Best Outdoor Cocktail Spots

  • Riverside Realty
  • 07/7/22
Located along the shores of the Long Island Sound, Fairfield County’s renowned “Gold Coast” has long drawn visitors to its quaint streets with its array of hip eateries and bars. The county’s flourishing real estate and tourism industries are significant contributors to the burgeoning nightlife and dining scene that has given rise to some of Connecticut’s most popular cocktail bars and restaurants.

With decades of experience living and working in Fairfield County, The Riverside Realty Group’s team of property market experts has inside knowledge of the very best spots to enjoy a relaxing cocktail, gather for sundowners with friends, or simply unwind after a long day’s work with a perfectly crafted drink in hand.

We know just how rare it is to find a truly perfect outdoor cocktail spot, especially if you’re new to the area, which is why we’ve compiled a list of our seven favorite outdoor venues for delicious cocktails and an unbeatable ambiance in Fairfield County.

Our top seven cocktail spots in Fairfield County

Whether you prefer a stiff margarita, an extra minty mojito, or a slushy Moscow mule, you won’t go wrong with choosing one of these beautiful outdoor spots as your go-to cocktail destination.


1. The Whelk, Westport

  • Address: 575 Riverside Ave, Westport CT 06880
  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 4:30-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12-3 p.m, and 4:30 - 9:30 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of The Whelk
 
Located on the shore of the Saugatuck River, The Whelk is an airy, upscale seafood bar and restaurant in the heart of Westport. Known for its sustainably caught fish and use of local produce, The Whelk’s extensive drinks menu is often overlooked by hungry diners focused on the prospect of oysters, shrimp and grits, and squid ink cavatelli for dinner.

However, true cocktail lovers will delight in the innovative offerings crafted by The Whelk’s friendly bartender. From classics like martinis and negronis to unique creations like the Amelie’s Lily, featuring grapefruit, pamplemousse and vodka, or The Chief, based on a classic old-fashioned with added sherry and orange peel.

With casual tables and strings of fairy lights positioned on the spacious patio, The Whelk is the perfect destination to unwind with friends or family while chatting up neighboring tables and making lifelong friends over a shared love of seafood and inventive drinks.

The Whelk also offers Happy Hour every Tuesday through Friday from 4:30-6 p.m. During these times, the restaurant is exceptionally busy, and patrons can enjoy the lively ambiance and friendly service of this laid-back venue even more.


2. Don Memo, Westport

  • Address: 90 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880
  • Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 4:30-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12-3 p.m., and 4:30-9:30 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of Don Memo
 
Nestled in the heart of Westport’s lively dining and entertainment district, Don Memo is a hidden historical gem. Located within Westport’s original town hall, Don Memo offers guests a creative take on classic Mexican cuisine. Just like the restaurant’s fresh, spicy menu featuring only the most sustainable ingredients, Don Memo’s cocktail menu serves up all things bright, light, and fiery.

Known for its legendary margaritas and Palomas for four, local favorites undoubtedly include the spicy margarita, made with tequila, citrus, and a feisty little jalapeño pepper. Customers who prefer their cocktails on the tame side but don’t want to compromise on any bold flavors will enjoy the Rey de Tigres, a gin-based creation featuring hints of guava, cucumber, and hibiscus.

Don Memo patrons can enjoy their choice of signature cocktails accompanied by the restaurant’s delicious take on modern Mexican fare, including tostadas, quesadillas, and tacos. Guests also have a choice of indoor seating in a warm, retro setting or taking full advantage of the restaurant’s quaint exterior and excellent lighting to enjoy an al fresco meal and drinks with friends.

3. BarTaco, Westport

  • Address: 20 Wilton Rd, Westport, CT 06880
  • Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of BarTaco’s Facebook
 
Perched directly above the waters of the Saugatuck River, BarTaco is a no-frills establishment that truly lives up to its name. Serving mouthwatering tacos accompanied by fresh and fruity cocktails mixed by friendly bartenders, BarTaco is undoubtedly an accurate description of the restaurant's selling points.

The bright, airy restaurant is most popular for its cozy seating area and waterfront views. Here, friends and couples gather to partake of the eatery’s freshly prepared tacos and fun, inventive cocktails.

Local favorites include the Pineapple Express, made with Libelula tequila, a splash of yellow Chartreuse, freshly squeezed lime, and dehydrated pineapple to complete the sweetly sour, refreshing combination.

