Maybe you love brunch. If so, we don’t need to convince you to use this guide to find some places where you can have it outside.
But let’s say you don’t. The waiting, the decision-making on a weekend, the usually-overpriced food you could (maybe) make at home. Those are all completely acceptable excuses to avoid brunch, but they can be easily forgotten when you have the day off and want to be outside. And they should be forgotten in order to go to any of the 29 places on this guide.
Sunday In Brooklyn is as synonymous with brunch as any place in Williamsburg. That could be because the brunch menu is longer than the dinner one, or that brunch is served every day, or the fact that most of the drinks could be described as “breakfast cocktails.” Try to figure out while eating a triple stack of fluffy pancakes with hazelnut maple praline, or a BEC with gochujang aioli at a sidewalk table Wednesday through Sunday.
Golden Diner is not offering separate menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the time being. Instead, it’s serving its whole menu from 10am-10pm every day except Monday. That means you can combat a hangover with matzo ball soup and Korean fried chicken wings, or pair breakfast burritos and honey butter pancakes with soju cocktails in the afternoon.
Melba’s serves dark meat fried chicken and eggnog waffles with strawberry butter and maple syrup. This Southern spot in Harlem also serves lots of other dishes worth ordering, but if you’re not already sold on brunch here, then you might be reading the wrong guide.
Rather than refreshing your weather app every five minutes, or using game theory to figure out when a place is most likely to have an open table, just head to Le Crocodile. Not only is the stringlit and brick-surrounded yard at this French spot in Williamsburg covered by a retractable awning, but you can also reserve a table up to a week in advance. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to order from a brunch menu that ranges from a raw bar to French toast to a smoked whitefish sandwich.
Having brunch in a backyard while someone a few feet away grills homemade tortillas is a special experience. Set a personal goal to make it happen this summer at Claro in Gowanus. Their Oaxacan brunch menu is great on its own, with dishes like chilaquiles with short rib and masa pancakes with agave nectar, but their outdoor space is what makes eating here feel like a vacation. Another win: they take brunch reservations.
The current brunch menu at Chez Ma Tante only has four items on it: chips and aioli, tortilla espanola, caesar salad, and pancakes. In other words, it has three more options than you really need. That’s because this Greenpoint spot serves the best pancakes in the city, which you can order at a first come, first served table on Sundays between 11am-3pm.
You could pick up food on the way to Domino Park, but if you don’t want to have to protect your BEC from errant volleyballs and clouds of spray-on sunscreen, just get an outdoor table across the street at Mekelburg’s. At brunch, which they serve every day starting at 11am, you can get things like spicy, sweet, lightly fried chicken over waffles, and some of the best chocolate babka in the city.
The partially-covered patio at this Middle Eastern spot in Fort Greene has brick walls and a bunch of hanging plants, and it’s a great place to drink harissa Bloody Marys on a weekend afternoon. Along with a few dishes from their dinner menu, like sweet whipped ricotta that could be an appetizer or dessert, they serve some brunch-specific things, like french toast with labne mousse and a savory pancake topped with a soft-boiled egg.
If Miss Ada is fully booked, head down the block to Evelina. They have a bunch of sidewalk tables where you can pair spicy watermelon margaritas with any of their excellent pastas. If pappardelle with oxtail ragu sounds like it’ll ruin any hopes you had of walking around Fort Greene Park after brunch, there are lighter options, like avocado toast topped with Dungeness crab, too.
Jimmy's Grand Cafe
Jimmy’s is a diner, and as such, you won’t be surprised to find a huge menu ranging from pancakes topped with nutella and ice cream to grilled salmon over fried rice. But this Castle Hill spot also has some things you might not expect from a neighborhood diner, like a ton of outdoor seating in a recently converted parking lot, and a menu packed with Latin influences, like French toast dunked in coquito batter or eggs and salami served with mangu.
Brunch is so good at Buvette that there’d be a wait here if its outdoor patio were the size of a quidditch pitch, but it’s actually the size of Harry’s room under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive. But while you’ll almost always have to wait for a table, it’s worth it for dishes like perfectly fluffy steamed eggs with smoked salmon and a bacon, egg, and gruyere waffle sandwich that comes in a pool of butter and maple syrup.
Waiting is never a particularly pleasant experience, and that’s especially true when you’re varying degrees of hungry, humid, and hungover. Fortunately, that’s not an issue at Thai Diner. This all-day spot in Nolita is only operating a takeout window, and since you need to place your order ahead of time through their website, it’ll be waiting for you when you arrive. Pick up a breakfast sandwich with Thai herbal sausage served in a roti, or disco fries topped with massaman curry, and sit at one of their seat-yourself tables on the sidewalk any day after 11am.
