Summer has arrived.
The season’s unofficial kickoff starts with the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, bringing with it warmer weather, ample sunshine and a wealth of opportunities for outdoor living.
Swimming, sports and sun will dominate the next few months. But for foodies as well as beer and wine connoisseurs, the best part of the summer season is enjoying a fine meal or sipping on a fun drink outdoors.
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The trick is finding the perfect setting.
From quiet hideaway gardens to bustling city streets, simple country picnic tables to elegant tables straight out of a French cafe, Johnson County eateries, wineries and breweries have whatever you’re in the mood for.
Taxman Brewing Co.
Where: 13 S. Baldwin St., Bargersville
Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
What makes it a great patio: When owners Nathan and Leah Huelsebusch designed their Bargersville brewery, they were inspired by the time they spent traveling through the Belgian countryside. To go with their diverse rotation of Belgian-style beers, sit underneath simple Edison lights outside on the paver patio by wooden benches, weathered barrels and a rustic fire pit.
Mallow Run Winery
Where: 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville
Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. daily; special later hours Saturdays
What makes it a great patio: Offering a serene view of the woods, meadows and fields of rural White River Township, Mallow Run’s patio is a relaxing locale to sip on a glass of traminette or chambourcin rosé. Live bands and special events are conducted every weekend throughout the summer, and while rainy weather might dampen most outdoor experiences, the winery’s partially covered section offers protected eating and drinking.
BoJak’s Bar and Grille
Where: 377 E. Jefferson St., Franklin
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
What makes it a great patio: For walkers, runners and cyclists, Franklin’s Greenway Trail is a major pedestrian thoroughfare cutting right through the city. And right on the trailway, BoJak’s simple awning offers a respite for those who want to take a break for a bite to eat or a cold beer.
Where: 299 W. Main St., Greenwood
Hours: 4 to midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
What makes it a great patio: Bar Rev, the speakeasy-style companion of the Revery eatery, is at the center of the increasingly busy Old Town Greenwood area. That makes its newly created outdoor patio a prime place for people-watching. Lounge in the wicker chairs while enjoying snacks from a limited Revery menu, as well as old-timey cocktails mixed up by Bar Rev’s visionary bartenders.
Where: 200 N. Madison St., Greenwood
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
What makes it a great patio: Underneath massive shady trees looking out to an expertly manicured lawn, Vino Villa offers a quiet nook where customers can enjoy sandwiches, salads and appetizers, while sipping on a glass of something selected from the specialty shop. Get there early for a seat in the grand gazebo.
Where: 997 E. County Line Road, Greenwood
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
What makes it a great patio: Fireside’s stone-laden beer garden checks all of the boxes for a successful outdoor dining: plenty of tables, nice views and a fire pit. But its love of dogs is what sets it apart. Dog owners are welcome to bring their pets on the terrace every day, but on Sunday, all dogs receive a free bag of treats and one “pup cup.”
Where: 4425 Southport Crossing Drive, Indianapolis
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily
What makes it a great patio: Waterfront dining isn’t easy to find in central Indiana. But it’s easy to imagine being at the beach sipping a boat drink or beer on the Mucky Duck Pub’s massive deck. Overlooking a small lake in Southport, diners can sit at picnic tables out in the sun, or opt for the large shelter house while enjoying the fresh air.
Where: 99 N. Main St., Franklin
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
What makes it a great patio: Few locations in Johnson County are as iconic as the Willard’s wrap-around veranda. Tables are packed for both lunch and dinner during the summer months, and it’s not uncommon to see people lounging around for a long afternoon enjoying a beer or two. With the inclusion of more live music outdoors this summer, it’s the ideal spot of people watching in downtown Franklin.
Oaken Barrel Brewing Co.
Where: 50 Airport Parkway, Greenwood
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
What makes it a great patio: Nearly every southsider is familiar with Oaken Barrel, the longtime institution that was one of the first craft brewers to open in Indiana. But not everyone knows that past the busy bar and dining room areas is a secluded garden and beer garden, where people can enjoy their meal or a few pints of Indiana Amber in the sun.
Scotty’s Brew Club
Where: 1800 E. King St., Franklin
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
What makes it a great patio: Overlooking the first tee and the ninth hole of Hillview Country Club, this wrap-around deck offers arguably the best views in all of the county. Watch the golfers below play the rolling green hills of the course, while enjoying Scotty’s food and Thr3e Wise Men beers. Flatscreens mounted outdoors let you catch the big game while you eat, and ceiling fans make even the hottest Indiana summer day bearable.