If you’re in or around Kenmore Square and have an hour or two to spare before the next Red Sox game, you’re within walking distance of a couple of the city’s best places to grab a beer outside. Beer, perhaps more than any other beverage, tastes better outdoors, and more and more of the city’s best craft beer bars are offering tranquil retreats for al fresco drinking.
Step down onto the sunken patio at The Lower Depths and choose from among 150 bottles and 16 rotating drafts. Slowly-poured, cask-conditioned beers offer the perfect contrast to the horde of fans rushing to the ballpark on street level.
Audubon Boston provides a respite from the noise of game day. The restaurant taps local breweries like Jack’s Abby, Notch, and Backlash to fill out the draft list. Drinkers sit in what feels like a green space: Bamboo climbs the walls, surrounding a handful of tall tables. “It’s a nice little secluded spot in the back,” says Mason Astley, a patron who lives across the street. The space gets crowded on weekend evenings, but Astley and his wife often swing by early with their two young children.
The best patios for good brews aren’t limited to the Fenway. Notch Brewing cofounder Chris Lohring has been hitting his favorites this summer on a four-stop patio tour that has taken drinkers to Audubon, Firebrand Saints, The Sinclair, and The Independent. Lohring especially likes the communal aspect of Firebrand Saints, where long, shared tables encourage socializing. “There’s something about sitting outside that makes people want to hang out,” says Lohring.
Patios are a boon for business. Allston’s Deep Ellum expands its dining capacity by 75 percent when the patio is open, says managing partner Max Toste. The spot is known for its wide selection of German beers, many low in alcohol. The Allston bar also serves Guineu Riner, a hoppy pale ale from Spain’s Brewery Ca L’Arenys that checks in at 2.7 percent alcohol by volume. “The normal routine around Boston is places slow down in the summer and crank when the students are here,” says Toste. “For us it’s kind of the opposite.”
In Copley Square, The Salty Pig patio beckons diners in from a high-traffic area. “It’s the cover of the book,” says owner Michael Moxley. “If the cover of the book is pretty and sparkly and everyone’s having a great time, others want to join in.”
In winter, Moxley moves the chairs and tables to a storage unit in Hyde Park. “Everyone gets kind of bummed,” he says. “That’s a sad day.”
Audubon Boston 838 Beacon St., Boston, 617-421-1910. www.audubonboston.com
Deep Ellum 477 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-787-2337, www.deepellum-boston.com
Firebrand Saints 1 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-401-3399, www.firebrandsaints.com
Salty Pig 130 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-536-6200, www.thesaltypig.com
The Independent 75 Union Square, Somerville, 617-440-6022, www.theindo.com
The Lower Depths 476 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-266-6662, www.thelowerdepths.com
The Sinclair 52 Church St., Cambridge, 617-547-5200, www.sinclaircambridge.com
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.