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The coronavirus may have largely done away with summer meals in air-conditioned comfort, but at least we can still eat outside. When restaurants were permitted to open their dining rooms in late May, many in Raleigh opted only to open their outdoor seating areas, as health experts rated modified outdoor dining as less risky than indoor dining or dining without any reduced capacity or socially distanced tables. Additionally, experts say, transmission of COVID-19 is less likely outdoors due to breezes in the air and higher temperatures—less likely, but not impossible. When it comes to outdoor dining in Raleigh, we’ve noticed these restaurants are going above and beyond to take precautions for customer safety; their lovely, lively (but still socially distanced) atmospheres don’t hurt, either.
110 Park at N Hills Street | rosewaterraleigh.com
If you missed out on a lavish summer vacation this year, visit Rosewater’s stunning patio—it will transport you to a garden oasis, one that’s teeming with lush flora and fauna and the perfect atmosphere for enjoying the also-gorgeous menu of Mediterranean fare and hand-crafted cocktails. Rosewater recently covered more of its patio to accommodate additional diners on rainy days, so you can enjoy brunch and dinner there, no matter the weather.
201 W Martin Street | whiskey.kitchen
Whiskey Kitchen’s expansive patio has long been a favorite in downtown Raleigh. Umbrella-covered picnic tables are perfect for dinner date nights, office lunch outings or gathering with a group of friends for late-night drinks, while the large garage doors lend that inside-outside vibe we find ideal on hot summer days. Even before coronavirus came along, we loved how the patio tables were well spaced out; you’ll have your own bubble but you won’t feel isolated.
201 S Boylan Avenue | wyehill.com
It’s no question that Wye Hill has the best patio views in Raleigh, with the city’s skyline as a backdrop for craft beer, innovative cocktails and chef-driven bar food such as beer cheese, barbecue fries and burgers. To ensure the health of both employees and guests, the restaurant has instilled a “sales” team that takes orders, processes payments and clears plates and glassware and a “service” team to deliver food and drinks to guests, in order to reduce cross-contamination.
4242 Six Forks Road | stirraleigh.com
Our favorite spot on STIR’s patio is the outdoor bar window, where you’ll find us ordering a stream of colorful cocktails along with fresh oysters, ceviche and other refreshing seafood dishes. When STIR reopened at the beginning of phase 2, it limited parties to a maximum of 10 people and required guests to wear face masks until they reach their tables and when they use the restroom.
6401 Falls of Neuse Road | winstonsgrille.com
Winston’s wraparound patio is great for spacing tables 6 feet apart to ensure social distancing. Plus, it’s covered, meaning you can enjoy the upscale American menu even in the rain. We love that Winston’s mixes up offerings with daily specials so there’s always something new to try, though we can never pass up the signature Carolina crab dip.
309 N Dawson Street | mulinoraleigh.com
Mulino’s outdoor tables are centered around a serene blue pool and interspersed with greenery functioning as barriers between tables during COVID. The overall effect is a lavish patio environment unlike any other in Raleigh. While we can’t travel to Italy just yet, we’re more than happy to settle for Mulino’s wines, pastas and pizzas on a summer evening.
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