Outdoor Restaurants in Brooklyn With Kid-Friendly Backyards and Patios
Brooklyn boasts its share of outdoor restaurants with sidewalk tables, but those of us with kids enjoy eateries with more spacious outdoor dining. A backyard, picnic tables, roof decks, or sometimes even a bit of grass? We're sold!
Just in time for summer, we've rounded up our favorite spots across Brooklyn featuring ample outdoor space, serving delicious food, and welcoming families with children. If you're in the mood for variety, we've included a mix of cuisines: Japanese, Mexican, Cuban, southern comfort, and, of course, pizza, barbecue, and new American.
Before venturing out, be sure to check each businesses' website. Reservation policies may have changed, seats and party sizes may be limited to accommodate social distancing guidelines, and all guests must wear a mask anytime they're not seated at their table. You may be asked to view the menu on a mobile device or use a single-use paper version.
1. Risbo – Prospect Lefferts Garden
701 Flatbush Avenue
This "fast-casual rotisserie + bar" serves a mashup of globally inspired dishes, celebrating Brooklyn's vibrant immigrant roots. The vibe is distinctly casual and cool. Kids love hanging out in the idyllic patio, which is covered with floor cushions, string lights, and colorful poofs. The menu features various kid-friendly dishes like roast chicken, a hummus plate, mac & cheese, potatoes, and a selection of desserts. It's counter-service only, and seating is first come, first served.
2. Layla Jones – Cobble Hill
214 Court Street
This laid-back spot is the perfect place to enjoy spaghetti and homemade meatballs while letting your kids roam around in the communal atmosphere. The kids' menu offers all of the favorite pasta options, along with a chicken and mozzarella pressed sandwich.
Adults and children will thrill at the stunning views of Manhattan from the rooftop deck at Alma.
3. Alma – Columbia Waterfront
187 Columbia Street
With its year-round roof deck offering breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, this Mexican restaurant is a favorite outdoor destination. Its three stories include a full bar on the first floor, but you'll want to head to the roof terrace for the views. Menu favorites include guacamole, fajitas, and tacos. Kids' menu offerings include quesadillas and rice-and-bean combos. Reservations are currently accepted for rooftop seating Wednesdays-Sunday. High chairs are available, but there are no changing tables in the small bathrooms. Strollers must be left on the ground floor as the steps up to the roof are narrow and steep.
4. Greenwood Park – South Park Slope
555 Seventh Avenue
Families flock to this South Park Slope beer garden that sits in a former gas station and boasts a combined 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Parents can enjoy 60 beers on tap while—in non-COVID times—kids can play bocce or cornhole. The menu offers everything from classic tater tots to Greek salads. Its warm pretzels are a big hit with the kids. This place does fill up, and it is strictly 21 and older after 7pm.
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Parents can relax and chill while kids play in the sandbox or at the mini-golf course at Brooklyn Crab.
5. Brooklyn Crab – Red Hook
24 Reed Street
Parents-in-the-know head to this seafood spot loaded with rustic charm in the warmer months for its "Reed Park" section, open seasonally, which offers outdoor seating in its generous backyard, including Adirondack chairs and an impressive sandbox for kids. There's even an eight-hole mini-golf course, cornhole, and more games. The year-round bar and restaurant offer an abbreviated menu in Reed Park, but there's still plenty to choose from for the kids, including the standard hot dogs, chips, and mac n' cheese. Crab rolls, New England beers, and oysters are available for grown-ups. It's all served up with a view of the New York harbor. Seating is first come, first served, but there are often plenty of picnic tables up for grabs in other sections of the multilevel restaurant.
6. Fornino – Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park
A go-to for pizza, this location is nestled right along the water of Brooklyn Bridge Park near the epic string of hidden playgrounds right off of Atlantic Avenue. Come early so the kids can expend their bountiful energy on the slides and swings (or splash park), then head to Fornino's rooftop restaurant to enjoy the sunset with views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty over brick-oven pizza. Note: The restaurant is open seasonally only (weather permitting, April-October).
You might feel like you're in the country in the backyard at The Farm on Adderley.
7. The Farm on Adderley – Ditmas Park
1108 Cortelyou Road
Despite its location deep into Ditmas Park, The Farm on Adderley has been drawing brunch, lunch, and dinner crowds from all over the borough (and Manhattan) with its focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and farm-to-table ethos. Its rustic garden is perfect for the warmer months. Kids can choose from grilled cheese or a burger or order items from the regular menu, such as French toast.
