HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


What's on your outdoor dining playlist?

Dining al fresco and music seem to go hand-in-hand. I find that when I'm having breakfast on the deck I enjoy soft instrumental -- Gershwin tunes played on the piano, for example. For lunch it's usually Diana Krall, or Nora Jones, or similar. But for dinner, it really depends on the menu, the mood and the company. (And yes, I'm the first to admit my music preferences need a serious overhaul.)

Help me revamp and update my outdoor dining playlists. What are YOU listening to this summer?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Last time we ate outside - three, four days ago - it included Molly Hatchet's "Gator Country", the Modern Jazz Quartet at Newport, "Stumblin' In", and 'cause there was too much Jersey here that night, both Southside and Bruce.

    1. Would you be terribly surprised at Jimmy Buffet? About 4 albums. Lats &Ats, Barometer Wind, Don't Stop the Carnival, and I can not remember.

      Went well with whelks in parsley butter. On the water.

      6 Replies
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          Oh, and if you don't know the MH song I mentioned upthread, check this out:


          It should be Florida's National Anthem.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            My father insists that one Jimmy CD from his entire collection be in the five disc changer at all times. Doesn't matter which one.

            1. re: melpy

              My daughter has taken me to two Jimmy Buffet concerts. Crazy fun!

            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              Jimmy Buffet is a part of my regular summer repertoire, too, IndianRiver. I've got at least a half-dozen of his CDs loaded onto my iToys. (BTW - I think you meant Barometer Soup.)

              1. re: CindyJ

                Thank you for the correction. Too lazy to go to another site to check.

                Since summer here is about 10 months, the Barefoot Man, Sauce Boss, all the Marleys, and Harry Belafonte are also in the player.

                With about an hour of classical while at anchor enjoying the first sundowner.

            3. Spotify.com set on the laptop and running thru the outdoor speakers. Pick your favorites and hit play. Recommends come by the plateful.

              This summer our playlists includes: Spoon, the soundtrack from the SHO series Shameless, Phoenix, Maroon 5, Daft Punk's new one is really good,

              Check out Spotify.

              14 Replies
              1. re: HillJ

                I'm a REALLY low-tech type. I can manage Pandora. Spotify looks a bit more complex.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  No way! Download in 3 minutes, type in musical artist and you're on your way. the free version recommends playlists.

                  here's why I dig Spotify.
                  -the free version is more than enough
                  -the library is unstoppable
                  -the commercial interrupts minimal
                  -entire albums play, entire collections play or single songs play
                  -it remembers your lists

                  so i hope you'll give it a go.
                  i stopped using Pandora & Radio Paradise in favor of

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I'll give it a try. I've already downloaded it and did notice that all of my music is in the library. But I don't need it for my own music. I'll have to summon up some patience and go play with it for a bit.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      Have fun! I have yet to stump the jukebox archive that IS Spotify. Right now I'm listening to the band, Swedish House Mafia, house music my son T loaded. Pretty good.

                      I like music that makes me move. Too soft, too calm and I'll wind up waking up from a nap :)

                      But these new music archives are truly rabbit holes, gotta love it!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        We also listen to Live At Daryl's House and Live From the Artists Den which offer concert streamed content. NPR has dozens of full length concerts too.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Live from Daryl's House has got to be one of the best things EVER on TV..
                          Hope to be playing drums while Don Henley is singing with Daryl.
                          Such a great set up and the house band is fab.

                          Just got done watching Joe Walsh at Daryl's...epic!

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            I enjoyed the shows with Todd Rundgren shot in Hawaii and when Pat from Train stopped by. But the entire archive is really fun to watch and/or listen to. Aren't they still on hiatus? I haven't rec'd any show notes since Feb. Fitz and the Tantrums did a nice gig there too. I've never watched it on tv online thru the website.

                            And if you like LDH, try out Live From the Artists Den, Squeeze in Central Park is wonderful. But all of the locations chosen are outstanding.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I DVR them and can't wait to see Todd..I've been a fan of his since the 70's and his 'Something Anything' album is one of the best albums evah..

