The Raw Bar at Tuscan Sea Grill in Newburyport is a hidden gem. Tucked alongside the restaurant, in a spot that serves as boat storage in the dead of winter, it sports breezy river views, Riverwalk beer on tap, and refreshing cocktails perfect for toasting summertime.
The magic of stumbling upon an inviting spot like that to spend an hour or two outside is enduring – people have always loved grabbing a drink or a bite to eat outdoors. With the pandemic still nipping at our heels, restaurants are obliging with even more ways to take advantage of the gorgeous New England weather – think live music, cornhole, giant Jenga, and of course local craft beer. Here are three of our favorites.
Raw Bar at Tuscan Sea Grill
Since all the boats are currently bobbing in the Merrimack or out to sea, the marina was the perfect spot for Tuscan to add a casual seaside shanty to its elegant indoor dining complex. Adirondack chairs along the waterfront, a slew of picnic tables, a small stage featuring live entertainment Thursday through Sunday, and outdoor games just demand relaxation. Order a drink from the bar—they offer a roster of Riverwalk beers on tap, as well as lovely cocktails (the frosé, made with a high-quality Provincial rosé wine, real strawberry puree and Ketel One Peach Vodka, is dangerously delicious). The menu is the best of a New England clam shack – fried clams, , a generously sized lobster roll, fresh shucked oysters, and even hot dogs. Get there while you can –once the boats need to come out of the water, this riverside idyll is done for the season.
38R Merrimac St., Newburyport, 978-465-2211, tuscanseagrillbar.com
Beer Garden at Tuscan Village
This vast picnic area behind the new Tuscan Market is built for fun, with half a dozen cornhole games, giant Jenga, two imported ovens cranking out delicious pizza, and a roster of entertainment that ranges from live music to Tuesday-night trivia. Bring Fido – dogs are welcome, and even encouraged. If you bring your dog to their “Yappy Hour,” you get discount drinks and a prize. In partnership with Sam Adams, there are eight tap lines of special drafts from Boston’s OG craft beer producer, alongside the Truly Summer Bowl – a cocktail served in a fish bowl featuring Truly Hard seltzer. Even on the hottest days, there seems to be a breeze – and if Jenga and trivia aren’t enough for you, you can reserve a kayak next door at L.L. Bean to paddle around the manmade lake. And don’t worry, as the weather cools, they’ll be lighting up the firepits to keep the party going well into fall.
9 Via Toscana Salem, N.H., 603-212-9650, tuscanvillagesalem.com/beergarden
Night Shift Brewing Beer Garden at Encore Boston Harbor
Get a new perspective on Boston Harbor at this verdant oasis opened in partnership with Everett-based craft brewer Night Shift. Enjoy the lush, hazy Local Luck New England IPA, made just for Encore, or sample a number of their other brews alongside light bites like hot dogs and ice cream. The charming bright red food truck and yellow umbrellas are picture-perfect for social media. All good things must come to an end, so this relaxing weekend spot is only open through Labor Day.
1 Broadway, Everett, encorebostonharbor.com/experiences/night-shift-brewing-beer-garden