Whether you love to linger in the carefree moments of summer sunshine, or love eating outdoors in cooler, fall temperatures, Northern Kentucky has amazing outdoor dining and patio options! And with the current coronavirus pandemic, many people are gravitating to outdoor dining, but aren't quite ready to take the leap dine indoors. Don't worry, some of Northern Kentucky's best restaurants offer outdoor dining and amazing patios!
An old mechanic's auto garage has been turned into a hip, new restaurant. While I haven't had the pleasure of dining here quite yet, I have complete faith that it will be as amazing as everyone says simply because its owner also owns Otto's and Frida 602, which both get thumbs up from me.
Delicious Cajun fare and seafood tucked away on the banks of the the Licking River, Knotty Pine might be one of NKY's best kept secrets.
The Fairfield Cafe + Bar
Y'all, this place is a true hidden gem. We had no idea this was even here until they reached out and invited us over to see the space. Coffee drinks, a full bar, sandwiches, wraps, grab-and-go selection, pastries, plus outdoor seating... they've got it going on!
You don't want to miss this stylish wine bar in Covington, pouring more than 40 varieties of wines by the glass. Ripple also offers a seasonally inspired menu, cocktails and beer. Their newly expanded patio gives you plenty of space to spread out and enjoy while taking in the sights of the city core.
You guys, their patio is magical with the lights twinkling and the people all laughing and having a good time. And the food is delicious! Definitely add it to your list!
Yonder by Commonwealth is a unique rooftop bar inspired by the Commonwealth Bistro owners’ love of Kentucky State Parks. With a food menu that rotates weekly, you’ll always have new options to choose from!
Their name includes the word "legendary" for good reason--it's been family owned and operated since 1963 (read more about that here). We love the pizza, hoagies, and wings. Oh and those fries... yum! The outdoor seating on Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue is the perfect addition to this local favorite!
Grab some craft beer and hang out on the picnic tables all night long. Rotating food trucks provide great dining options. If you're lucky, you might catch some live music!
These guys have been frying some of the best chicken wings in NKY for years, through restaurant fires and more, so there's no way they'd let some 25% capacity rules stop them. They have built a patio and then expanded the patio to the parking lot so that they could serve their loyal patrons! Pro tip: Don't mis the wing night specials!
A fun neighborhood bar in the heart of Bellevue's Fairfield Avenue, Three Spirits Tavern serves amazing drinks, flatbreads, buffalo chicken dip, pimento crostinis, and more! Their awesome patio and live music are not to be missed!
With locations in Florence, Cold Spring, and Crestview, Barleycorn's is a great local favorite with amazing patios. We love the fried chicken and the combo appetizer! (Photo was taken last year for anyone concerned with the social distancing guidelines!)
If you want epic tacos (kangaroo anyone?) and delicious margaritas, check out Agave & Rye in Covington. They have outdoor service at picnic tables down both sidewalks.
This hidden gem in Ft. Thomas has an awesome patio to just sit back and relax. From delicious brunch, fresh salads and sandwiches, and amazing flatbread, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu!
Goodfellas Pizzeria has tables out front and two levels of patio dining in the back where you can enjoy a yummy slice of New York-style pizza. Don't forget about Wiseguy Lounge upstairs--a great place to grab a cocktail and it's also on our B-Line bourbon tour.
Guys, this place is so cool. The world of circus acts lives in harmony with love of craft beer and you have Bircus. The beer is brewed right here in Ludlow, the patio has expanded recently, and they have food trucks rotating throughout the week. Don't miss the Taco Tuesday truck!
Frida 602, named in honor of the famous artist Frida Kahlo, is a Mainstrasse favorite and serves some of the best tacos in the NKY and Cincy region. You have to try their Brussels Sprouts taco!
Located at the foot of the Roebling Bridge, The Gruff is inspired by the fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” With a full bar, brick oven pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and a great view of the bridge you won’t be able to get enough of their patio!
Pretzel sandwiches and warm soft pretzels.. what's not to love!? With outdoor seating on the sidewalk down Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue, The Pretzel Place is the perfect spot for lunch or even an afternoon snack. The smell inside is amazing--we can never leave without getting cinnamon sugar knots and the caprese sandwich!
Some argue that O'Bryon's has the best wings in NKY, so it's time to go try them for yourself! Their beautiful patio is a prime spot to settle in and catch a game on TV while you enjoy their delicious food and drink.
If you like mac & cheese, then you will love Keystone Bar & Grill because they have eight different mac & cheese dishes for you to enjoy in their outdoor dining space! Don’t worry, though, if you’re not the biggest fan of mac & cheese, they have other great options like quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
Blinkers Tavern that has not one but TWO outdoor dining areas and has been voted “Best Steak” in Northern Kentucky six years running!
Lil’s Bagels has some of the best bagels in the NKY and Cincinnati area. Some people think they're the best you can get outside NYC! They also sell sandwiches, salads, and cocktails. They also have a carryout "windough" to grab some bagels on the go!
If you haven't been to Siam Orchid before, you need to. Simply delicious Thai food! Luckily, they have awesome sidewalk seating available!
Like many other restaurants, Honey Hole in Alexandria has expanded their patio seating to take up some parking lot space, which means it'll be easier for you to grab a coveted outdoor table. Don't miss their nightly specials!
If you're from Ft. Thomas, you know about Midway Cafe, but if you aren't, it's a great local secret! The wings are delicious--and so are these slushee drinks--and are especially great when enjoyed on their sidewalk seating while watching the cars drive by the Ft. Thomas strip.
