With so many interesting people to see in NYC, it’s no wonder that people-watching is one of my favorite pastimes. And where better to do it than on a restaurant sidewalk or patio, while munching on delicious food and enjoying the weather? In honor of the warm summer nights coming our way, here are a few of my favorite sidewalk restaurants:
Blockhead’s, Midtown West
The giant patio at Blockhead’s midtown west location is like a non-stop party for young professionals. After work, 20 and 30-somethings flock here to enjoy San Francisco-style Mexican food at reasonable prices (not to mention the amazing drink specials).
This patio is particularly comfortable because it’s not facing the street, but rather a courtyard of surrounding eateries in a city park setting. There’s no traffic but still a lot to see, thanks to the tequila-guzzling patrons.
The downside is that you should be prepared to wait, especially during evening hours. While you’re waiting, head across to the burger joint for a drink. If you’re extra nice, the Blockhead’s staff will call the bartender when your table’s ready.
Naples 45, Midtown East
Located near Grand Central, connected to the MetLife building, Naples 45 is the perfect spot for an after-work drink with the midtown east crowd. The large patio boasts its own bar with happy hour specials and plenty of seating for groups. There’s also apparently free pizza at happy hour before 7, though unfortunately I haven’t made it there in time to try it out.
While the Neapolitan pizza is a bit pricey ($35 for a Margherita pie) the atmosphere is fun and casual, so it’s a great spot to scope out the Grand Central scene and catch up with friends.
The Mermaid Inn, East Village
Since moving to the East Village, I’ve been anxiously waiting for The Mermaid Inn’s back patio to open. This cozy seafood spot is situated in between 5th and 6th streets on 2nd Ave. The intimate patio is a great spot to enjoy some apps, white wine and the trendy East Village vibe. The sidewalk tables in front our ideal for people watching along 2nd avenue.
From 5pm to 7pm, Happy Hour includes cheap oysters and discounted drinks. Happy Hour lasts all night on Mondays, but get there early as seating tends to fill up.