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Boston area beer gardens, patio bars, outdoor games?

I'm looking for suggestions on Boston area beer gardens / patio bars. Something like Zeitgeist in San Francisco - picnic tables in a back yard kind of thing, NOT upscale, NOT streetside, something with a relatively large space would be ideal. Searching around, I've seen Charlie's Kitchen as a possibility but the outdoor area seems pretty small.

Also wondering about any bars with outdoor games - horse shoes, bocce / p├ętanque, or the like.


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  1. Many places will not allow you to drink outside without ordering food- I believe it is a Boston, or perhaps a MA law. just a heads up.

    5 Replies
    1. re: cassoulady

      The City of Boston controls that licensing.

      Few exceptions I can think of are Tia's and The Landing..both on Long Wharf. You can also order a drink at the bar at Barking Crab without food

      1. re: 9lives

        It should be cross-stiched on a sampler "no cocktails without a meal when sitting outside." We are provincial folk here Boston arent we 9lives.... I was amazed when they okd booze being sold on sundays.

        1. re: cassoulady

          wish I would have known before I moved here. lame!

          1. re: cassoulady

            Boston is tough when it comes to liquor licenses, especially outdoors. Walk by Tia's on a Friday night and you can see/hear why residential neighborhoods like Back Bay don't want that type of place.

            There have been attempts to get a seafood restaurant at the end of Long Wharf and a restaurant on the Frog Pond in Boston Common but both have hit snags over how late they could stay open and alc licensing. The Landing has to close at some ridiculous hour, maybe 10PM..in order to be licensed.

            For Southern Wayfarer, you might want to check out Marina Bay in Quincy. There are a number of restaurants; ranging from ok to poor (maybe someone else can give specifics) and a large outdoor area serving drinks with volleyball court, and bands some evenings and Sun afternoons. It used to be called Waterworks. It can be fun on a Sunday afternoon...gets a "20 something club crowd" at night. Not my cup of tea; but plenty of people seem to enjoy it. It's not upscale and has a great view of the Harbor and Boston Skyline.


            1. re: 9lives

              The Tent! I spent many a weekend there 15 years ago. Not upscale at all and really only tolerable if you are not the designated driver.

      2. Within Boston Proper there is no space like the Zeitgeist. I wish there was. I usually go to Shays, Charlies Kitchen, or the other side cafe for patio/outdoor drinks.

        1. I enjoy Deep Ellum's porch and the Cambridge Brewing Company patio.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PaulB

            Deep Ellum's porch is great, but it's pretty tiny.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Agreed (so is the restaurant itself) but it's the only place in the Boston area I can think of with a Zeitgeist quality craft beer list that is not streetside.

          2. Daedalus in Harvard Square has a roof deck.

            A friend brought me to a bar that had outdoor bocce a few years ago. It was in Newton...I don't remember the name of it or know if it's still there. Does anyone else?

            45 1 2 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA

            2 Replies
            1. re: CityPork

              I'm pretty sure you're talking about Yerardi's. They have a bocce court in the back, outside.

              1. re: daikon

                Yes! After googling Yerardi's it looks like it closed. Too bad.

            2. For the next 2 weeks, you can check out the Volvo Ocean Races at Fan Pier..few outdoor bars, and sailing simulation games...temporary but worth a trip.

              Few bars in that area too with outdoor spaces; Atlantic Beer Garden and Seaport Grille.

              Don't know where you can find horshoes or bocce,

              1. The Blarney Stone on Dot Ave has a large outdoor seating area. Being, as it is, in a parking lot, it's definitely NOT upscale.

                1. Not much in Boston as others have posted. Bertucci's in Brookline Village used to have Bocce, not sure if they still do. Real estate is too high and the season too short in the city for such an investment. There is a bar in Wilmington like that, can't recall the name .I think yhe Columbus Club in Framingham has bocce and is train accessible.Call if members only.Great Italian food too. Effins last resort in Smithfield, RI has a volleyball court and an olympic size pool. Cold Effin beer, decent Effin burgers.Most outside game areas are well outside the city.

                  1. The Union Grill in Newton Centre has a nice outdoor area, best in late afternoon and very busy in the evening.

                    CBC and Charlie's Kitchen are the others I'd recommend, sure would like to see more.

                    1. Audubon has a little patio/garden out back. Definitely not big enough for games, but I really like their food (particularly the grilled shrimp app) and it's a great place to sit on a nice night. The Green Briar in Brighton also has a sort of beer garden out back. It's not a place you'd seek out for food :).