8. Osaka – Cobble Hill
270 Court Street
This solid Cobble Hill neighborhood spot is one of our NYC editor's favorites. The staff is super-friendly, and the backyard is spacious. Go early, and it will feel as if you're in a private backyard. Sushi gets rave reviews for its freshness and creativity. Kids can ring the gong and fill themselves with rice and tempura. High chairs are available but beware: The bathroom is tiny.
Tucked away in Gowanus, Lavender Lake has a great backyard to enjoy when it's sunny out.
9. Lavender Lake – Gowanus
383 Carroll Street
This awesome little restaurant along the edge of the Gowanus canal boasts a gorgeous backyard area with picnic tables and a small menu that appeals to kids, too. Grab a cocktail and a spot out back—currently limited to a 2-hour stay—to enjoy some fried chicken. For something lighter, we recommend the hummus or Brussels sprouts. There is always shade to be found—umbrellas make this a solid destination even during peak sunny hours.
10. Lobster Joint – Greenpoint
1073 Manhattan Avenue
What is a better way to ring in the warmer months than digging into lobster rolls on a patio? The large picnic tables are welcoming to families, and kids love the menu just for them, featuring fish sticks and chicken fingers.
The huge outdoor space and super family-friendly vibe at Pig Beach will make this place a favorite!
11. Pig Beach – Gowanus
480 Union Street
Barbecue lovers: This is the place for you! Order at the counter for some finger-lickin' delicious brisket or mac and cheese for the low-key barbecue fans. Dogs are welcome here, which is a huge plus for animal lovers. It has an extensive beer list for the parents and brownies and rice crispy treats for the kids. It is closed on Mondays and mornings—so make sure you check the website before you head over.
12. Popina – Columbia Waterfront
127 Columbia Street
This special Italian spot features a menu full of delicious pasta and, for the grown-ups, bottles of housemade negroni. The backyard is quite magical, with tables nestled under a massive tree and a giant bocce ball court that keeps the whole family entertained.
RELATED: NYC Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free
Enjoy pizza outdoors at Roberta's backyard in Bushwick.
13. Roberta's Pizza – Bushwick
261 Moore Street
What's better than eating pizza outside? This famed Bushwick pizzeria has a large outdoor garden where seating is communal at large wooden tables, and the atmosphere is casual, cool, and hipster Brooklyn. Kids love seeing their pizzas cooking in the wood-burning ovens. Roberta's offers walking and tasting tours of its garden. Reservations are now accepted for Wednesdays-Sundays. This spot is worth a trip to Bushwick at least once. Or better yet, score weekday lunch with the kids over the summer for a more family-friendly crowd (and wait).
14. Somtum Der – Redhook
380 Van Brunt
Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine in Somtum Der's creative backyard patio in Red Hook. The dishes are meant to be shared and, while Somtum Der is known for its spicy dishes, many can be prepared with less or no spice for kids. Give the kids a new experience and order jaew hon, a Thai hot pot that's mean to be shared. A clay pot of broth is heated at the table with a bowl of greens, raw meat or fish, egg, and some dipping sauces. Kids love the grilled sticky rice and snow ice with syrup for dessert.
Habana Outpost, a Mexican and Cuban restaurant in Fort Greene, hosts kids' events all summer.
15. Habana Outpost – Fort Greene
2021 update: Temporarily closed with opening date TBA.
757 Fulton Street
Billed as NYC's first "eco-eatery," this popular family spot in Fort Greene serves Mexican and Cuban cuisine with a large backyard gathering space for artists, kids, and families. The environmentally friendly elements include solar panels, recycled building materials, compostable utensils and plates, and rainwater collection systems. Service is fast and friendly, and the menu offers a selection of sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and combination plates at reasonable prices. The grilled Mexican corn is a family favorite. Habana Outpost shows movies in its backyard during warmer months and has a variety of activities for kids, including creative workshops and Tuesday morning craft time. Check its calendar for a full listing. It's a great space for play dates, birthday parties, and other family meals.
16. Threes Brewing – Gowanus
333 Douglass Street
This super-hip brewery boasts a huge outdoor space and a food residency program in which different restaurants take over the kitchen. Parents can enjoy a drink from the vast selection of handcrafted beers and cocktails and join kids in trying cuisine from Insa Korean BBQ, Roberta's Pizza, Franny's, or Buttermilk Channel, to list a few. High chairs are available; strollers must be left out in front.
A version of this article was first published in 2016; it is updated annually.