Named after the opening day pitcher for the 1913 Covington Blue Sox, Smoke Justis is a sports bar in Covington that smokes their meat on site, making for great barbeque, wings, brisket, and more. Check out their bourbon bar while you're there!
Molly Malone’s is an authentic Irish pub owned and operated by a native of The Emerald Isle. Grab a pint of Guinness and enjoy the view of the Roebling Bridge from their patio. They also host lots of live music, and have one of the best St. Patrick's Day parties in town.
One of our readers told us to check out the patio at Divine Waffles & Weck in Bromley and we can't wait! The menu looks amazing and that patio... wow! What a hidden gem!
Parlor on Seventh has recently expanded their outdoor dining area so there's plenty of seating and room to ensure social distancing. You won't be sorry you chose to dine here--everything on the menu is delicious!
To be honest, I haven't personally dined here yet, but man, their food and patio look amazing on social media! They not only had a hopping patio before Covid, they also added to it by blocking off part of the parking lot to allow for more outdoor seating to accommodate for the new guidelines. I can't wait to get here and try it out!
Darkness had an awesome patio scene before it was cool! This is an awesome patio to grab a beer and if you're lucky, a local food truck will be there too! If not, grab some dinner at one of the Fairfield Avenue restaurants nearby!
We've been enjoying food from AmerAsia for years, so you can imagine how excited we were when they added socially distanced picnic tables in the alley for an outdoor dining option! If your'e new to AmerAsia, everything's delicious, but be careful with the spice level--it sneaks up on you!
Rich's prides themselves on their oysters and southern menu offerings. They're also a member of The B-Line and one of the country's top 100 bourbon bars. So grab a seat at one of the socially distant patio tables. You won't regret it!
Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar is a stop on The B-Line and is a farm-to-table bistro known for their support of local and sustainable farming.
Otto’s Restaurant serves American and Southern style food and is known for their classic Southern dish, fried green tomatoes. They also serve an amazing brunch on weekends--be sure to make a reservation!
Transformed from the original Coppin’s Department Store, Coppin’s is infused with history and offers curated cocktails and locally sourced food like their yummy Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich. Coppin’s is also a stop on The B-Line and is dog friendly so bring your furry four-legged friend with you to experience their outdoor patio!
With a new covering for their already amazing patio, Libby's has a strong outdoor dining game! You can't go wrong with their fried chicken, burgers, or bourbon slushees! Read more in our blog about Libby's here.
Photo by Instagram user @courtney_ann_14
Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen
If you're looking for a nice outdoor patio with great landscaping, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen is an excellent option. Cheddar's has a huge menu with a wide variety of options. From fresh salads with delicious honey butter croissants, burgers, and chicken tenders to salmon, pasta, and more, they also have a large selection of side items and delicious appetizers. My personal favorite is this huge tower of onion rings!
The patio and bar are partially covered, so could be a good option for days when rainy weather is a threat. The patio is huge, so also a good bet if you have a larger party or want to keep very distanced from other people.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning Hofbrauhaus’ spacious outdoor biergarten. The Newport location is America’s first authentic Hofbrauhaus. It's located right across from Newport on the Levee. Make sure to stop in and enjoy traditions from Germany without having to leave the United States!
Located in Fort Mitchell, local favorite Greyhound Tavern recently built a large outdoor patio for customers to enjoy. Greyhound Tavern is known for their award-winning food including their fried chicken, hot brown, and large onion rings!
If you're looking for a down home pub to grab some dinner and socialize, Ft. Mitchell Pub is a great option!
Seriously the best Chicago-style pizza we've had outside of Chicago. They have a few outdoor tables, but if you don't want to wait, there's always carryout! So good!
Okay, riverfront patios are hard to beat and Cancun has a great one! When you have a craving for Mexican with a view, this is your best bet!
Lift one to life at the Rooftop at Braxton Brewing Company in Covington. Incredible views, lots of green space, beautiful lighting, and a living wall for the perfect photo opps.
Lisse has an amazing rooftop area for dining with views of Mainstrasse Village as well as the Cincinnati skyline.
Brickhouse Pub & Grub
If you're looking for delicious, down-home American fare and a relaxed atmosphere, Brickhouse Pub & Grub in Florence is your place! In addition to the mouth-watering burger and onion rings, Brickhouse features other sandwiches, pastas, chili cheese fries, and homemade desserts such as banana pudding and German chocolate cake. Yum!
Torres Mexican Steakhouse
While I haven't personally gotten to eat at Torres Mexican Steakhouse, our friends at the City of Florence recommended it and I can't wait to try it! They have a great patio dining area and the food looks amazing. *Adding it to my list right now!*
This Newport gem serves award-winning food and drink with a unique atmosphere and open-air garage doors. The pastries are phenomenal!
With locations in Cold Spring and Covington, Mac's is a great choice for pizza (or sandwiches, wings, and beer) on a patio!
Photo by Instagram user @escandelev
Drake's describes itself as a "restaurant that loves beer and a bar that loves food." I'd say that's pretty accurate! They also have a great sushi selection! With a nice outdoor patio and garage doors that open up all across the front of the bar, there's ample opportunity to enjoy your dinner or drinks in open air. My favorite thing on the menu is the crab rangoon roll!
The new Bridgeview Box Park is a great option for outdoor dining. With walk-up counter service of several local food and drink options, there's truly something for everyone. Grab your picks and settle in on the amazing patio at Newport on the Levee with the beautiful Cincinnati skyline as your backdrop!
Content written by Sarah O'Shaughnessy on October 4, 2019 and updated by Rebecca Banks on July 29, 2020.