Al fresco dining is getting a makeover

As of this week, Stephen Starr has officially infiltrated Fishtown with Frankford Hall, his take on a German beer garden. Save for the loudly striped red doors, the open-air restaurant’s facade sneaks right in to Frankford Avenue with a rustic warehouse vibe courtesy of reclaimed materials.

There’s some inside seating, but the real fun is in the 240-seat courtyard, complete with ping-pong tables, picnic benches and self-service walk-up counters. The menu is heavy on the bratwurst — although there is a vegetarian “sausage” — while the brews are a mixture of local and imported bottles and drafts, with Dogfish Head My Antonia making an exclusive on-tap appearance.

Campo at Le Virtu
1927 E. Passyunk Ave.
This East Passyunk gem debuted its “Campo” space this month, taking over the adjoining grass lot for a summer-long garden party. It’ll be serving up rustic Abruzzese fare al fresco through mid-October and will also feature special monthly menus.

Philadelphia Belle
Although the riverboat does have indoor seating areas in addition to the deck, it’s definitely not your typical dining room. Lunch, brunch and dinner cruises are available, but we’re loving the “Taste of the Belle” Friday tour, a two-hour ride that includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres and DJs on the Delaware.

1031 Germantown Ave.
Whether or not you spring for an Arrow Swim Club membership this summer, you can still hit up the adjoining Chenango restaurant and its superplush outdoor seating. In addition to comfy couches, there’s a fire pit that likely won’t be easy to score a seat next to. As for the menu, it’s light and pool club-friendly, with plenty of grilled veggie sides to go along with the burgers. The real stars, however, are the cocktails, plenty of which — like the Dragon Fruit Lemonade — are available by the pitcher.

Garces Trading Company
1111 Locust St.
If your idea of the perfect atmosphere includes a checkered blanket, Garces Trading Company is packing up “picnics-to-go.” Choose from the Happy Hollow (a selection of cheeses, meats and spreads), the Boathouse Row (country pate, duck rillette, tomato salad and other nibbles) or the Belmont Plateau (a larger basket starring ribs, mortadella hot dogs and seasonal beers).
As for wine, pairings are suggested and available at the on-site PLCB wine store.

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