Now that Brooklyn is seemingly home to more beer gardens than Berlin--including Radegast, t.b.d., newcomer Spritzenhaus, and Loreley, which celebrates a year on Meeker Avenue this week--it's easy to forget about a whole other category of outdoor drinking, the summertime wine bar. From shaded gardens to a massive new indoor-outdoor winery, these al fresco bars all offer backyard space or patios, chilled wines, and room to breathe.
With Peaches and Saraghina offering two tasty reasons to make a trip to Stuyvesant Heights, Therapy Wine Bar is your excuse for a night cap. Right in between the two Lewis Avenue favorites, Therapy proves that the words “wine bar” don't always equal stuffy. R&B and hip-hop DJs spin indoors on after-work Thursdays, but the real draw is the tree-shaded, tiki torch-lined backyard, open until midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends. Then there’s the bar’s signature summer cocktail, the Concrete Rose—essentially a frozen shiraz slushie. Cheese plates and hearty weekend brunch options like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits are all served outside. 364 Lewis Ave., near Halsey St., 718-513-0686
Bohemian Wine Hall
The borough’s first open-to-the-public winery, Brooklyn Winery is also one of the city’s largest wine-focused venues, including a barn wood-lined indoor tasting room and a 900-square-foot outdoor courtyard with long communal tables. On June 8 the winery cracked open their first barrels of house-made wine, which include Rieslings, Chardonnays, a Pinot Noir and a rosé. Every glass is available in full or half pours so you can taste around; food includes cheese, charcuterie, and amped-up bar snacks like cilantro lime popcorn with fresh jalapenos. Free tours of the winery are available every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, and serious wine snobs can try their luck at guessing the glass on trivia nights held every other Tuesday. 213 N. 8th, between Driggs and Roebling, 347-763-1506
Wine, Cheese and Skinny Jeans
A former barber shop on Williamsburg’s Graham Avenue has been transformed into the wine-focused bar, Tuffet. Summer-y nights inevitably find the spare back patio packed with an overflow crowd lounging on distressed white patio furniture and in colder months, huddled around the outdoor wood-burning fireplace—think Union Pool serving Chardonnay and stinky blues. Tuffet pours glasses from France, Italy, Spain and Argentina, plus seasonal sangrias, American craft beers and cocktails. But the star of the show is the diverse selection of unique artisan cheeses, with 15 generally available at a time, from Vermont’s intense raw milk Bayley Hazen blue to Piedmont’s creamy, ooze-y La Tur. 286 Graham Ave., between Powers and Grand St., 718-388-7434
Farm-Fresh Fare and Flights
One of the best kept secrets in Fort Greene is Stonehome Wine Bar and Restaurant’s ivy-lined, Secret Garden-esque back patio. Two hundred bottles and 30 wines by the glass run the gamut from rosé prosecco to ice wine from the Finger Lakes’ Standing Stone Vineyards. For variety, try one of the country-focused wine flights—you choose Italy, France or Spain and get three-ounce pours of three different wines for $18. The full menu is served outside, including a $25 summer prix fixe available starting June 15, with farmers’ market finds utilized in rotating menu items like sweet corn and goat cheese ravioli with broccoli rabe, pepperocinis, garlic scapes, slow roasted tomatoes and basil. 86 Lafayette Ave. at So. Portland, 718-624-9443
Ditmas Park’s Castello Plan looks like your typical dark and cozy date night spot from the inside, but the most coveted seats are on the petite, plant-filled patio. High blond wood walls separate you from Cortelyou Road, while letting the live music waft out—everything from jazz trumpet to Spanish Guitar and flamenco dancing plays on Monday and Thursday evenings. The wine list offers over 100 bottles hailing from Walla Walla to Croatia, and while prices run on the high side ($8 - $15), you don’t have to commit; you can ask to sample any of their 19 by-the-glass options before ordering. The menu features creative small plates like sauteed squid salad with spring pea puree, and you can even bring the grape haters along—the bar also serves a list of hard-to-find bottled Belgian beers. 1213 Cortelyou Road between Westminster and Argyle, 718-856-8888
Perhaps the borough’s most serious wine spot, Park Slope’s Brookvin features 90-minute wine classes led by manager Brian Mitchell or instructor PJ Escobio (both Wine & Spirit Education Trust certified teachers). $50 gets you eight tastes and in-depth insight on Italian whites (June 26 and July 2), rosé (July 17 and 23) or Spanish reds (August 21 and 27). More than a dozen wines are available by the half bottle, and all of the 30+ by-the-glass options also come in half pours. The backyard garden is expected to re-open some time later this summer, although seats are always a hot commodity—the garden is table service only and parties of more than four aren’t seated outside. Bar snacks like curry roasted cashews and savory sandwiches like roasted leg of lamb, salsa verde and watercress on focaccia are served both inside and out. 381 7th Ave., between 11th and 12th Sts., 718-768-9463
Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.