10 Best Patios in Clear Lake and Nearby Areas

Summer is just about here. Flip-flops, frozen drinks and patio hopping are on the agendas of many people, especially down here by the bay. To make your hunt for that perfect patio a little easier, the Houston Press has put together a list of ten patios in the Clear Lake and nearby areas that just might help make this summer one to remember.

Noah’s Ark, 4438 Boulevard, Bacliff

Just steps away from the water, Noah’s Ark is a place you’ll want to stay awhile. Bring a hair tie for your long locks, because the gulf breeze likes to dance here. There are several patios and decks to choose from, all overlooking endless views of the bay. Many patios are covered, like the oversized palapa bar upstairs, which is reserved for adults. We recommend the Bloody Mary and the rib eye steak and shrimp.

Kid-friendly (except for the palapa bar), full service, full bar, pet-friendly, and smoking on the patio permitted.

Topwater Grill, 815 Avenue O, San Leon

Located on April Fool Point Marina, the patio at Topwater Grill has a perfect view of the water. It’s a bit of a drive and tucked away in a corner of San Leon, but if you’re looking for a patio on the water, this has one of the best views in the area. Seating is stretched all around the water and includes charming cushioned glider booths. These booths are covered and comfortable and, as the name suggests, glide back and forth. Nothing like being in the shade with a frozen cocktail, swaying in your booth on the bay.

Large pelicans sit over by the outdoor fish fillet station, but don’t worry, they won’t bother you. They just add to the beachy vibe this place radiates. Traditional patio tables line up around the main restaurant, also with full-service and gulf views. Topwater Grill is a seafood restaurant that boasts, “You hook it, we cook it!” So pull up your boat and pull out your fresh catch and relax while they do all the work. Try the tender soft-shell crab and the appetizer of plump Royal Reds.

Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, smoking permitted on the patio, and pet-friendly.

Watch the boats go by while enjoying a Cajun Bloody Mary at Outriggers.EXPAND
Watch the boats go by while enjoying a Cajun Bloody Mary at Outriggers.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Outriggers, 101 Bath, Seabrook

Outriggers is located underneath the Kemah bridge, and its patio offers more than just a breathtaking view of Clear Lake. Sit upstairs on one of the weathered wooden picnic tables and watch sailboats and speedboats pass under the towering bridge. This is the pathway that leads watercraft from the calm waters of Clear Lake to the vast waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Check out fishermen on the rocks below reeling in their catch, or watch the young lads in sail school pass by with their class of soon-to-be captains. Jet Skis zip along, and the chaos of the Kemah Boardwalk is a viewable but safe distance away. We recommend the Cajun Bloody Mary topped with spicy boiled shrimp and the blackened catfish tacos.

Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, and smoking on the patio permitted.

Enjoy shade under the oak tree at Marais in Dickinson.
Enjoy shade under the oak tree at Marais in Dickinson.
Photo Courtesy of Marais

Marias, 2015 FM 517, Dickinson

A little jewel a few miles from the bay is Marais on Dickinson Bayou. Marais has a deck for everyone. Enjoy one of three patios —  a charming, treehouse-style patio with swings and chandeliers hanging from a 120-year-old oak tree; an intriguing patio called The Plank, with pirate memorabilia and scattered tables with large umbrellas for shade; and the Biergarten patio, with picnic tables from Oktoberfest in Germany and a painted mural of dancers on the back fence. All three patios have a fantastic view of the bayou and its lush trees. In the evening, you’ll hear the peacocks scream from across the way, warning that the bats are coming. Marais celebrates the neighborhood bats as they fly out into the trees for the evening with a Bat Flight Happy Hour from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy a $5 Bat-Tini or a $2 Bat Out of Helles Beer. Recommended: the lump crab and shrimp tower, the okrarellenos, the Marais seafood platter and the crème brûlée.

Kid-friendly, full bar, extensive wine list, full service, and smoking only permitted on the Biergarten patio.

Stuttgarden Kemah is a fun, German-inspired restaurant with a large, family-friendly patio
Stuttgarden Kemah is a fun, German-inspired restaurant with a large, family-friendly patio
Photo Courtesy of Stuttgarden Kemah

Stuttgarden Tavern, 609 Bradford, Kemah

Back over in Kemah is an upper-deck patio in a spot just south of the boardwalk. Stuttgarden Tavern makes the list because of its spacious deck. Strung lights stretch from one end to the other, giving this German-influenced restaurant a cheerful touch. Games such as cornhole and Connect Four are available on the patio. Enjoy live music every Friday and other events including Steak Wednesday, karaoke on Mondays and cornhole tournaments on Thursdays. Regulars recommend the bacon-crusted mac ’n’ cheese and the housemade sausages — Philly brats, gouda brats or the bratwurst served on a bun. A bratwurst sampler is also available for those who want to try one of each. Also recommended are the pub-style homemade pretzels and the Jaeger pork schnitzel. Almost everything is made in-house, even the brats.

Kid-friendly, full bar, full service, pet-friendly and smoking permitted on the patio.

