Best Al Fresco Boozing

Lake Chalet

Liquor tastes even better when the weather's balmy and the great outdoors beckon you to sip your pinot grigio, hefeweizen, or mai tai by sunshine or starlight instead of in some dim, airless saloon. But where? Someplace apart from the angst and din of the city but close enough for convenience, preferably on the water's edge with lovely vistas and an away-from-it-all atmosphere, yet urbane enough to offer more than just PBR and Chablis. The Lake Chalet has it all. Situated along a quiet stretch of Lake Merritt, this beautifully restored century-old former boathouse feels light years away from Uptown and downtown alike. The bar offers several specialty microbrews, two dozen wines by the glass, and an imaginative array of artisan cocktails. And the views of the lake, the lights, the sailboats, and the moonrise are as intoxicating as the booze. The outdoor deck also has its own bar, grill, and jetty complete with an honest-to-God Venetian gondolier.

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