                              Love Squeeze..and going to watch Train tonight.

                              Going to Kauai in a couple of months and he and his wife, Michele are opening a bar called Tiki Aniki...loved to jam with him!

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Now that would be fun, a TR bar...hmmm.

                                Oh and also catch Grace Potter & The Nocturnals on Live DEN

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  One more (then I'll quit, for now)
                                  YouTube's "The Live Room" collections...
                                  Halestorm's LRoom has been playing on our rotation for a while now.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                Turns out a few of the shows have been removed from the archive; including Todd R. in Hawaii. Only the home studio show is avail to watch/play. Bummer-the Island location made for a lovely backdrop to their reunion. YouTube has the show listed, stripped in sections though.

                      2. re: HillJ

                        I've considered trying Spotify instead of Pandora, but the one feature I really like is the shuffle feature on Pandora. I currently have nearly 80 "stations" checked to play in shuffle mode, so they all mix in at random. The last time I checked out Spotify, I didn't find a way to do such a thing. Is there a way?

                      3. re: CindyJ

                        Try MOG. https://mog.com/ My new favorite. Worth the coupla bucks for the premium membership. Still fun without it. Have a party and make a game outta guests takin' turns selectin' artists, albums, songs, etc.

                        I'm listening to Gretchen Wilson covering Bell Bottom Blues right now. I never, never, ever would have found it otherwise. She's missin' Duane and the Dominoes, but that was a very special band. Thanks, Delaney and Bonnie. It's still a pretty good record* though - and more importantly, fun!

                        *Yeah, I still say record. Whatcha gonna do about it?

                        1. re: MGZ

                          I know Mog's been around since 2005 and Spotify since 2007 but I prefer Spotfy and their international club and NYC HQ location.

                          Same service in the end for free members. Both clones.

                    2. A lot of nuevo flamenco or flamenco infused stuff - Gipsy Kings, Concha Buika, Ottmar Liebert, among others; jazz standards; a lot of Sting and Sade; and quite a few Putumayo compilations.

                      Fun question! :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                        I think Antonio Carlos Jobim is perfect for cocktail hour. ;) I was totally unfamiliar with Ottmar Liebert until he was mentioned here. GREAT addition!

                      2. Depends on the mood and the food but love Diana Krall, Norah Jones and Ottmar Liebart..

                        I like putting on Singers and Standards or Big Band Jazz on the TV with the surround sound that goes out to the patio.
                        French music channel is another great music channel.

                        Older Steely Dan is still one of all time fave's.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          Looks like you and I gravitate toward the same types of music Beach Chick. :) I've got a couple of Ella Fitzgerald CDs I love.

                        2. We love this collection for dining al fresco on a summer night.

                          Big Band Love Songs


                          1 Reply
                          1. The last time I ate outside it was burgers after midnight and we were blaring the Geto Boys. Sorry, friend's neighbors!

                            1. Lots of great ones already, but I'll add Django Reinhardt, Stan Getz, and Dave Brubeck.

                              1. Andrea Boccelli, Jerry Jeff Walker's Belize album, and a special plug for Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks", a great collaboration by 6 from Iceland with an enrapturing female vocalist, Nanna Bryndis.

                                1. Jimmy Buffet, Grateful Dead, etc...

                                  my love for Diana Krall is for indoors...

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                    "my love for Diana Krall is for indoors..."

                                    Interesting. My preference for classical music is for indoor listening.

                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                      Out of deference to that one line in the Blues Brothers where they steal the gig at the roadhouse, for a long while, when asked what kinda music I liked, I'd say "Both kinds, the Allman Brothers and the Dead." Which proved to be a better response than, "Sweetheart, you know I'm not here to listen to music."

                                      Seriously though, an early, hot summer evenin, eatin' shellfish out back, crunchin' corn, and chompin' into a tomato that was still on the vine an hour before, how does anyone not have a soft spot for "Blue Skies"?

                                      To my mind, Diana Krall is for the "Honey, I went to Victoria's Secret today" part of the evening."