Beautiful view of Clear Lake from this patio at Cabo Clear Lake.EXPAND
Beautiful view of Clear Lake from this patio at Cabo Clear Lake.
Photo Courtesy of Cabo Clear Lake

Cabo Bar and Grill, 2513 NASA Parkway, Seabrook

Located on Clear Lake next door to where the nostalgic Turtle Club once stood, this adult-only bar has a large upper and lower deck patio overlooking the heavily trafficked waters of Clear Lake. Pull up your boat and make your way to the sunny upper deck. Enjoy vast views of the lake and the sounds of boats cruising by while the sun warms your cheeks. Cabo also has dancing and live music. Check out the events calendar for a list of upcoming entertainment. On Taco Tuesday, enjoy $3 tacos, $3 Fireball shots and $2 domestics. Every Thursday starting at 5 p.m., enjoy Cabo’s Steak Night with a variety of options to choose from. Regulars recommend the stuffed filet mignon with roasted cherry tomatoes.

Adult-only, full bar, full service, and smoking permitted on patio.

Enjoy the shade and the view of the marina on this patio at Opus Ocean Grille.EXPAND
Enjoy the shade and the view of the marina on this patio at Opus Ocean Grille.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Opus Ocean Grille, 1510 Marina Bay, #124, Clear Lake Shores

Hidden off Marina Bay close to Waterford Harbor is a fairly new spot and sister restaurant of Opus Bistro, Opus Ocean Grille. Both locations offer patio dining, but the patio at Ocean Grille is spectacular. There are a few outdoor areas to choose from. The local favorite is the upper deck overlooking the swaying yachts docked in the marina. Below the upper deck is a shaded deck with the same magnificent view of the water. Also on the upper deck is a tucked-away retreat with brightly colored couches and a fire pit — an area perfect for cocktails and conversation. Food has reportedly been hit or miss, but the outdoor space makes Opus worth a visit and a cocktail.

Kid-friendly, pet-friendly, full bar, full service, and smoking is permitted on patio.

Sundance Grill II patio on Waterford Harbour Marina.EXPAND
Sundance Grill II patio on Waterford Harbour Marina.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Sundance Grill II, 800 Mariners, Kemah

Right around the corner is Sundance Grill II. This restaurant offers a pool, a patio and a couple of spots to tie up if you’re cruising over by boat. The large wooden deck overlooks the marina with stately homes just across the water. Umbrellas are provided for the outdoor tables upon request. Sit back and relax to the sounds of halyards clanging and the occasional seagull cawing overhead. Sundance Grill has been inconsistent with food, but the cocktails are always enjoyable. Regulars recommend the shrimp Bimini and the filet mignon.

Kid-friendly, full service, full bar, and smoking is permitted only in the pool area.

Unwind on this quaint patio at Chelsea Wine Bar.EXPAND
Unwind on this quaint patio at Chelsea Wine Bar.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Chelsea Wine Bar, 4106 East NASA Parkway, Suite F, El Lago

Looking for the perfect, adult-only patio to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset? Jackpot. This European-style wine bar is warmly decorated with lounging in mind. It will be hard to skip right past the cozy rooms inside and venture out to the patio. But once you’re done oohing and ahhing at the charming decor, step outside and pick a little table upstairs on the covered patio. This is a spot to unwind and catch your breath after a long day. Whether you want to chat over champagne and cheese or just grab a barstool with a flatbread and a cold beer, there is a view for you. Recommended are the warm brie plate and the Italian meat platter.

Adult-only, full bar service, beer and wine only, and pet-friendly on the downstairs patio only. Smoking is permitted on all patios.

Hubcap Grill, 800 Bradford,  Kemah

Looking for a patio with a backyard vibe? Look no further. Hubcap Grill in Kemah sits on stilts and has its restaurant and patio up on the second floor. Wooden stairs or the long, winding ramp lead you up to this shaded patio heaven of picnic tables, strung lights and trees growing through the deck. Hubcaps and metal signs line the walls, while car parts create a unique recycling station for cans and bottles on your way out. Hubcap Grill sells juicy burgers and varieties of fries with a large selection of craft, import and domestic beers. We recommend the Philly cheese steak burger, the Frito pie burger, and the Hell fries with cayenne, chile powder, Sriracha mayo sauce and jalapeños.

Kid-friendly, beer only, counter-service, pet-friendly and smoking on the patio is permitted.

Enjoy fresh fried seafood on this patio at Pier 8 Seafood Market in Seabrook.EXPAND
Enjoy fresh fried seafood on this patio at Pier 8 Seafood Market in Seabrook.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Pier 8 Seafood Market, 409 Todville, Seabrook

And an honorable mention goes to the patio over at Pier 8 Seafood Market. This is the kind of dive you want to check out after you’ve been fishing all day or playing in the sand at the beach. Flip-flops and stretched-out tank tops covering swimsuits are welcome here. Pier 8 is a seafood market. Walk in and you see raw seafood sitting out on a bed of ice. Choose from fish, shrimp, scallops and even frog legs. Buy what you want and tell them how you would like them to cook it. Big trays full of fried fish, seafood and fries are what to expect at this patio joint. The patio stretches around the restaurant and goes from dark and shaded to bright and sunny to an upper deck with full sun. Enjoy the view of the water surrounding the market and the gulf on the other side.

Kid-friendly, counter-service, beer only, and no smoking on any of the patio areas.

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