August may be the hottest month in Houston, but there’s plenty of upsides to our subtropical climate. You’ll never have to shovel snow out of your driveway and our weekends by the pool last well beyond summer. By the time September rolls around, Houston weather still has a month or so before average temperatures drop consistently, but our warmer version of autumn still beckons us outside. This is Houston's shady patio season, in which we are compelled to enjoy the outdoors while still finding relief from the sun’s rays.
Midtown favorite 13 Celsius has a beautiful and shady patio, but more importantly, they have a s’mores bar and you can make smores right at your table. Billed as a wine bar, 13 Celsius is a popular date night destination with half off open bottles on Sundays. The courtyard has plenty of umbrellas for ultimate shadiness and often hosts live music to increase the chill factor. Their swanky charcuterie boards are basically essential for first-time visitors, with picturesque cured meats surrounded by both creamy and sharp local cheeses rounded off with warm, crusty bread. And because it bears repeating: s’mores bar right at your table.
Nobie’s is a hidden Montrose gem, tucked away in a restored Craftsman bungalow on Colquitt Street. Their specialty is new American farm-to-table fare, delivered fresh daily from local farms. The 1920s bungalow setting can only seat so many, which is where their cozy patio comes into play. A vine-draped, wooden pergola provides shelter from the sun and makes Nobie’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset. Dinner musts include their delectable Texas tartare, a rich Texan steak cut into tiny bites with smoked jalapeno, served with freshly grilled bread. Honorable mention goes to their smoked grapes with buttery local brie and honey and chicken liver mousse.
A Houston staple since 1983, Backstreet Cafe is a brunch-goer’s dream under the direction of Chef Hugo Ortega, 2017 James Beard Foundation winner for Best Chef in the southwest division. Patio seating spans the front of the building all the way around to the back, where it opens up to twice the size of the indoor dining. Among its most beloved offerings are the Gulf Coast beignets filled with shrimp, crab, andouille sausage. Vegetarians need not worry, as they have a separate meatless menu full of goodies like fresh tagliatelle in kale pesto with brussel sprouts and crumbled goat cheese.
Cafe Brasil has been a Montrose institution for over 25 years, but recently welcomed new chef German Mosquera to deliver a vibrant and healthy reinterpretation of their menu. Notable cuisine updates include the crispy kale and rice, a colorful bowl of charred kale with watermelon radish, cauliflower ricotta, and housemade green goddess dressing on a bed of heirloom rice. Their covered front patio is a lush jungle of native plants, and their back patio is nestled under the protection of mature Texan oak trees, but both are the perfect setting to savor their Garden Mojito with local blackberry and mint.