                                      Oh, and, fellas, I got one thing to tell you. It's VERY important. Tatoo it to your arm if you have to, ok? When the lady you love says that, never, ever, never, respond by askin' "How much did you spend?"

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        "To my mind, Diana Krall is for the "Honey, I went to Victoria's Secret today" part of the evening."

                                        That's exactly what I meant by "Inside"...;-)

                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                          I kinda figured that, but, sometimes, I just gotta say things my way when I agree.

                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                            By the way, Kid, you of all people should take up my new challenge. It ain't a contest, but, permit me to call it a "thought provoker"?


                                            I almost wanna assign you the "Hell in a Bucket" wings.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              me, yeah, we did have a few words about that in an other thread...

                                              and you're correct. "Hell in a Bucket" wings is exactly the right thing for me to do and what I will work on...

                                              "At least I'm enjoying the ride"...

                                          2. re: MGZ

                                            Diana is to jazz vocals as VS is to lingerie.

                                            Gimme Ella or Billie & Aubade or MarieJo any day.

                                        2. Great post!!!

                                          Our all time fav has to be the soundtrack from Big Night.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: millygirl

                                            You just reminded me -- I've got the soundtrack from Moonstruck around here somewhere. I'm going to load it up.

                                            1. Day time alfresco is 80's music (hungry like the wolf), night time is Nina Simone.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                I'm a child of the 80s too. Growin' up at the Jersey Shore, there was a time when Born in the USA almost replaced oxygen in the air. And, although MJ wasn't my style, I know the words to pretty much every song on Thriller. I won't even mention the magic of the Grand Master and how that changed music forever (though it seems I did mention it after all, huh?)

                                                Nevertheless, don't forget about that rockabilly revival that happened. Nick Lowe, Dave Edmonds & Rockpile? Marshall Crenshaw? The Stray Cats? A lot of people forget that 50s - 80s overlap, but it makes for fun party music.

                                                Plus you can do the Hair Metal 80s. Crue, Mettalica, Whitesnake?

                                                Until Guns n Roses released their first album, 80s music was fun, stale, and easily categorized. Real rock had taken a nap. Living Color, too, blew the dust off the turnstyles. Helped change things.

                                                Duran Duran was sorta like the Broadway version of a movie. Hell, J. Giels and Aerosmith both seemed to have gotten their balls cut off on the last day of 1979. Halen hung in a bit longer, but got sliced too within a year.

                                                Sorry. If you guys wanna talk food, I'm good. If, however, you guys wanna talk music, I can play too.

                                              2. When we're enjoying an evening on the patio with cocktails, it is almost always smooth jazz on the speakers. I usually just turn on Pandora's smooth jazz station. Just seems to go hand in hand with relaxing!
                                                Sometimes, we throw some Bob Marley or Michael Buble in the mix too...

                                                1. Overall, my musical dining preferences are the same indoors and outdoors. First and foremost, it must be acoustic instrumental. When I hear lyrics, I can't talk. And talking is an essential part of the pleasure of social dining. (Exception: Bach cantatas, in an incomprehensible foreign language) And nothing too loud or dynamic---the contrast between loud and soft. So: Small group jazz, especially piano trios. Chamber music. Acoustic guitar, classical or otherwise. Some solo piano (*Not* Bartok!). Dining alone, a bit more flexible, such as Sinatra, or the Beatles. Of course, none of this will help you update your playlist!

                                                  1. Playlist? Outdoors? Unless you're one of the add gen z'ers, how about listening to the soundtrack of nature, the birds, wind in the leaves, insects, your dining companions, and such. Appreciate and relish your surroundings...Otherwise stay inside with your digital files that have the sonic quality of a beach shell

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                      Ha ha....true enough BB

                                                      duh for me, when I first responded I totally missed the al fresco part. I tend to agree. We don't have music on outside and prefer all that biscuitboy describes above.

                                                      Having said that, I don't knock those that do, it's just not our preference either.

                                                      1. re: millygirl

                                                        Yes, of course...not knocken'em either