Dining “al fresco”—that’s French, baby.

Gentlemen, we are officially three weeks out from the first day of Spring, that warm-but-not-hot, paradisaical time of year when even paying your taxes won’t get you down. Crawfish boils, women in sundresses, freshly muddled juleps, the Masters—what more could you ask for?

With this shift in the seasons comes the benefit of being able to dine al fresco. Almost any meal can be enjoyed outdoors in a town like Austin. Thus, the AG thinks it’s only fair to rattle of the ten best places to wine and dine* while taking in the sun—or the stars.

Part I: Cold beer, washers, dogs, etc…

Shuck Shack

The relatively new kid on the block is the Shuck Shack, a seafood dive (please, please pardon the pun) with games like horseshoes, washers and bocce ball to up the outdoor ante. It’s located on the east side, which combined with its small size gives off a really great neighborhood-vibe. The quality of food here (what’s up, catfish poboy!) is only bettered by its price, though in full disclosure, the AG has yet to sample any of their oysters—a key selling point in the Shack’s pitch. In perusing their website, it would appear the management is fishing (haha, more puns!) for some SXSW acts. Washers, oysters and live music? Well done, Shuck Shack.

The Hub

You don’t have to look far in Austin for a great place to watch a Texas football game outdoors, but nobody does it like the Hub. The “backyard” has a giant HD projector screen for showing sporting events, and the Hub offers great drinks specials during games. Speaking of something special, order up some caribbean jerk chicken wings or you will surely regret it. Bring your dog out during “Yappy Hour”, grab some friends to chow down on a Fatty (1/2 lb) or a Flatty (1/4 lb) burger, or if you’re really feeling bold, order up a Dom Pérignon special. It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Freddie’s Place

Truly an Austin favorite, Freddie’s (or Fred’s, Freddie’s Place, Freddie’s on 1st) mixes damn tasty food with a lot of fun. The outdoor area is about twice the size of the restaurant, and there’s no shortage of things to do while you’re there: Live music, horseshoes, washers (+tournaments), movie nights and a playscape for kids—and all 100% dog friendly. Arguably the best part about Freddie’s is the onion rings. Cut extra thick and made with lots of black pepper, these things look like deep-fried rings of love. The AG has been known to partake in the daily $2.99 Jack&Coke specials, too, but who’s asking?

Part II: Coming tomorrow!

Time to round up your mutt, block off a Saturday afternoon for some excessive consumption and start living life better.

*Each of these endorsements is 100% unsolicited (though the AG is open to bribes). If you agree with the list, great! If you don’t, well, it’s a good thing you live in America and can think whatever you like—boo communism! Just drop us a line in the comments section and give a pitch for your favorite outdoor eatery.

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~ by An Austin Gentleman on March 1, 2010.

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