It hasn’t been scientifically proven that summer sun makes food taste better, but we think there’s definitely a correlation. As soon as warm weather settles into Lincoln, we’re rallying our friends and family for brunches, lunches and dinners on patios all over town. If you tend to do the same — or you want to start — we have the perfect list for you!
We rounded up our favorite local spots — complete with cool shaded options, beer gardens and fireside lounges — so you can spend more time under the sun this season and less time searching for outdoor dining. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of HopCat
HopCat is a destination for most fun things in Lincoln — trivia night, eclectic characters and Bourbon Pecan Pie — just to name a few. But during the summer months, make sure it’s on your list of go-to patio dining. Their cushioned couches and lounge chairs are the perfect setting for a group gathering under the sun!
If the sun is shining in Lincoln and you’re craving a mouth-watering burger, you want to be on the LeadBelly patio. Raised above street level in the Haymarket district, the space is shaded, the service is welcoming, and the beer is pouring.
Photo courtesy of SchillingBridge Cork & Tap House
SchillingBridge takes the cake when it comes to space and warmth in a patio space — literally! Grab a seat around the fire pit while you sip wines directly from SchillingBridge Winery, taste homemade root beer, and eat a beer-inspired plate of craft food, like the Scottish Ale BBQ Brisket.
We can’t say enough good things about Haymarket’s Bread & Cup, but we’ll start with these: handmade soft pretzels, brunch and local market ingredients. This neighborhood favorite embraces its farm-to-table style in the kitchen which results in the some of the best tastes in town. The fact that you can enjoy a meal on the sunny patio is just a bonus!
Though Bodega’s Alley is a famed live music hotspot in Downtown Lincoln, that’s not all they do. During the day, grab a seat in the backyard beer garden and feel free to bring your dog along. You won’t find a food menu, but on Sunday’s you can bring your own ingredients and use the patio grill!
Photo courtesy of Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill
There are a lot of things we love about Lazlo’s — including its patio, pub food and craft brews. Whether you’re under the shade on the Haymarket patio or in the South Lincoln garden, we recommend a pint of in-house brewed Empyrean beer and the Smoking Gunn burger topped with peanut butter, bacon, Monterey jack, crispy onion rings, jalapenos and sriracha-lime aioli.
Legends Patio Grill & Bar began in Omaha where it gained fame for — you guessed it — the patio! At its Lincoln location, you’ll find an outdoor dining experience complete with cozy couches, people watching in Haymarket, and plenty of Husker pride! Order a pub classic — including Fish and Chips and a Blue Cheese Bacon Burger — and you may want to make the patio your home away from home.
Photo courtesy of FireWorks Restaurant
At FireWorks Restaurant, the fireworks happen in the kitchen where you’ll find wood-fire ovens and savory smells. From hickory-smoked chicken to hand-tossed pizzas, there’s something for everyone at the table. And, during the warm months, make sure that table is on the shaded patio.
The Oven has been a Lincoln favorite since it opened in 1988. Specializing in Northern Indian Cuisine and cooking in the Tandoor oven, you’ll probably find a few flavors you haven’t tried before. And you can find them on outdoor patio of the Oven East or in the hustle and bustle of quaint Haymarket.
Photos courtesy of Carmela’s Bistro and Wine Bar
Nothing pairs better with a summer evening than a glass of wine and a smorgasbord of innovative flavors. Order the Bubbly Mac & Pistachio Trout — a pistachio encrusted fish dish served with bubbly mac and cheese and apple slaw. Then, find out which award-winning wine pairs with your meal and watch the sun set on another summer’s day.
It’s not summer without at least one margarita on a sunny patio. At El Potrero you can choose from frozen or on the rocks in lime, strawberry, peach, mango, blueberry and Chambord. Pair that with a shaded patio and a plate of authentic Mexican fare.
Handcrafted meals and handcrafted cocktails are two of our favorite things — and at Piedmont Bistro you can get both served on the fireside patio! They offer breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner all prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Share your favorites
If we missed your favorite Lincoln patio, let us know!