Outdoor Drinking & Dining Tips Until Spring Warm Weather Hits

As the saying goes, March goes out like a lamb but anyone in cold weather climates know that the dog days of winter can often drag on well into spring.  As restaurants and bars are reopening with varying indoor capacity region by region, many news outlets have reported that when presented with the option, they often still prefer to be seated outdoors, even in the cold weather.

Of course, we know that layering is key, but we wanted to find out some ideas beyond the obvious dressing warm.  So we asked industry professionals for their pro tips for outdoor drinking and dining to ensure you are as comfortable as possible while enjoying our beloved bars and restaurants when they most need your support.

Outdoor Drinking & Dining Pro-Tip


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Amy Probasco

Layering actual clothing is key, but being in Chicago I’ve found the most helpful “warm clothing” elements are a hat, warm socks, and gloves. Keeping the extremities warm really helps regulate the rest of your body temperature. Bonus if your gloves are touchscreen friendly for digital menu ordering.

Laura Newman

BYOB = bring your own blanket. I keep two in my car! And to echo what other people have said, one of those blankets is to sit on and wrap around my legs, while the second one is for my top half. Make sure your butt is warm!

Jen Marshall

Bring a thermos or insulated cup to transfer hot drinks warm on cold nights. Several bars are selling branded ones which allows for another way to support them, but I keep one with me at all times when I’m going out because I often find myself ordering a hot cocktail. Also, bring an extra scarf to sit on because there are so many cold metal chairs.

Leigh Michelle Power

Having a cushion or blanket to sit on. Benches and chairs get cold fast, so that extra layer is much better for your tush.
And yes, masks do keep your face warm!

Korissa Matta

Fleece-lined denim, snow pants, or a cute ski bib (v on trend) lets you strip or add layers up top as necessary while maintaining lower body warmth while seated. Base layers and hats are super helpful as well.
Also: Eating pulls blood flow and warmth away from extremities (Reynauds sufferers know this well). Don’t camp. Grab a to-go drink for your walk home.

Warren Bobrow

The cold comes up from the ground. Bring a little throw rug!

Jennifer O’Blenis

In addition to hand and foot warmers, those ThermaCare heating pad wraps for lower back pain keep your core warm.

Caitlin Castellano

Putting your damn mask back on before a staff member approaches your table.
Keeps your face warm too, I guess.

Orion Berge

Pregame, for a nice insulating buzz. The St. Bernard method

In many cities, bringing your own gear to a bar or restaurant isn’t really an option to carry around if you’re taking public transportation or taxi / ride shares.  So bring some extra cash because many venues have offer options for purchase to keep you cozy like branded blankets, insulated cups, hand warmers and more.

Please remember and keep in mind that restaurants and their staff are risking their health to be there to serve you and create a “normal” hospitality experience for you to enjoy.  Be respectful, tip well (over 20% as much as you can afford), try to minimize the time that a server is at your table or needs to go back & forth, show love to the venue and team with good reviews and on social media.

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