, a one-time server at the restaurant, and order a large bowl of Iggy Dip (white pepper cheese with spinach) and chips when you place your drink order. At Happy Hour, half-priced margaritas kickstart the fiesta from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. You can’t go wrong ordering sizzling fajitas or barbacoa tacos. 

Taverns Where The Game Is As Equally Important As The Camaraderie



Johnny's Tavern Patio

Johnny’s Tavern North and Johnny’s Tavern West are ideal for cheers over beers — KU and Kansas City sports games often air from big-screen televisions viewable on the patio. Serving as the home of the KU Rugby Football Club since 1964, it attracts sports fans and players alike. Order a pizza and wings (spicy, if you dare).


Red Lyon Tavern

Red Lyon Tavern Patio

Guinness pours are customary at Red Lyon Tavern, a downtown bar catering to soccer fans, which serves over 20 beers on tap. The patio is the place to be when the game isn’t airing. A Mass Street mainstay, the tavern is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its pub-like atmosphere, a place to escape after the work day ends.

Brew Pubs Promising a Bonafide Good Time


Free State Brewing Company

Free State Brewery Blood Orange Radler

Free State Brewing Company gets top billing when you’re seeking a pint of craft beer and a chef-driven menu. Gone are the days of the dollar pint special on Mondays (oh, the nostalgia!) Yet the patio remains lively, with drinkers enjoying flagship favorites like Yakimaniac IPA and Copperhead Red Ale. Whether you’re drinking a pint while waiting for a table or unwinding after work, it's one of Mass Street's most popular gathering places. 


Fields & Ivy Brewery

Fields & Ivy Brewery

Photo via Fields & Ivy on Facebook

At Fields & Ivy Brewery, the Eastside watering hole caters to drinkers who appreciate a beer garden atmosphere on a good weather day. Order a Summer Pasture American Wheat or a flight of four beer selections to sip while enjoying the Kansas sunshine. The spacious patio makes a great day drinking spot – always order a pizza to share.

Late-Night Food For Noshing Patio-Style


Burrito King

If you know a Lawrence local, they’ve likely ordered late-night Mexican food at Burrito King after the bars closed. Although the patio is small, it’s a suitable place to chow down on a burrito or several crispy tacos. If you’re more of a morning person, they’re open at 7:00 a.m. Monday - Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.


Casual Gathering Places for Drinking With Friends


Louise's West

Bloody Mary at Louise's West

Photo via Louise's West on Facebook

At Louise’s West, the party spills onto the patio, especially on Wednesdays when schooners of domestic beer are on special or on Sundays when a round of Bloody Marys is customary. Expect laid-back vibes with palpable energy reminiscent of a college house party. You’ll likely run into a few friends from the neighborhood.


Harbour Lights

Harbour Lights

Photo via Harbour Lights on Instagram

The oldest bar in town, Harbour Lights, is where you go when you want to sip a cold one or three without judgment. Beyond the dive bar’s interior, a two-story back patio is a lounge for billiards or dart players between games. The drinks are cheap, and the conversation is lively. Don’t be surprised if you lose track of time. It’s easy to do in good company.