Hazy, hot and hungry

for The Brooklyn Paper
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You can barely roll a stroller down the street these days without running into a restaurant with outdoor seating. So now that summer’s upon us, GO Brooklyn’s Juliana Bunim has put sidewalk service to the test and come up with the borough’s five best al fresco options.

Thin-crust pizza
at the Cherry Tree

“The amount of outdoor space is rad,” Cate Reilly, a Boerum Hill resident, told GO Brooklyn. “But I really go here for the $5 beer bongs and the Irish bar manager.” While we’re sure those are both great, we’re drawn to this bar’s big patio for the pizzas baked outside in a brick oven — they’ve got nine varieties, but the “Di Verdi,” loaded with mozzarella, tomato sauce, goat cheese, pesto, Parmesan, tomato, onion and spinach, is the most popular pie. Also, check out the pig roast on the first Saturday of each month — it puts that hibachi on your fire escape to shame.

Do-it-yourself barbeque
at Laila Lounge

Balmy evenings are the perfect time to haul your groceries over to Laila, where the backyard grill is open to all. Splurge on your own steak and make up for it during happy hour with two-for-one beers, $4 glasses of wine and margaritas. Rotating live DJs and summer movies on the patio provide a casual backdrop for this minimalist hipster locale. If cooking isn’t your speed, don’t miss “Bloodys and Barbeque” every Sunday at 3 pm on the patio. Free hotdogs — regular and soy —and plenty of drink specials should carry you right into work Monday morning.

Cal-Mex ribs
at Pacifico

Pacifico is one of the only Mexican places that not only offers fresh veggie-loaded burritos, delicious salmon, unique salsas like sweet pineapple, and the best damn ribs in town, but does so on a stunning outdoor patio. Start with those juicy grilled pork ribs and the white sangria, but don’t leave without sipping one of their notoriously strong margaritas. The homey backyard is also great for large groups. Tequila taste test, anyone?

Manhattan views
at Alma

Peel your eyes away from postcard-worthy views to dig into a heaping bowl of mashed-to-order guacamole. In Spanish, the word “Alma” means “soul,” and there’s no doubt this place has it. The deck’s retractable roof allows diners to nibble zesty scallop and snapper ceviche under the stars year-round, and during the summer months there’s no better place to pair a cold beer with the “tamale del dia” (corn husks with steamed corn and a choice of sauces) and soak up the sunset. Once you’re satiated, head downstairs to bar B61 to shoot pool and peruse the jam-packed jukebox.

A perfect square meal
at L&B Spumoni Gardens.

At this long-standing Bensonhurst institution, thankfully little has changed in over 60 years. The outdoor picnic tables are still overflowing with devotees who make the trek for much-loved Sicilian squares. No fancy toppings here — only pepperoni, sausage, mushroom and anchovies. Bring your appetite and indulge in several squares, but make sure and leave room for the namesake spumoni — homemade in vanilla, pistachio or rainbow.

Alma (187 Columbia St., at Degraw Street in Red Hook) is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 am–2:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday from 5:30–10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:30–11 pm. For information, call (718) 643-5400.

The Cherry Tree (65 Fourth Ave., at Bergen Street in Boerum Hill) is open Monday through Thursday from noon–2 am, Friday and Saturday from noon–4 am and Sunday from noon–midnight. For information, call (718) 399-1353.

Laila Lounge (113 N. Seventh St., between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg) is open daily from 6 pm. For information, call (718) 486-6791.

L&B Spumoni Gardens (2725 86th St., at Avenue V in Bensonhurst) is open daily from noon–11 pm (pizza counter is open until 1 am). For information, call (718) 449 -6921

Pacifico (269 Pacific St., at Smith Street in Cobble Hill) is open Sunday and Monday from 11:30 am–10:30 pm, Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 am–11pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:30am–11:30pm. For information, call (718) 935-9090.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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