Summer is just about here. Flip-flops, frozen drinks and patio hopping are on the agendas of many people, especially down here by the bay. To make your hunt for that perfect patio a little easier, the Houston Press has put together a list of ten patios in the Clear Lake and nearby areas that just might help make this summer one to remember.
Noah’s Ark, 4438 Boulevard, Bacliff
Just steps away from the water, Noah’s Ark is a place you’ll want to stay awhile. Bring a hair tie for your long locks, because the gulf breeze likes to dance here. There are several patios and decks to choose from, all overlooking endless views of the bay. Many patios are covered, like the oversized palapa bar upstairs, which is reserved for adults. We recommend the Bloody Mary and the
Kid-friendly (except for the palapa bar), full service, full bar, pet-friendly, and smoking on the patio permitted.
Topwater Grill, 815 Avenue O, San Leon
Located on April Fool Point Marina, the patio at Topwater Grill has a perfect view of the water. It’s a bit of a drive and tucked away in a corner of San Leon, but if you’re looking for a patio on the water, this has one of the best views in the area. Seating is stretched all around the water and includes charming cushioned glider booths. These booths are covered and comfortable and, as the name suggests, glide back and forth. Nothing like being in the shade with a frozen cocktail, swaying in your booth on the bay.
Large pelicans sit over by the outdoor fish fillet station, but don’t worry, they won’t bother you. They just add to the beachy vibe this place radiates. Traditional patio tables line up around the main restaurant, also with full-service and gulf views. Topwater Grill is a seafood restaurant that boasts, “You hook it, we cook it!” So pull up your boat and pull out your fresh catch and relax while they do all the work. Try the tender soft-shell crab and the appetizer of plump Royal Reds.
Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, smoking permitted on the patio, and pet-friendly.
Outriggers, 101 Bath, Seabrook
Outriggers is located underneath the Kemah bridge, and its patio offers more than just a breathtaking view of Clear Lake. Sit upstairs on one of the weathered wooden picnic tables and watch
Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, and smoking on the patio permitted.
Marias, 2015 FM 517, Dickinson
A little jewel a few miles from the bay is Marais on Dickinson Bayou. Marais has a deck for everyone. Enjoy one of three patios — a charming, treehouse-style patio with swings and chandeliers hanging from a 120-year-old oak tree; an intriguing patio called The Plank, with pirate memorabilia and scattered tables with large umbrellas for shade; and the Biergarten patio, with picnic tables from Oktoberfest in Germany and a painted mural of dancers on the back fence. All three patios have a fantastic view of the bayou and its lush trees. In the evening, you’ll hear the peacocks scream from across the way, warning that the bats are coming. Marais celebrates the neighborhood bats as they fly out into the trees for the evening with a Bat Flight Happy Hour from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy a $5 Bat-Tini or a $2 Bat Out of Helles Beer. Recommended: the lump crab and shrimp tower, the
Kid-friendly, full bar, extensive wine list, full service, and smoking only permitted on the Biergarten patio.
Back over in Kemah is an upper-deck patio in a spot just south of the boardwalk.
Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, pet-friendly and smoking permitted on the patio.
Cabo Bar and Grill, 2513 NASA Parkway, Seabrook
Located on Clear Lake next door to where the nostalgic Turtle Club once stood, this adult-only bar has a large upper and lower deck patio overlooking the heavily trafficked waters of Clear Lake. Pull up your boat and make your way to the sunny upper deck. Enjoy vast views of the lake and the sounds of boats cruising by while the sun warms your cheeks. Cabo also has dancing and live music. Check out the events calendar for a list of upcoming entertainment. On Taco Tuesday, enjoy $3 tacos, $3 Fireball shots and $2 domestics. Every Thursday starting at 5 p.m., enjoy Cabo’s Steak Night with a variety of options to choose from. Regulars recommend the stuffed filet mignon with roasted cherry tomatoes.
Adult-only, full bar, full service, and smoking permitted on patio.
Hidden off Marina Bay close to Waterford Harbor is a fairly new spot and sister restaurant of Opus Bistro, Opus Ocean Grille. Both locations offer patio dining, but the patio at Ocean Grille is spectacular. There are a few outdoor areas to choose from. The local favorite is the upper deck overlooking the swaying yachts docked in the marina. Below the upper deck is a shaded deck with the same magnificent view of the water. Also on the upper deck is a tucked-away retreat with brightly colored couches and a fire pit — an area perfect for cocktails and conversation. Food has reportedly been hit or miss, but the outdoor space makes Opus worth a visit and a cocktail.
Kid-friendly, pet-friendly, full bar, full service, and smoking
Sundance Grill II, 800 Mariners, Kemah
Right around the corner is Sundance Grill II. This restaurant offers a pool, a patio and a couple of spots to tie up if you’re cruising over by boat. The large wooden deck overlooks the marina with stately homes just across the water. Umbrellas are provided for the outdoor tables upon request. Sit back and relax to the sounds of halyards clanging and the occasional seagull cawing overhead. Sundance Grill has been inconsistent with food, but the cocktails are always enjoyable. Regulars recommend the shrimp Bimini and the filet mignon.
Kid-friendly, full service, full bar, and smoking is permitted only in the pool area.
Chelsea Wine Bar, 4106 East NASA Parkway, Suite F, El Lago
Looking for the perfect, adult-only patio to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset? Jackpot. This European-style wine bar is warmly decorated with lounging in mind. It will be hard to skip right past the cozy rooms inside and venture out to the patio. But once you’re done oohing and ahhing at the charming decor, step outside and pick a little table upstairs on the covered patio. This is a spot to unwind and catch your breath after a long day. Whether you want to chat over champagne and cheese or just grab a barstool with a flatbread and a cold beer, there is a view for you. Recommended are the warm brie plate and the Italian meat platter.
Adult-only, full bar service, beer and wine only, and pet-friendly on the downstairs patio only. Smoking is permitted on all patios.
Hubcap Grill, 800 Bradford, Kemah
Looking for a patio with a backyard vibe? Look no further. Hubcap Grill in Kemah sits on stilts and has its restaurant and patio up on the second floor. Wooden stairs or the long, winding ramp lead you up to this shaded patio heaven of picnic tables, strung lights and trees growing through the deck. Hubcaps and metal signs line the walls, while car parts create a unique recycling station for cans and bottles on your way out. Hubcap Grill sells juicy burgers and varieties of fries with a large selection of craft,
Kid-friendly, beer only, counter-service, pet-friendly and smoking on the patio is permitted.
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Pier 8 Seafood Market, 409 Todville, Seabrook
And an honorable mention goes to the patio over at Pier 8 Seafood Market. This is the kind of
Kid-friendly, counter-service, beer only, and no smoking on any of the patio areas.