The definitive list: Dallas’ best patios for drinking, eating and relaxing

Dining outside is a serious hobby for Dallasites. It’s a way of life. A vibe. A passion. And it’s our pastime even if the weather is chilly or hot. But when the sun’s out and it’s 75 degrees, that’s prime patio time.

Get yourself to one of these 15 great patios in Dallas for a breath of fresh air.

Patios are listed in alphabetical order. Parking tips are included, where needed.

If you don’t live or work in Dallas proper, check out our list of the best patios in Fort Worth; and our list of the best patios in D-FW’s suburbs.

I think we can all agree: Vahan Geysimonyan, age 4, is already excelling at patios. She's pictured at The Stix Icehouse in McKinney, one of the best kid-friendly patios in the D-FW suburbs. Keep an eye out for that story on dallasnews.com/food.

(Anja Schlein)

AT&T Discovery District in Downtown Dallas

If you’re unsure whether Downtown Dallas has recovered from its COVID-19 slumber, stop by the AT&T Discovery District on a sunny weekday. The food hall has sandwiches, pizza, lobster rolls, noodles, ice cream and coffee, all which can be enjoyed out on the plaza, where Downtown Dallas dwellers and workers mingle amongst parents and kids. If you’ve got more time, find a lounge chair on the patio at Jaxon, the modern Texas restaurant behind the food hall.

  • The AT&T Discovery District is at 208 S. Akard St., Dallas. Parking can be tricky midday on weekdays; best bet is to walk or rideshare. After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, parking is free (with validation) at 1212 Jackson St.

Desert Racer on Lowest Greenville

Desert Racer on Lower Greenville in Dallas has an 8,000 square foot patio.Desert Racer on Lower Greenville in Dallas has an 8,000 square foot patio.

(Allison Slomowitz / Special Contributor)

Inside four tall walls off of Greenville Avenue is a massive patio with an all-afternoon, all-night party when the weather’s nice. Start here with drinks: a ranch water, frozen paloma or a Marg Rox served with the good ice. Then go for snacks like loaded tots, zhuzzhed-up nachos, shrimp tacos or a cheeseburger. Or just drink your dinner, like so many others will.

  • Desert Racer is at 1520 Greenville Ave., Dallas. The parking lot is behind the restaurant. The menu warns: “Do not park in the Goodwill lot: They will tow.”

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House near Casa Linda

Ask any East Dallas resident where they go to meet friends for patio drinks, and Goodfriend is likely to be high on their list. The covered outdoor patio is a great spot for corralling kids at dinnertime, and the uncovered patio is better for bigger groups. Good dogs are always welcome at Goodfriend.

  • Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House is at 1154 Peavy Road, Dallas.

Bryon and Tina Studdard relax on the dog-friendly patio at Goodfriend while their dog Dakota...Bryon and Tina Studdard relax on the dog-friendly patio at Goodfriend while their dog Dakota makes a new friend.

(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

Jose in Bluffview

The plates from Jose chef Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman are arranged beautifully.The plates from Jose chef Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman are arranged beautifully.

(Shaban Athuman / Staff Photographer)

Sometimes, restaurants have a spirit. Jose’s spirit is carefree, cheerful and colorful — but committed, when it comes to the food. Chef Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman’s dishes include salmon al pastor, shortrib enchiladas and duck confit mole, each which pair nicely with a tequila drink on the patio. If someone in your group says, “But what if it’s windy?” (… we all have that friend), a significant part of the patio is covered.

  • Jose is at 4931 Lovers Lane, Dallas.

Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown Dallas

This backyard bar will go down in history as one of the best places to stay too long and drink too much. It’s popular in the heat of the summer because there are fans and trees; it’s popular in the chill of winter because there are heaters and booze. Katy Trail Ice House is a no-brainer in the spring and fall, when the Texas weather is pleasant. Dogs and kids are welcome.

  • Katy Trail Ice House is at 3127 Routh St., Dallas. Self-parking is available but can be tough to get. Valet parking is usually available.

Katy Trail Ice House in Dallas is the quintessential bar backyard.Katy Trail Ice House in Dallas is the quintessential bar backyard.

Loro in East Dallas

Loro feels like it’s been in the neighborhood for years, but it’s just been since summer 2021 that this Asian smokehouse has been packed with coeds, lounging on the wraparound porch. Loro’s patio is a perfect stop for a group wanting to graze. Order smoked salmon dip and curried brisket rice and a round of blood orange blossoms, a fizzy gin drink.

  • Loro is at 1812 N. Haskell Ave., Dallas. A second Loro in North Texas, in Addison, is expected to open later in 2022.

Mendocino Farms in Addison

The indoor-outdoor design of this sandwich and salad shop in Addison will make you feel, if only for an hour, that you’re in its home state of California. The food at Mendo is so good, we can’t even pick a few “best” sandwiches or salads. A side? We can do that: The spicy curried couscous is excellent.

