We’ve surpassed sweater weather and have moved straight into “heater constantly on with multiple layers” weather. As restaurants have mastered al fresco dining, we’re checking out how they’re pivoting to safely serve diners during the winter. From tents to heaters, let’s see who’s bracing for the cold in Birmingham.
Virtually all sectors of the economy have been impacted by COVID—and not in a good way. Local businesses, especially restaurants and bars, need our support more than ever.
Tents just aren’t for camping anymore
Is it weird to romanticize outdoor dining or is that just months of quarantine talking? We’ve all seen the tent-lined streets of New York either on social media or TV. Now the COVID-friendly, weather-friendly trend has made its way to Birmingham as local restaurants have continued to move seats to the streets.
Let’s take a look at some of the restaurants around town pitching tents to accommodate diners.
Rojo + O’Henry’s Coffee
Take a drive over to Highland Park and there’s a good chance that you’ll pass what looks like roadside greenhouses. Well, that’s exactly what they are, but instead of plants, they’re for you.
About a month ago, Rojo added the tents to expand upon their outdoor and patio seating. The tents are shared between Rojo and O’Henry’s. They even come complete with twinkle lights for nighttime diners.
Cozy tents in front of O’Henry’s Coffee in Highland Park. Photo via Bham Now
You can check out these Highland Park dining tents at 2921 and 2915 Highland Avenue.
Would you like a side of tacos with your tent? El Barrio in Downtown Birmingham saw an opportunity with their empty lot and took it. I heard someone call it your own private cabana and I couldn’t describe it better.
Although, El Barrio’s dining room is open with socially distant seating, the tents are available for people who want a little extra space. Bonus: They’re heated!
You can check out their cabana tents and grab some delicious food at 2211 2nd Avenue North.
Bottega on Highlands Ave. Photo via Chaise Sanders for Bham Now
Leave it up to Bottega to take a trend, run with it and make it 10x more aesthetically pleasing. Back in September, Bottega reopened their doors and soon after added large tents to allow for al fresco dining no matter the weather.
Now that the holidays have arrived, they decked out the patio with dreamy garland and twinkle lights. If you want to experience their heated tents just make sure to call ahead for a reservation.
Whether you’re looking to dine or just check out their Pinterest-worthy courtyard, you can find them at 2240 Highland Avenue.
Spots that are bringing in the heat
Heaters are the hottest accessories this winter, especially for local businesses who rely on outdoor seating and patio spaces. Let’s take a look at a hand full of Birmingham businesses who aren’t letting winter take its toll on outdoor dining.
The Atomic Lounge
The Atomic Lounge already has some of the coolest decor and vibe in town, but they just stepped it up a notch with their upgraded patio. While taking a stroll downtown, I noticed something was different. The owners of Atomic added a roof with privacy curtains over their patio.
If you’re worried about being as cold as your cocktail, they’ve got you covered. Just take a seat next to their outdoor furnace to get all warm and toasty in no time.
You can visit one of the coolest watering holes downtown at 2113 1st Avenue North.
For a while now, The Lumbar has mastered their patio set up by taking advantage of the parking spaces in front of their building. The restaurant has been a staple at Pepper Place’s Eat in the Streets.
Their garage door has allowed employees to serve diners all while enjoying distanced, outdoor seating. Oh, and let’s not forget the heaters. They’ve got those on deck.
You can grab one of their science-inspired items at 212 29th Street South.
The Collins Bar
The Collins Bar has heaters as well as partitions inside. Photo via Bham Now
Sometimes you just want to grab a drink without worrying about being too close to someone else. That’s when The Collins Bar comes into the picture.
They have a patio facing the beautiful 2nd Avenue North complete with heaters. Just in case that old-fashion didn’t warm you up, the heaters will do the trick.
Photos via Vino
Wine and charcuterie boards are a must no matter the season. So you can get to sipping away on your favorite glass, Vino added some high-powered heaters to their patio.
Additionally, the restaurant has an enclosed patio with insulated walls. To maximize your safety, they’ve added medical grade filters in the HVAC-system.
You can visit Vino at 1930 Cahaba Rd, Mountain Brook, AL 35223.