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October 25, 2012

Roundup: Where To Extend The 2012 Outdoor Dining Season In Philadelphia — Restaurants With Heat Lamps Or Fire Pits

Plenty of bars and restaurants around town offer outdoor seating fortified for the cold by heat lamps and fire pits, like Frankford Hall, Tria, Varga Bar and a. kitchen. (Top left by T. Scheid for GPTMC, top right courtesy Varga Bar, bottom right courtesy Tria, bottom left courtesy a. kitchen)

Philadelphia has had some pretty great weather so far this fall — in fact, we’re supposed to get more beautiful 70-degree weather this weekend (knock on wood) — but the inevitable chill in the air can’t be too far now.

Plus, there’s no denying that the sun is setting earlier and earlier, and once night sets in, the chill does too.

But there’s good news: as the temperatures drop, alfresco dining can still continue, as many of our favorite restaurants and bars have heat lamps and/or fire pits to keep guests warm throughout the late fall and winter.

This season, we’ve updated our heat lamp/fire pit roundup to add newly opened restaurants and bars, check up on some old stalwarts and bring to you the best places in the city to stay toasty warm as the days and nights get colder.

And remember, heat lamps and fire pits are not guaranteed to be on at all times, so call ahead and check so you don’t end up outside without any heat.

Check out our roundup, below, for all of your late season alfresco needs, and let us know what your favorite is.

Fette Sau: Fette Sau, Stephen Starr’s newest restaurant, a partnership with Brooklyn’s Joe Carroll, offers barbecue lovers indoor and outdoor seating, all year long. Similar to its neighbor, Frankford Hall, it’s got super strong heat lamps in its front courtyard to keep you warm as you chow down on some of the best barbecue in town.

Stratus Rooftop Lounge: Placed 11 floors up at Philadelphia’s newest luxury hotel, Stratus Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Monaco introduces a different kind of outdoor heating: a 30-foot fire wall to keep guests seated in the outdoor section of the rooftop lounge warm as they enjoy food and drinks over Independence Mall.

Frankford Hall: After being open for over a year, Fishtown beer garden Frankford Hall is still a Philadelphia favorite. Their heat lamps and roaring fire pit make it feel like summer (literally… take a seat near the fire and you don’t even need a coat) even in the dead of winter. Grab a liter of beer and a substantial burger and your body temperature will be just right.

Parc: Overhead heat lamps allow you to enjoy the sites of Rittenhouse Square while keeping you nice and warm as you enjoy the French fare at Starr’s iconic Parc.

Rouge: Steps from Parc, Rouge also boasts beautiful views of Rittenhouse Square as well as toasty heat lamps to keep you warm.

a.kitchen: Located at the AKA Rittenhouse Square, a.kitchen offers year-round outdoor dining thanks to overhead heat lamps. People-watching in the warmth? Done. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrity diners.

Twenty Manning Grill: With heat lamps installed in the awnings at Twenty Manning Grill, a constant warmth keeps you from feeling any chill in the air.

Drury Beer Garden: Located just off 13th and Sansom Streets behind its owner, Opa, award-winning Drury Beer Garden allows guests to indulge in bites and sips as their heat lamps keep the outdoor area toasty warm. Grab a $6 pint of lemonade, iced tea or punch and you’ll practically feel like you’re on a tropical vacation.

More places with heat lamps and/or fire pits below, including an award-winning rooftop deck, a newly opened University City spot and more.

Bridget Foy’s: The South Street staple’s front porch is a great place for people watching and a great place to enjoy food and drinks, even in the colder months. The covered seating area right on South Street provides guests who choose to sit outside with warmth from their heat lamps.

Devon: Also neighboring Parc and Rouge, Devon sits right on Rittenhouse Square and offers guests fine seafood. Enjoy fresh salmon or scallops while plenty of heat lamps keep you warm.

Han Dynasty: Han Dynasty University City, in the former MidAtlantic Taproom space, offers the same patio fireplace that Chef Dan Stern’s spot did, but with tasty Chinese food and yummy Scorpion Bowl drinks from master mixologist Katie Loeb instead.

Landmark Americana: The University City bar and restaurant Landmark Americana tends to their guests’ every need with delicious food and drinks and outdoor fire pits that are turned on full blast when the weather allows.

Tria: All locations, including the newly opened Tria Wine Room in University City (formerly Biba), keep their outdoor seating sections heated with electric heat lamps.

The Cambridge: Graduate Hospital’s newest hot spot, The Cambridge, will keep its outdoor patio open this season with the use of a chiminea and heat lamps.

Continental Midtown: The award-winning rooftop deck at Continental Midtown lets guests enjoy the Center City skyline view all year long thanks to heat lamps. The indoor section of the rooftop boasts a roaring fire to warm up guests as well.

The Corner: Whether you’re sitting outside for lunch, happy hour or dinner, the rooftop deck at The Corner has heat lamps to make sure you stay warm as you chow down.

Raw Sushi and Sake Lounge: The folks at Raw want you to enjoy your sushi and sake in peace without the worry of cold weather if you choose to sit outside. Their courtyard includes heat lamps and tarps overhead to keep you as warm as can be.

Zavino: Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the streets of Midtown Village while sitting down with a glass of wine and some artisan pizza into the late fall with Zavino’s newly introduced heat lamps.

Sampan: Tucked behind the restaurant, The Graffiti Bar at Sampan makes sure diners stay as warm as the people inside with heat lamps stationed all over the outdoor section.

Varga Bar: Outdoor heat lamps at Washington Square West’s Varga Bar keep you warm as you enjoy food and drinks while sitting along 11th Street.

City Tap House: City Tap House’s stone fire pits are turned on every night, weather permitting. Grab a beer and bite outdoors at this University city staple on Walnut Street.

Gunners Run: Enjoy the sports games or movies being played on the jumbotron at the Piazza at Schmidts as the temperatures drop, thanks to the heat lamps in the outdoor section of Gunners Run.

La Fontana Della Citta: This Rittenhouse Square Italian staple features heat lamps placed overhead to keep you warm as you sit outside on 17th Street. Hint: order the gnocchi.

Silk City: The festive outdoor beer garden at Silk City is open in the fall, but not winter. Guests are kept warm with a chiminea.

Fare Restaurant: Nestled between the restaurant and its neighboring building, Fare’s outdoor patio stays cozy and warm even on the more chilly nights with the help of the barricaded area and several flaming heat lamps. Not only do they fight the cold, but they also create a great ambiance that makes you feel like you’re at an upscale bonfire. Fare is also organic and sustainable with almost everything from its food to its cocktails to its business practices.

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