You won’t find $15 mimosas or Dua Lipa’s next outfit at La Bonbonniere, but you will find some very good bacon, blueberry pancakes, and egg sandwiches. If that’s all you really need, then head to this West Village diner any day of the week.
Anyone who’s tired of orange juice with a splash of Prosecco calling itself a brunch cocktail will appreciate the drink menu at Esperanto. This Latin spot in the East Village offers brunch specials, like three cocktails for $20 and pitchers for $36, which not only include mimosas and bloody mary’s, but also mojitos, margaritas, and (very strong) caipirinhas. If the drinks start to put the rest of your afternoon in jeopardy, order another round of pao de queijo or chips and guacamole.
Soup dumplings and shrimp siu mai from Nom Wah would make for a great dim sum brunch no matter where they were served. But the fact that this century-old spot is on Doyers Street means that it’s in the middle of what feels like a giant outdoor dining room, with foliage and tables covered in yellow umbrellas available starting at noon.
All brunches exist somewhere on a very long spectrum. At one end, you have the places you go when you’re just trying not to vomit into your eggs. At the other, you have the places you go when the brunch itself is the start of the party. Llama Inn is an excellent choice for the latter - a slightly upscale, very fun Peruvian spot that would be perfect for a rooftop birthday brunch involving ceviche and plenty of spritzes on tap.
Anyone who finds it tough to keep a cactus alive for one-tenth as long as the internet says they’ last will be at a total loss when they step into the backyard of this American spot in Greenpoint. It’s filled with as much as many plants, trees, and ivy as a modest greenhouse, and it’s one of the most pleasant places to eat outside in Brooklyn. And if that alone isn’t enough to convince you, then the banana bread pudding and bottomless mimosa situation should.
Hudson Clearwater’s back patio is always one of the most pleasant outdoor dining spaces in the West Village, and right now is no exception. Make use of it with grapefruit brulee and sugar-free smoothies or duck hash and a spicy bloody mary any day between 8am-4:30pm.
This Southern spot in the East Village has a very nice streetside patio covered in plants, and a canvas roof that’ll give you comfort on afternoons when the clouds can’t decide how they want to proceed. The first come, first served tables are available for weekend brunch starting at noon, when you can order some shrimp and grits or sweet tea-brined fried chicken with honey tabasco sauce.
Aurora’s covered patio looks like a place where the best-friends-turned-soulmates in a rom-com would feed each other pasta just before the credits roll. It’s decorated with lots of hanging ivy and more lights than a fairly large Christmas tree, as well as high walls and a roof that make it feel far removed from the corner of Wythe and Grand. They serve a few of their pastas and Italian small plates brunch, as well as more breakfast-y options like brioche French toast vanilla mascarpone or crab and avocado eggs benedict. You can make a reservation through their website.
The front patio at Harlem Tavern might be even larger than the tavern itself. Covered in picnic tables and big umbrellas, it’s perfect for when you can’t decide if you want an extended boozy brunch, or day-drinking with intermittent food orders. They open at noon every day, but if you come on Saturday, you’ll get to hear some live jazz while you eat.
Walk around Williamsburg on a weekend afternoon, and eventually you’ll run into a bunch of people loitering outside of a spot on the corner of Withers Street and Union Ave. The place is Reunion, and these people are waiting for the opportunity to dip fresh challah in shakshuka, and spread whipped feta over a fried pancake. And now that this Israeli spot has expanded its outdoor seating, you might not need to loiter quite as long, especially if you come on a weekday - Reunion opens every day at 9am.
Sweet Afton is a bar in Astoria that serves brioche french toast sticks, breakfast burgers, and homemade biscuits. That’s already reason enough to eat here year-round, but they also have a nice garden in the back, and expanded seating on the sidewalk out front, both of which are good spots to order another round of frozen strawberry margaritas after you’ve finished eating.
Esme is the outdoor brunch for brunch haters. Their back patio has plenty of shade, and they make simple, very good brunch food. The pancakes are some of the best in NYC, the avocado toast will actually fill you up, and the cocktails are strong and not too expensive.
Bronx Ale House opens every day at 11am, but brunch is only served on weekends. So if you want to pair this Kingsbridge bar’s great beers with some breakfast tacos or eggs and biscuits covered in sweet sausage gravy, you’ll have to go Saturday or Sunday between 11:30am-3pm.
Krupa Grocery is the kind of neighborhood restaurant that has you pulling out your phone to check your StreetEasy app in the middle of brunch. Which is to say, if you don’t already live in South Park Slope/Windsor Terrace, Krupa Grocery is worth traveling for. The back patio is great, and they make the kind of food you probably couldn’t make in your apartment (or at least make it well), like chicken liver pate with pickled egg and candied cocoa nibs or breakfast gnocchi with a fried egg and bacon lardons.