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meetNKY: Especially during the pandemic, these lovely NKY outdoor dining options may fill the void

This story has been updated.

By Rebecca Banks

Whether you love to linger in the carefree moments of summer sunshine or love eating outdoors in cooler, fall temperatures, Northern Kentucky has amazing outdoor dining and patio options. And with the current coronavirus pandemic, many people are gravitating to outdoor dining, but aren’t quite ready to take the leap to dine indoors.

Don’t worry, some of Northern Kentucky’s best restaurants offer outdoor dining and amazing patios. Be safe and follow the guidelines — eat well and stay healthy.

Knotty Pine on the Bayou

Delicious Cajun fare and seafood tucked away on the banks of the Licking River, Knotty Pine might be one of NKY’s best-kept secrets.


Their patio is magical with the lights twinkling and the people all laughing and having a good time. And the food is delicious.


Yonder by Commonwealth in Covington is a unique rooftop bar inspired by the Commonwealth Bistro owners’ love of Kentucky State Parks. With a food menu that rotates weekly, you’ll always have new options to choose from.

Alexandria Brewing Company

Grab some craft beer and some food from rotating food trucks and hang out on the picnic tables all night long. If you’re lucky, you might catch some live music!

The Standard Covington

An old mechanic’s auto garage in Covington has been turned into a hip, new restaurant. While I haven’t had the pleasure of dining here yet, I have complete faith that it will be as amazing as everyone says simply because its owner also owns Otto’s and Frida 602 which both get thumbs-up from me.

Knuck ‘N Futz

These guys have been frying some of the best chicken wings in NKY for years, through restaurant fires and more, so there’s no way they’d let some 25% capacity rules stop them.  Located in Taylor Mill, they have built a patio and then expanded the patio to the parking lot so that they could serve their loyal patrons!  Pro tip: Don’t miss the wing night specials!

Grassroots & Vine

This hidden gem in Ft. Thomas has an awesome patio to just sit back and relax. From delicious brunch, fresh salads and sandwiches, and amazing flatbread, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.


With locations in Florence, Cold Spring, and Crestview, Barleycorn’s is a great local favorite with amazing patios.  We love the fried chicken and the combo appetizer! (Photo was taken last year for anyone concerned with the social distancing guidelines!)

Honey Hole Bar & Grill

Like many other restaurants, Honey Hole in Alexandria has expanded their patio seating to take up some parking lot space, which means it’ll be easier for you to grab a coveted outdoor table. Don’t miss their nightly specials.

Agave & Rye

If you want epic tacos (kangaroo anyone?) and delicious margaritas, check out Agave & Rye in Covington. They have outdoor service at picnic tables down both sidewalks.

Three Spirits Tavern

A fun neighborhood bar in the heart of Bellevue’s Fairfield Avenue, Three Spirits Tavern serves amazing drinks, flatbreads, buffalo chicken dip, pimento crostinis, and more. Their awesome patio and live music are not to be missed.

Midway Cafe

If you’re from Ft. Thomas, you know about Midway Cafe, but if you aren’t, it’s a great local secret. The wings are delicious — and so are these slushee drinks, and they are especially great when enjoyed on their sidewalk seating while watching the cars drive along the Ft. Thomas strip.


Goodfellas Pizzeria in Covington has tables out front and two levels of patio dining in the back where you can enjoy a yummy slice of New York-style pizza. Don’t forget about Wiseguy Lounge upstairs — a great place to grab a cocktail while you’re hanging out.

Frida 602

Frida 602, named in honor of the famous artist Frida Kahlo, is a Mainstrasse favorite and serves some of the best tacos in the NKY and Cincy region. You have to try their Brussels Sprouts taco.

The Gruff

Located at the foot of the Roebling Bridge, The Gruff is inspired by the fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” With a full bar, brick oven pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and a great view of the bridge you won’t be able to get enough of their patio.

The Pretzel Place

Pretzel sandwiches and warm soft pretzels.. what’s not to love? With outdoor seating on the sidewalk down Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue, The Pretzel Place is the perfect spot for lunch or even an afternoon snack. The smell inside is amazing — we can never leave without getting cinnamon sugar knots and the caprese sandwich.

Keystone Bar & Grill

If you like mac & cheese, then you will love Keystone Bar & Grill because they have eight different mac & cheese dishes for you to enjoy in their outdoor dining space. Don’t worry, though, if you’re not the biggest fan of mac & cheese, they have other great options like quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, and more.

Blinkers Tavern

Blinkers Tavern that has not one but TWO outdoor dining areas and has been voted “Best Steak” in Northern Kentucky six years running.

Lil’s Bagels

Lil’s Bagels has some of the best bagels in the NKY and Cincinnati area. Some people think they’re the best you can get outside NYC! They also sell sandwiches, salads, and cocktails. They also have a carryout “windough” to grab some bagels on the go.

