Find Atlanta’s best options for al fresco dining

It's patio season, Atlanta. Each of the following places provides open-air seating and a sunny expanse for you to enjoy with a great meal and a refreshing beverage, whether it be a salt-rimmed fruity margarita, a perfectly chilled beer or the South’s famous sweet tea.

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Living Intown magazine. 

King + Duke
Looking out onto the business district in the heart of Buckhead, King + Duke's oasis of a patio
provides a respite from summer traffic jams and long workdays. The restaurant features a blue-tiled standalone outdoor bar and a lounge area with comfortable chairs perfect for those settling in for a cocktail or two. The cabana-style seating layout provides an ideal setting for happy hour with friends, complete with cocktails and appetizers. 3060 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-477-3500.

Insider tip:
In addition to King + Duke, most Ford Fry restaurants have great outdoor spaces: JCT. Kitchen's second-floor bar features a view of industrial West Midtown and a peek at the city skyline over the development's bridge; No. 246 offers Italian food and a secluded patio complete with a pingpong table; and you can enjoy a game of mini-golf before your seafood dinner at The Optimist.

Six Feet Under
The quintessential casual happy hour spot, Six Feet Under's two locations both sport rooftop decks and menus heavy on Southern seafood. Look for raw bar offerings; tacos stuffed with fried chicken, calamari or blackened shrimp; and oyster po' boys alongside draft beer by the pint or the pitcher and a variety of summery cocktails. The Grant Park address overlooks beautiful Oakland Cemetery, while the skyline views from the West Midtown restaurant can make Atlantans proud. 437 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-523-6664; 687 11th St., Atlanta. 404-810-0040.

Barcelona Wine Bar
The Inman Park outpost of this tapas restaurant boasts a menu of Spanish-inspired small plates
along with some intriguing North African dishes compliments of the Egyptian-born chef. The boisterous weekend scene can get crowded, but skip the long wait times by making a pre-sunset reservation for a relaxing dinner on the wraparound patio, which has street-facing seats great for people-watching and a secluded open-air area complete with a fireplace for chilly nights. Be sure to start the meal with a cheese and charcuterie plate. 240 N. Highland Ave. NE 404-589-1010.

Kevin Rathbun Steak 
Kevin Rathbun's covered patio at the iconic Inman Park steakhouse
is situated in a former cotton warehouse dating to the 1890s. Coming in at 900 square feet, the outdoor addition sits just off the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail and has a cozy seating area, standing cocktail space and a 16-foot brick fireplace. Stop by the patio for drinks and the restaurant's famed eggplant fries, or an order of lobster fritters, then head indoors for a steak dinner. 154 Krog Street, Atlanta. 404-524-5600.

Raging Burrito
Many a perfect afternoon can be spent over a cold beverage paired with chips, veggie chili con queso and guacamole at Raging Burrito, a restaurant often overlooked thanks to Decatur's craft cocktail resurgence. The menu includes classic quesadilla or taco plates as well as more innovative orders such as the Bangkok and Jamaican Jerk burritos. Round out the meal with a pitcher of beer or margaritas on the large, walled-in garden patio underneath leafy tree branches and strands of fairy lights. And don't forget to ask your server about the Mona Lisa mural. 141 Sycamore Street, Decatur. 404-377-3311.

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar
While Ponce City Market continues to develop in the old Sears building on Ponce de Leon Avenue, local coffee shop Dancing Goats is set up at an adjacent location. The café itself is quite small, with only a few seats at the bar; but the Batdorf & Bronson coffee is strong, and the airy, expansive screened-in patio cannot be beat. It's peppered with small tables and Adirondack chairs, and two large porch swings hang against the back wall, making this the perfect spot to catch up with good friends over an iced mocha and some of Duck's Cosmic Kitchen's sugar doughnuts. 650 North Avenue, Atlanta. 404-874-0370.

Greenwood's on Green Street
Hidden around the corner from Roswell's bustling Canton Street, Greenwood's serves up some of the metro area's best Southern food in one of the city's most whimsical, colorful settings. The menu warns that the fried chicken takes at least half an hour to prepare, but it remains a popular item with any two of the spot-on sides and a big glass of sweet tea. Although portions are huge, try to save room for a slice of house-made pie. And in the right weather, sit on the covered deck overlooking Greenwood's garden — a lush wonderland overgrown with plants and vegetables. 1087 Green St., Roswell. 770-992-5383