Lexington’s best outdoor dining: New spots, old favorites, hidden gems and more

By Matt Wickstrom, Kentucky.com

Clockwise from top, Ethereal Brewing, Kentucky Native Café, Azur, Bear & The Butcher, The Break Room and Coles 735 Main. Herald-Leader staff archived photos

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fall has arrived, bringing with it a change of the guard as the landscapes of Central Kentucky are painted in droves of yellow, red and orange.

With the transformed surroundings comes a temperature shift to the moderate side, ideal for enjoying the weather and fall colors outside from the vantage point of one of Lexington’s or a surrounding areas’ unique dining patio spots.

From new spots on the block to old favorites, hidden gems and concentrated hotspots like the Pepper Campus and Jefferson Street, there’s a local patio spot sure to strike everyone’s fancy.

Here’s a highlight of some of the best patio hangs the area has to offer.

New Spots

From flashy fine dining to vintage and dog-friendly spots, check out these patios to hit the scene recently.

The Barn at Fritz Farm, 119 Marion St., has plenty of tables outside to relax at after grabbing a drink or food inside from Whiskey Bear, Atomic Ramen, Crank & Boom and a handful of other all-local artisan vendors. For more information visit TheSummitAtFritzFarm.com/the-barn/.

Carson’s Food & Drink, 362 E Main St., has a patio out front offering up street-level views of the east end of downtown. Call 859-309-3039 or visit CarsonsFoodAndDrink.com.

Double Dogs, 1916 Justice Dr., may just be Lexington’s most dog-friendly patio. Opened in 2017, the venue is coupled with a community dog park in the adjacent field for pooches to run around and mingle in. Call 859-963-4150 or visit DoubleDogs.biz.

Graze at the Woodlands, 111 Woodland Ave., has an covered front porch, opening through French doors off the main dining room. With fans overhead, it’s a great place to watch the world go by while you have lunch or dinner, get a drink from the bar or wait for the shuttle to Kroger Field on UK game days. 859-309-2490.

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse at City Center, 101 W Vine St., located on the ground floor of downtown’s flashiest towering structure, the restaurant features an 1,800-square-foot patio – the largest of any Jeff Ruby restaurant – and is equipped with its own bar and bronze italian horse fountains. Call 859-554-7000 or visit JeffRuby.com.

Zim’s Cafe and The Thirsty Fox Bar, 215 W Main St., is the latest venture from chef Ouita Michel, which opened inside the old Lexington courthouse in November 2018 and features a large outdoor patio winding around the historic building. Call 859-785-3690 or visit ZimsCafe.com.

Old Favorites

Nothing beats the tried and true. Take a look at the following Central Kentucky patios that have stood the test of time in an unforgiving food and service industry.

Azur Restaurant & Patio, 3070 Lakecrest Cir., has a partially covered brick patio with its own bar surrounded by colorful flora. Call 859-296-1007 or visit AzurRestaurant.com.

Charlie Brown’s, 816 Euclid Ave., features casual curbside seating out front along with a shaded patio enclave out back in Chevy Chase. Call 859-269-5701. Facebook.com/cblex

Cole’s 735 Main, 735 E Main St., has a covered patio closed in from the street by UK blue-colored fencing with TVs and fans to keep cool. Call 859-266-9000 or visit Coles735Main.com.

Distilled Restaurant and Bourbon Bar, 120 W Second St., serves up views of the downtown skyline on a wooden deck with umbrella shade. Call 859-255-0002 or visit DistilledAtGratzParkInn.com.

Dudley’s on Short, 259 W Short St. Ste. 125, features a rooftop garden designed by Jon Carloftis with seasonal plants coupled with strategic uplighting and candlelit tables to help set the mood. Call 859-252-1010 or visit DudleysOnShort.com.

Harry’s American Bar & Grill, 3735 Palomar Centre Dr., has a roofed over patio with an open air concept to provide an outdoor feel while at the same time being shielded from inclement weather. Call 859-977-2620 or visit BluegrassHospitality.com.