Siam Orchid

If you haven’t been to Siam Orchid before, you need to. On Bellevue’s Fairfield Avenue, simply delicious Thai food! Luckily, they have awesome sidewalk seating available.

Smoke Justis

Named after the opening day pitcher for the 1913 Covington Blue Sox, Smoke Justis is a sports bar in Covington that smokes their meat on site, making for great barbeque, wings, brisket, and more.  Check out their bourbon bar while you’re there.

Molly Malone’s

Molly Malone’s is an authentic Irish pub owned and operated by a native of The Emerald Isle. Grab a pint of Guinness and enjoy the view of the Roebling Bridge from their patio. They also host lots of live music, and have one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parties in town.

Parlor on Seventh

Parlor on Seventh has recently expanded its outdoor dining area so there’s plenty of seating and room to ensure social distancing. You won’t be sorry you chose to dine here– everything on the menu is delicious.

The 859 Taproom and Grill

To be honest, I haven’t personally dined here yet, but man, their food and patio look amazing on social media. They not only had a hopping patio before COVID, they also added to it by blocking off part of the parking lot to allow for more outdoor seating to accommodate for the new guidelines. I can’t wait to get here and try it out.

Darkness Brewing

Darkness had an awesome patio scene before it was cool. This is an awesome patio to grab a beer and if you’re lucky, a local food truck will be there too. If not, grab some dinner at one of the Fairfield Avenue restaurants nearby.

Fessler’s Legendary Pizza & Hoagies

Their name includes the word “legendary” for good reason–it’s been family-owned and operated since 1963 (read more about that here). We love the pizza, hoagies, and wings. Oh and those fries… yum. The outdoor seating on Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue is the perfect addition to this local favorite.


Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar is a stop on The B-Line and is a farm-to-table bistro known for their support of local and sustainable farming.


Otto’s Restaurant in Mainstrasse serves American and Southern-style food and is known for its classic Southern dish, fried green tomatoes. They also serve an amazing brunch on weekends — be sure to make a reservation.

Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Covington

Transformed from the original Coppin’s Department Store, Coppin’s is infused with history and offers curated cocktails and locally sourced food like their yummy Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich. Coppin’s is also a stop on The B-Line and is dog friendly so bring your furry four-legged friend with you to experience their outdoor patio.

Libby’s Southern Comfort

With a new covering for their already amazing patio, Libby’s has a strong outdoor dining game. You can’t go wrong with their fried chicken, burgers, or bourbon slushies.

Grandview Tavern

The patio and bar are partially covered, so could be a good option for days when rainy weather is a threat. In Fort Mitchell, the patio is huge, so also a good bet if you have a larger party or want to keep very distanced from other people.

Hofbrauhaus Biergarten

Hofbrauhaus’ spacious outdoor biergarten in Newport is America’s first authentic Hofbrauhaus. It’s located right across from Newport on the Levee. Make sure to stop in and enjoy traditions from Germany without having to leave the United States.

Greyhound Tavern

Located in Fort Mitchell, local favorite Greyhound Tavern recently built a large outdoor patio for customers to enjoy. Greyhound Tavern is known for its award-winning food including their fried chicken, hot brown, and large onion rings.

Ft. Mitchell Public House

If you’re looking for a down-home pub to grab some dinner and socialize, Ft. Mitchell Pub is a great option.

Bourbon House Pizza

Seriously the best Chicago-style pizza we’ve had outside of Chicago can be found in Florence.  They have a few outdoor tables, but if you don’t want to wait, there’s always carryout.

Cancun Mexican Restaurant

Riverfront patios are hard to beat and Cancun has a great one.  When you have a craving for Mexican with a view, this is your best bet, on Riverboat Row in Newport.

Lisse Steakhuis

Lisse has an amazing rooftop area for dining with views of Mainstrasse Village as well as the Cincinnati skyline.


The Baker’s Table

This Newport gem serves award-winning food and drink with a unique atmosphere and open-air garage doors. The pastries are phenomenal.

Bridgeview Box Park at Newport on the Levee

The new Bridgeview Box Park is a great option for outdoor dining. With walk-up counter service of several local food and drink options, there’s truly something for everyone.  Grab your picks and settle in on the amazing patio at Newport on the Levee with the beautiful Cincinnati skyline as your backdrop.

Fairfield Cafe + Bar

This place is a true hidden gem in Bellevue. We had no idea this was even here until they reached out and invited us over to see the space. Coffee drinks, a full bar, sandwiches, wraps, grab-and-go selection, pastries, plus outdoor seating… they’ve got it going on.

Sarah O’Shaughnessy and NKyTribune staff contributed to this meetNKY story. Rebecca Banks is digital marketing manager for meetNKY and lives in Campbell County.

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One Comment

  1. Willie says:

    Four Mile Pig is no longer at Alexandria Brewing, FYI.

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