As the weather heats up in spring and summer in Birmingham, few things compare to the experience of meeting up with friends or family to enjoy fresh food, refreshing drinks and incredible ambiance at one of the city’s restaurants with top notch outdoor seating. We asked About Town readers to rank the top patios in our Annual Reader’s Poll. Here are the five best places to pull up a chair to eat, drink, and enjoy the fresh air.

5. Bottega Café

Photo via @bottegacafebham

Voted number one in About Town’s Annual Readers Poll, Bottega Café is the less formal complement to James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Frank Stitt’s Bottega Ristorante next door. The café features quaint European-inspired tables shaded by bistro umbrellas situated on a gravel patio in front of the upscale casual Italian eatery on Highland Avenue. Menu highlights include gourmet wood-fired pizzas, pasta bowls and salads that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s impressive wine list.

Address: 2240 Highland Avenue South, on Birmingham’s Southside

4. Back Forty Beer Company  

Photo via @back40bham

Gadsden-based Back Forty joined Birmingham's thriving craft beer scene in 2018 with the opening of its microbrewery at Sloss Docks. Back Forty scored number two in the Best Patios category in About Town’s Annual Reader’s Poll. The venue provides the perfect spot to drink Jamie Ray and Tosh Brown’s outstanding selection of beers—including the award-winning Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale—in its pet-friendly, kid-friendly outdoor garden with spectacular views of Sloss Furnaces, passing trains and live band in its outdoor concert space. The Back Forty Birmingham kitchen offers a creative variety of American pub foods primarily sourced through local growers including some of the best pizza in the city.

Address: 3201 1st Avenue North, Downtown Birmingham

3. Chez FonFon

Photo via @fonfonbham

Chez Fonfon is Birmingham’s casual French-inspired bistro that transports you out of your everyday dining experience to feel like you’re in Paris. Coming in at number three in About Town’s Annual Reader’s Poll, Chez FonFon is also owned by renowned chef Frank Stitt. The menu features classic French fare like steak tartare, moules et frites, fish, escargots and charcuterie along with one of the best burgers in Birmingham. Inside you’ll find a bustling and lively ambiance set amidst authentic French décor. But the gem is out back, where a tucked away pebbled courtyard evokes the quaint outdoor eateries seasoned European travelers seek out. The vine-covered arbor glows with charming string lights in the evening, illuminating the perfect spot to sample an eclectic assortment of great French wines and join in a game of boule.

Address: 2007 Eleventh Avenue South, on Birmingham’s Southside

2. Carrigan’s Public House

Photo via @carriganspub

Carrigan’s earned high marks in the Best Patios section of About Town’s Annual Reader’s Poll thanks to its fun outdoor patio and rooftop bar stationed in one of Downtown Birmingham oldest historic buildings, overlooking the train tracks on Morris Avenue. Carrigan’s is a laid back Gastropub specializing in crowd-pleasers like burgers, fries and corn dogs with a unique upscale twist. A highlight of the experience at Carrigan’s are the inventive hand-crafted cocktails served by some of the friendliest and most entertaining bartenders in Birmingham. Carrigan’s can easily accommodate large parties and the rooftop bar is a favorite spot for private parties.

Address: 2430 Morris Avenue, Downtown Birmingham

1. Avondale Brewing Company

Photo via @avondalebrewing

Rounding out About Town’s top five Best Patios in Birmingham is Avondale Brewing. Housed in a historic building that has been a pharmacy, a saloon, and even a brothel, Avondale Brewing is at the center of the social scene in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood. A collaboration between Coby and Hunter Lake, Avondale Brewery is a locally owned and operated brewery in the heart of Birmingham. The Saison is the brewery’s flagship brew and it, like all Avondale beers, bears the image of mascot Miss Fancy, an elephant who paraded the streets of Avondale before prohibition when the zoo was down the street. The patio and sprawling yard offer a phenomenal space to hang out with friends, even the four-legged ones, and take in a live music performance or watch football on the big screen.

Address: 201 41st St. South, Birmingham's Avondale Neighborhood