Merrick Inn has been a Lexington patio tradition for years. Photo by Matt Goins

Merrick Inn, 1074 Merrick Dr., offers an outdoor getaway surrounded by a garden of flourishing plants, tin roof-covered gazebos, fireplaces and a pool to conjure up backyard vibes. Call 859-269-5417 or visit TheMerrickInn.com.

Palmers Fresh Grill, 161 Lexington Green Cir., provides waterfront and fountain views at Lexington Green to add a nautical flare to the restaurant’s seafood-flavored menu. Call 859-273-0103 or visit PalmersFreshGrill.com.

The Sage Rabbit is located in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. Photo provided by Herald-Leader

The Sage Rabbit, 438 S Ashland Ave., has covered, streetside porch seating near the edge of Chevy Chase. Call 859-523-2095 or visit TheSageRabbit.com.

Saul Good Hamburg, 1808 Alysheba Way, has an outdoor patio with fireplaces that’s ripe for the occasional brisk fall evening. Call 859-317-9200 or visit SaulGoodPub.com.

Wallace Station Deli and Bakery, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike in Versailles, serves up homey vibes with a large deck swinging around the building with trees hanging above providing a canopy from the sun. Call 859-846-5161 or visit WallaceStation.com.

Hidden Gems

If the road less traveled is the way you move, then these patios — some obscure and others known but all off the beaten path – are sure to meet your low-key hangout needs.

Belle’s Cocktail House, 156 Market St., has thrived after surviving a fire to its signature rooftop bar in August 2018 reopening less than a month after the incident. Belle’s now offers up bourbon slushies on it’s rooftop to go along with over 200 different bourbons to choose from. For more information visit BellesBar.com.

Broomwagon Coffee + Bikes and JGumbos, 800-808 N Limestone, offer up chilled out neighborhood vibes from Lexington’s NoLi district. Picnic tables behind Broomwagon provide a quaint environment for a cup of coffee while an alleyway between neighbors Thrive Kombucha and JGumbos leads to a hidden oasis behind the cajun joint that occasionally hosts music and other events. For Broomwagon call 859-554-6938 or visit BroomwagonBikes.com. For JGumbos call 859-286-9239 or visit JGumbos.com/lexington.

Bear & The Butcher, 815 Euclid Ave., offers sidewalk and second floor balcony seating overlooking the city’s Chevy Chase neighborhood. Call 859-469-9188 or visit BearAndTheButcher.com.

Crumzz Bar and GrillGirlsgirlsgirls Burritos and Pazzo’s Pizza Pub, 385-395 S Limestone, have flashy stone patios with fireplaces, heaters, comfy seating and late night hours for campus area night owls. For Crumzz call 859-309-9939 or visit CrumzzBarAndGrill.com. For Girlsgirlsgirls call 859-285-6853 or visit GirlsGirlsGirlsBurritos.com. For Pazzo’s call 859-255-5125 or visit PazzosPizzaPub.com.

Kentucky Native Café is hidden behind Michler’s Florist on East Maxwell. Photo by Pablo Alcala

Kentucky Native Café, 417 East Maxwell, features an outdoor patio fully shaded by trees tucked behind Michler’s Florist, with an alternative parking lot and entrance at 446 E High St. Call 859-281-1718 or visit Michlers.com/pages/cafe.

Marikka’s Restaurant & Bier Stube, 411 Southland Dr., has an outdoor patio space accompanied by beach volleyball courts around back. Call 859-275-1925 or visit MarikkasLex.com.

Pepper Campus

One of Lexington’s fastest growing hotspots in recent years has been the Distillery District, specifically the Pepper Campus, which includes farm-to-table restaurants, craft ice cream, axe-throwing and one of the most densely populated areas for patio space in town.

