Best Sign of Spring (2014)

Restaurant patios return

During the cold and gray months of the year, bars and restaurants feel more cramped. Getting a drink means throwing elbows; finding a table means unexpected waits. Feeling claustrophobic? Take solace in the dream of the first day of spring: It's a beautiful day, nicer than any in a while, and you decide to head out for a drink to celebrate the sunshine. You gird yourself for a wait. But then the host asks you, "Indoors or outdoors?" That's when you remember that your space woes weren't just winter grouchiness: They were the real thing that happens when your regular spot shrinks by half for the cold season. So opt to sit outside. Maybe you're at W.A. Frost, with its sprawling patio, admiring the budding greenery. Perhaps you're at Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub. As you nurse a beer at a picnic table, gardeners are planting hop vines next to you. Wherever the patio, kick up your feet, spread out, and start preparing for the elbow-throwing event of the new season: fighting for a table outside.


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