  • Mendocino Farms is at 5294 Belt Line Road, Dallas. Several other Mendocino Farms are open in North Texas or coming soon in 2022.

Mesero Prestonwood

There’s room for more than 70 people on Mesero’s patio overlooking the golf course at The Clubs of Prestonwood. Happy hour’s a good time to go, when cocktails and appetizers are each $2 off. And the Queso Mesero — with spinach, artichoke and poblano peppers — is a good way to convince yourself you’re eating your vegetables. Sometimes, Tony Romo or Jordan Spieth stop in.

  • Mesero is at 5505 Belt Line Road (east of Montfort Drive), Dallas.

Mi Cocina in Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park

Mi Cocina's Mambo Taxi is a margarita-sangria swirl. Order it inside the restaurant and...Mi Cocina's Mambo Taxi is a margarita-sangria swirl. Order it inside the restaurant and you'll get it like this. Order it from the to-go counter and you'll get one packaged to take into the park.

(Ashton Guevara)

Dallas-born restaurant Mi Cocina has set up shop in the middle of Klyde Warren Park, quite possibly one of the most iconic spots in the city. Dinner inside the restaurant or on the patio is an option, or grab a Mambo Taxi from the to-go window and walk it out into the park. A margarita under the skyline: That sounds like a quintessential Dallas evening, doesn’t it?

  • Mi Cocina has more than 20 restaurants in North Texas. This one is at 2000 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas. Valet parking is available at the restaurant, or $10 self parking spots are available near Klyde Warren; here’s a map.

Paradiso in Oak Cliff

It’s an Instagrammer’s dream at Paradiso, the breezy restaurant in the Bishop Arts District where the doors are often flung open on a pretty day. Grab a seat at the spacious bar, inside the restaurant, or on the courtyard. The stylish couches and pillows have you wishing your own patio looked this pretty. If you want another cocktail, cross the street and sit outside at Casablanca, its sister bar.

  • Paradiso 308 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas.

The Rustic in Uptown Dallas

Going someplace with a group? Head to The Rustic, where the backyard is so big, your whole happy hour team can easily find a picnic table or a circle of chairs. Country singer Pat Green is a co-owner in this bar, so sometimes he or his country-music friends show up for concerts.

  • The Rustic is at 3656 Howell St., Dallas.

The Rustic is a restaurant, bar and live music venue parked on the edge of Central...The Rustic is a restaurant, bar and live music venue parked on the edge of Central Expressway in Uptown Dallas.

(Jerry McClure)

S&D Oyster Company in Uptown Dallas

It used to be a secret, but it isn’t anymore: The French Quarter-themed courtyard at S&D Oyster Company, found if you walk all the way to the back door, is one of the loveliest places to sit right in the middle of the city. Put on your shades, then order a dozen oysters and an ice-cold martini.

  • S&D Oyster Company is at 2701 McKinney Ave., Dallas.

Smoky Rose near White Rock Lake

Better get a reservation at Smoky Rose on weekends if you don’t want to wait awhile for a seat on one of East Dallas’ most popular patios. It’s across the street from the Dallas Arboretum, and lots of families like mine stop in before or after a walk through the gardens. Smoky Rose has live music, games for kids, and an expansive patio where Mom and Dad can order one more round.

  • Smoky Rose is at 8602 Garland Road, Dallas.

I mean, look at this. Smoky Rose has one of the loveliest patios in Dallas.I mean, look at this. Smoky Rose has one of the loveliest patios in Dallas.

(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

Thunderbird Station in Deep Ellum

Thunderbird Station's menu includes Frito pies.Thunderbird Station's menu includes Frito pies.

(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

Even as cars zoom around this triangular-shaped retro bar, Thunderbird Station is one of the chillest spots to grab a patio drink in Dallas. It’s a nothing-fancy kind of place: beers in a can or in a frosty mug; cheap shots of tequila or Fireball; and snacks like pork rinds and pimento cheese on Ritz crackers. Go for the Sloppy Jalopy — a sloppy Joe topped with griddled bologna, cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños — if you ain’t scared.

  • Thunderbird Station is at 3400 Commerce St., Dallas.

Toller Patio in Old East Dallas

Toller Patio has 18 big-screen TVs on its sprawling outdoor area.Toller Patio has 18 big-screen TVs on its sprawling outdoor area.

(Courtesy Toller Patio Bar and Kitchen)

Toller Patio’s owners describe it as a “retro resort,” and that vibe extends through this deceivingly huge patio. Toller Patio is the type of place where a big group — dogs, too — can lose a few hours drinking and snacking in the sun. Plus, we’ve got to give credit to a bar and restaurant that puts “patio” right in its name. They’re serious about dining al fresco.

  • Toller Patio is at 3675 Ross Ave., Dallas.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.