Break Room at Pepper, 1178 Manchester St., has outdoor lounging space with a firepit to the right side of the bar with a wooden deck looking over Elkhorn Creek as trees hanging over top provide shade. For more information visit Facebook.com/Break-Room-At-Pepper-756087201135495/.

Ethereal BrewingMiddle Fork Kitchen Bar, and Goodfellas Pizzeria, 1224-1228 Manchester St., share a large, stone patio. For Ethereal call (859) 309-1254 or visit EtherealBrew.com. For Middle Fork call 859-309-9854 or visit MiddleForkKB.com. For Goodfellas call 859-523-5280 or visit GoodfellasPizzeria.com.

Fusion Brewing and Wise Bird Cider, 1170 Manchester St., both have patio space alongside and behind the old Pepper Distillery building. For Fusion call 859-554-8037 or visit Fusion-Brewing.com. For Wise Bird call 859-309-1863 or visit WiseBirdCider.com.


Central Kentucky has seen a massive uptick of craft and micro-breweries emerging as of late, many of which are accompanied by an abundance of patio space for patrons to enjoy the weather and their hoppy concoctions on.

Blue Stallion Brewing Co., 610 W 3rd St., has picnic tables lining the corridor alongside the brewery, offering patrons an outdoor alternative to lounge in while sipping a beer or eating a sandwich from in-house food partner Dad’s Favorites Deli. Call 1-877-928-2337 or visit BlueStallionBrewing.com.

Country Boy Brewing’s Georgetown Taproom, 101 Innovation Way, has a massive, partially-covered outdoor patio large enough to showcase live music while patrons down Shotgun Wedding, Cougar Bait and an assortment of Country Boy’s other brews. Call 502-709-9943 or visit CountryBoyBrewing.com.

Mirror Twin Brewing, 723 and 725 National Ave., has patio seating outside both its original building and the one acquired over a year ago when Cosmic Charlie’s moved off the block. Call 859-447-8146 or visit MirrorTwinBrewing.com.

Pivot Brewing, 1400 Delaware Ave., has an extensive patio overlooking much of downtown from Lexington’s first modern cidery. Call 859-285-6778 or visit PivotBrewingCompany.com.

Rock House, 119 Luigart Ct., has a small outdoor patio tucked back from Limestone in Lexington’s NoLi district. Call 859-368-7064 or visit RockHouseBrewing.com.

West Sixth has open air seating when the garage doors go up. Photo provided by Herald-Leader

West Sixth Brewing, 501 W 6th St., has patio seating with garage doors opened up during nice weather helping to spread the open air feel throughout the brewery. Call 859-705-0915 or visit WestSixth.com.

Jefferson Street

For the last decade Jefferson Street has been one of Lexington’s culinary hubs. With creative restaurant concepts lining the corridor from Short to Third Street, there’s no shortage of food options or patio spaces to indulge in.

Blue Heron Steakhouse, 185 Jefferson St., has a patio and separate patio room that stretch along the front and right sides of the renovated historic home turned chic restaurant and cocktail bar. Call 859-254-2491 or visit BlueHeronSteakhouse.com.

El Espolón, 191 Jefferson St., features a gazebo-covered getaway in back covered in plant life and elegant lighting at the former Enoteca site. Call 859-523-5075. Facebook.com/elespol0n.

The Grey Goose is a Jefferson Street staple. Photo provided by Herald-Leader

Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson St., includes a cozy, brick-laden alleyway patio with dim lighting, TVs and ceiling fans. Call 859-233-1500 or visit GreyGooseRestaurants.com.

Nick Ryan’s, 157 Jefferson St., has a front porch dining area stretching the length of the building and while serving up top-notch views up and down Jefferson Street. Call 859-233-7900 or visit NickRyans.com.

Stella’s Kentucky Deli, 143 Jefferson St., has shaded patio seating tucked to the side of it’s building for a quaint, homestyle dining experience. Call 859-255-3354 or visit StellasKentuckyDeli.com.

Go here to view the original story with a full photo gallery of Central Kentucky’s patios.


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