Greensboro’s Ten Best Outdoor Drinking Spots
Solaris Tapas Restaurant
25 Summit Ave.; 336.378.0198
The winner of our online poll with nearly a third of the vote, Solaris’ triangular patio is a favorite among downtown drinkers with a preference for the al fresco experience. Comfortable seats, cool art and a great view of Davie Street as it unfurls towards the train tracks make this spot a prime one. The Solaris menu, a collection of appetizer-sized gourmet goodies, also lends itself to outdoor dining (free advice: try the fried pickles). And if you want to get a rise out of Christian, who owns the place with his wife, Courtney, tell him you heard it was a ‘topless’ restaurant (as opposed to ‘tapas’).
345 S. Elm St.; 336.274.137
Natty’s pulled second place in our internet poll (at yesweekly.com ‘— check it out) with just over 15 percent of the vote. They’ve got a great patio there on the corner of Elm and McGee that is fast becoming the place to be seen in town. The food is decent and the beer is spectacular, and if you’re fortunate enough to get a seat outside you can see the trains go by over the downtown trestle which, if you’re two or three years old, is a real treat.
200 N. Davie St.; 336.389.1010
The brick patio at CafÃ© Europa is one of the most well attended outdoor drinking spots in town. On Wednesday nights, when the wine is half price, the town’s movers and shakers (and more than a few poseurs) drift and mingle while the fountain rushes and the time and temperature wink at the top of the JP building. Wednesday nights at Europa have become something of a tradition in Greensboro, and right about now is when the weekly faithful break out their springtime get-down clothes.
The Green Bean
3410 S. Elm St.; 336.691.9990
The Green Bean is not really a bar, but they’ve got wine and beer and very good coffee. But most will tell you they come here for the Bohemian ambience, the rotating gallery of art on the walls and the funky entertainment and events. The back patio is quiet and fenced-in, and usually filled with smokers. Also, there’s a car back there behind the fence that will probably sit there for the rest of our lives; they built the fence around it and there’s no way to get it out unless they use a crane.
Ganache Bakery & CafÃ©
403 N Elm St.; 336.230.2253
Ganache has a great rooftop patio with its own bar that they open when it gets busy. It’s a bit removed from the real hubbub of downtown, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Also, Ganache makes the best girly Martinis in town (on Mondays they’re two bucks off). The Key lime Martini is thick, sweet and creamy, the glass rimmed with real Graham crackers, and the chocolate Martini is very, very satisfying.
113 S. Elm St.; 336.370.1311
Heaven brought a touch of class to downtown rooftop drinking, and by class we mean hot chick bartenders with feathered angel wings. And this is a different kind of outdoor lounge, with a DJ and a dance floor and lots of hustling going on. Open to the public only on Fridays, Heaven is definitely funky and certainly crowded and you might have a wait on your hands to get a drink or use the bathroom, but if you like the shaky-shaky then you probably won’t mind a bit.
First Horizon Park
Take me out to the ballgame and get me a big old beer. While we’ve heard some gripes about the price of suds at the new ballpark, there’s sure to be action all summer long in the friendly confines of First Horizon Park. They’re continuing the Thirsty Thursday tradition over here, but now the sponsor is Natty Greene’s so ballpark drinkers get a cup of fresh, handcrafted beer for a buck. And if ever you find yourself at the YES! Weekly party deck, remember that there’s a (pretty much) full-service bar just around the corner.
100 W. Washington St.; 336.273.7057
Liberty Oak has a fantastic menu and a wonderful wine list that complements everything they serve. And the brick terrace outside is a fine place to spend a balmy evening sipping, nibbling and watching the world go by. This is one of the oldest fine dining establishments in the city ‘— they’ve been doing it for more than 25 years ‘— and my man John Batchelor consistently rates it as one of his favorites.
313 S. Greene St.; 336.272.2474
Shucka’s pulled only 2 percent of the vote, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place to sit and tip a few. Originally conceived as a steamed seafood bar, Shucka’s has morphed into a fairly happening nighttime drinking spot with an enthusiastic crowd wedged into the space at the end of the bar. Rumor is that they’ve got some big plans in the works over here, so it’s definitely a spot to keep your eye on.
110 W. McGee St., 336.378.0204
Whoops. We forgot to include M’Coul’s rooftop drinking deck in our internet poll, a grievous oversight because it’s one of the places I like to be. It reminds me of a rooftop bar in Hoboken, NJ (Frank Sinatra’s hometown), the name of which escapes me, that has a similar feel. Of course in Hoboken the view is of the Hudson and the metropolis of Manhattan beyond while at M’Coul’s you can see the JP building, a bit of the Carolina Theatre and the parking lot below. Nevertheless, it’s a good spot.