4. Rowayton Seafood, Rowayton

  • Address: 89 Rowayton Ave, Norwalk, CT 06853
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of Rowayton Seafood
 
Drawn in by the venue’s spectacular marina and river views and beautiful outdoor seating area, Rowayton Seafood patrons keep coming back for more of the restaurant’s freshly caught fish, sourced from the next-door fish market, and its range of painstakingly mixed signature cocktails. As a family-owned restaurant, two of Rowayton Seafood’s biggest draws are the friendly service and unbeatable marina views.

The seafood-centric menu and long list of drinks are a welcome bonus, and most first-time visitors to the restaurant wonder why they’ve never visited before. The establishment’s intimate outdoor seating area feels like you’re perched directly over the quiet waters below and has made it a popular spot among couples on a romantic night out.

The seafood-centric menu and long list of drinks are a welcome bonus, and most first-time visitors to the restaurant wonder why they’ve never visited before. The establishment’s intimate outdoor seating area feels like you’re perched directly over the quiet waters below and has made it a popular spot among couples on a romantic night out.

If you visit Rowayton Seafood, try the unusual This Drink is Bananas cocktail, made of bourbon mixed with banana, grapefruit, bitters, and cream soda. Frose is another exceptionally popular choice and features vodka laced with frozen rose and hints of strawberry.


5. La Plage, Westport

  • Address: 260 Compo Rd S, Westport, CT 06880
  • Hours: Wednesday to Thursday 12-9 p.m., Friday 12-10 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m-3 p.m. and 4-10 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., and 4-9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of La Plage’s Facebook
 
Boasting unobstructed views of the Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound, La Plage is a casual waterfront haven hidden inside The Inn at Longshore. Its location within a hotel has somewhat sheltered it from the crowds that visit other establishments with street-side entrances, however, and La Plage is one of Westport locals’ most well-kept secrets.
 
Alongside a well-stocked raw bar and selection of clubhouse meal specials, La Plage is known for its delicious cocktails and large, airy terrace seating area. Perfect for summer weather, one of La Plage’s most popular cocktails, the Summer Breeze, draws on island flavors, including coconut rum, passion fruit, and citrus.

6. Artisan, Southport

  • Address: 275 Old Post Rd, Southport, CT 06890
  • Hours: Sunday to Thursday 12-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12-9 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of Artisan
 
Located inside the Delamar Southport hotel, it’s easy to miss the unassuming elegance and warm welcome of Artisan. This upscale tavern is popular among hotel guests and Southport residents in the know for its casually elegant outdoor seating area, New England-inspired American cuisine, and imaginative cocktail blends. Artisan’s menu changes regularly, ensuring loyal patrons always have something new to eat and enjoy with family or friends.

However, it would be remiss not to mention the establishment’s extensive cocktail menu as one of Artisan’s major draws. Featuring bold, unique takes on the classics, some of Artisan’s most popular orders include L’Artisan, made with gin, prosecco, lemon, and a rosemary and fig emulsion. Alternatively, Bourbon Garden is another beloved staple consisting of bourbon, saffron-cinnamon, agave, mint, bitters, and fresh lemon.

As one of Southport’s most popular destinations for dinner and drinks, the restaurant can fill up quickly and subsequently offers private dining experiences for groups or couples in one of its several designated dining suites.

7. Graybarns, Norwalk

  • Address: 194 Perry Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850
  • Hours: Tuesday 4.30-9.30 p.m., Wednesday 12-2.45 p.m. and 4:30-9.30 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 12-2:45 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m, Sunday 12-2:45 p.m. and 4:30-8 p.m.
 
Photo courtesy of Graybarns
 
Overlooking the Silvermine River, Graybarns is a rustic-chic country retreat home to an inn and tavern housed on a historic plot of land once used as a stagecoach stop and artist outpost. With several leisurely outdoor spaces to enjoy the Tavern’s food and drink offerings, Graybarns has become popular among wedding and events planners for its scenic natural surroundings and raw country charm.

The restaurant menu changes every few weeks and focuses on serving dishes created using fresh, seasonal ingredients. On the other hand, the Tavern’s popular cocktail menu offers everything from well-known staples like the espresso martini to unique new combinations like the pea-infused gin, yuzu, and mint syrup in the Make It Snap Pea.

Residents of Norwalk looking for a quiet haven away from the bustle of work or the city streets can enjoy a leisurely evening alone or with friends, taking in Graybarns’ surrounding natural beauty and thoughtful design.

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Besides holding a healthy knowledge of Fairfield County’s most popular cocktail spots, our team of realtors, agents, and brokers have decades of experience helping sellers and buyers navigate the Fairfield County real estate market.

If you’re new to the area and looking to buy or rent a house, contact us today to team up with our experienced team members in the search for your dream home.



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