Charlotteans love eating outside. It’s one of the major perks of living here, given the mild weather for most of the year.
That means it’s patio-terrace-outdoor-dining-space weather for a good part of the year, too. Here’s a list of places where you can enjoy dining with a view.
Enjoy the skyline from a distance
The Peculiar Rabbit. From the rooftop, you can watch the sun melt into the skyline. Alternatively (or if a bar-ish menu doesn’t appeal), try its more creative meal, brunch. In Plaza Midwood. 1212 Pecan Ave., Charlotte.
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Vivace at the Metropolitan. A handsome, urban setting, this seating area (as well as nearby Hickory Tavern’s and Dressler’s) also looks out on the gorgeous greenway. You’ll see walkers and bike riders, and the occasional duck if you’re attentive. In Midtown. 1100 Metropolitan Ave., Building E, Suite 100.
Luna’s Living Kitchen. A raw food menu, with a polished terrace that overlooks the light rail line. South End. 2000 South Blvd. Suite 300 Charlotte.
For more light rail views see also: Futo Buta (222 E. Bland St., Charlotte) and Big Ben British Restaurant and Pub (2000 South Blvd., Charlotte).
The uptown view: Close-up
Fahrenheit. A stupefying view, fire pits, enough wind to make it just a little shivery up there on the 21st floor: It’s an elegant place and City Selfie Central. Get drinks. 222 S. Caldwell St., Charlotte.
Halcyon. Here, you’re gently lifted just above Tryon, at Levine Avenue of the Arts, so you also get a view of arts patrons heading to events. 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte.
Vida. Sip tequila at the EpiCentre and gaze down onto Trade and College traffic (and on a busy night, be happy you’re above the madding crowd). Relax. 210 E Trade St., Charlotte.
Sea Level. A 500-square-foot patio overlooks Fifth Street at this restaurant focusing on sustainable, farm(!)-to-fork seafood. Located at Hearst Tower. 129 E. Fifth St., Charlotte.
City Lights, a rooftop bar atop Le Méridien Charlotte, offers cocktails, bar eats and 360-degree views of the skyline -- and while you're there, you might pop in on the ground floor's Craft City Social Club, where the Nuevo Latino bites and drinks are served poolside. Yes, poolside. 555 S. McDowell St., Charlotte.
131 Main. Area locations have fire pits, and though spaces differ, all have a rustic and comfortable feel. Lake Norman location: 17830 Statesville Road, Cornelius. Blakeney: 9886 Rea Road, Charlotte.
Village Tavern. This old favorite looks out over Symphony Park near SouthPark Mall, has two fire pits, and has been one of the roomiest in town since the ’80s. 4201 Congress St., Charlotte.
All three of these – Deejai Thai in Myers Park (613 Providence Road, Charlotte), Common Market in Plaza Midwood (2007 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte) and Sir Edmond Halley’s (4151 Park Road, Charlotte) on the back side of Park Road Shopping Center – surprise with their alcove/terrace/hideaways, each garden-y too, to varying degrees.
Spacious and gracious
RuRu’s. It took forever to complete, and the result is a beautiful space at the historic Reynolds-Gourmajenko House. 715 Providence Road, Charlotte.
Selwyn Avenue Pub. A longstanding community favorite (so expect a crowd), it’s equipped with heaters and lots of screens. 2801 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte.
BluNotes. This University area spot featuring live jazz and blues and New Orleans cooking includes a heated patio. 3425 David Cox Road, Charlotte.
Nolen Kitchen (2839 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte), Bonterra (1829 Cleveland Ave., Charlotte), Customshop (1601 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte) and Napa on Providence (110 Perrin Place, Charlotte) share a certain savoir faire, along with upscale menus and some interesting alcohol choices.
Most-populated-by-patios stretch of town
Patios/outdoor areas where you’d actually want to sit, that is, and stroll between – I’d call this a clear win for the half-mile-or-so of Central Avenue and cross streets in Plaza Midwood.
That’s including – but not limited to – Pint Central (1226 Central Ave.), Bistro La Bon (1322 Central Ave.), Midwood Smokehouse (1401 Central Ave., Suite 101), Soul (1500 Central Ave.), Thomas Street Tavern (1218 Thomas Ave.), Zada Jane’s (1601 Central Ave.) and Whiskey Warehouse (1221 The Plaza, Charlotte), plus others mentioned elsewhere here.
At press time, Fern was in this group (1323 Central Ave.) but preparing to move onto the second-place place: East Boulevard.
That lineup includes, but isn't limited to, 300 East (300 East Blvd.), Copper (311 East Blvd.), JJ’s Red Hots (1514 East Blvd.) and the Summit Room (1531 East Blvd.), plus others mentioned here; add Nan and Byron’s (1714 South Blvd.), Tupelo Honey (1820 South Blvd.) and The Liberty (1812 South Blvd.) if you’re considering ’round the corner on South).
Montford Drive gets a nod, with the tree-trunked Brazwell’s (1627 Montford Drive) and game-y 10 Park Lanes (1700 Montford Drive) among them.
VBGB. A biergarten that adds supersize chess, Connect Four and Jenga games to the mix, at NC Music Factory (Note: No, we’re not listing all the breweries that have outdoor spaces, but plenty of them do.)
RockSalt (512 Brandywine Road, Suite 500) at Park Road Shopping Center, with a greenway view; Toscana (6401 Morrison Blvd., Suite 680) at Specialty Shops in SouthPark with an Italian-courtyard feel (and fountain) and Blue Taj (14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 170) at Ballantyne, for those who seek a changing-color light show.
To the north: North Harbor Club in Davidson. “Dock and dine” if you’re boating to this place; otherwise, park yourself and enjoy the lakeside view. 100-D North Harbor Place, Davidson.
To the south: Tapas 51 in Fort Mill, S.C. has a little deck out front and a second outdoor area with seating.3415 Highway 51 N., Fort Mill.
Also, The Pump House restaurant in Rock Hill, S.C., a former industrial pump house-turned-riverside eatery, has a rooftop bar with dramatic views of the Catawba River. 575 Herrons Ferry Road, Rock Hill.
To the west: Stringbean in Belmont. Ten minutes down Wilkinson Boulevard from the airport, this is spacious, shaded and offers a meat market/deli and wine/beer shop on the side. 106 N. Main St., Belmont.
Keep up with restaurant news and reviews at www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/restaurants.
2016 LIVING HERE GUIDE
Coming in print and online on Sunday, Sept. 18, your full guide to living in the Charlotte area. Discover the natural riches of our region; the diversity of neighborhoods; places to dine, hike, watch sporting events; partake in theater, music, a mug of local brew, and so much more. Mecklenburg County passed the 1 million population mark in 2014, and development in the region continues to boom. Even if you've lived in the area for many years, there are many new experiences to discover.