Some sort of freaky magical secret garden paradise. The Stranger

Agua Verde on Portage Bay

Let's talk about the view. Not the view of the canal connecting Lake Washington to Lake Union, or the sunshine twinkling on the cyan waves of Portage Bay. Not the leafy trees across the way or the frog-colored water lilies bobbing in the water. Not the lumps of fresh white cod in fried golden batter that, somehow, stay crisp on the outside despite being enrobed in creamy avocado sauce inside your burrito. Not the view of tequila and pulverized lime swirling in your icy margarita. Not the chipotle salsa that you serve yourself ad infinitum from the condiment bar inside the beach-house-turned-cabana-cantina. And not the banana-colored canoes for rent on a small wooden pier. No. Those are not the best views from this patio. Rowing—the primary sport in the waterway before you—requires tremendous upper-body exertion, which builds exquisite arms. The people who do this sport must pass this exquisite patio with their exquisite, exquisite arms. Let's talk about that view. DOMINIC HOLDEN

Saint John's on Capitol Hill

The tiny back deck at Saint John's is some sort of freaky magical secret garden paradise. Sweet little tables abut a small green hill, with trees that filter the light in a sweet way but still let the beautiful sunlit fresh air in. Surrounded by friendly plants, enjoying Saint John's unstoppably great mac and cheese plus a few happy hour sangrias, you could definitely find yourself back there for hours without ever realizing it. Saint John's is also a big winner for having both a range of cheap-to-fancy cocktails and a small but seriously awesome nonalcoholic drink menu. The ingredients are 100 percent there for a spectacular afternoon-into-evening (they're open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day), so bring someone you want to lose track of time with. ANNA MINARD

Aqua on the Waterfront

The waterfront restaurant Aqua—formerly known as just "Waterfront"—is run by posh Seattle standby El Gaucho, and they do not mess around. The waterfront seating is on the pier—directly upon the glinting Sound—with grazillion-dollar unimpeded views of Mount Rainier to the south, the Olympics to the west, and, around the other side, the sculpture park for a little culture. Overheard in the sun out here: "I used to own three cars... that was another life. Now I own two." But even if you're in direr straits than this gentleman, Aqua is still for you: At happy hour, from 4 to 6 p.m. every day, house wine is $6, as are well drinks and sangria, and snacks run from $5 to $14. Aqua has new lounge-style furnishings, the better for languoring, and should things ever get even slightly chilly, blankets will be brought posthaste. The impeccable service, the stunning view—it feels good to be rich for a minute, doesn't it? BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Loretta's Northwesterner in South Park

Thanks to the grand reopening of the South Park Bridge, the neighborhood is once again a friendly extension of Georgetown, rather than the effectively hidden mystery accessible only by weird alternate routes that it became throughout the bridge's four-year closure. Celebrate this fact by heading directly across the bridge to Loretta's Northwesterner, a great bar that's home to South Park's most welcoming patio. Opening up wide behind the bar's slender interior, Loretta's backyard is a spacious playground outfitted with various tables (a half dozen or so metal four-tops, one ping-pong) along with a fireplace, a bar, and full food and drink service. Bonus for agoraphobes: the full-size Airstream trailer situated along one wall of the patio, where you can drink on the couch, watch the TV, and spin records on the turntable. DAVID SCHMADER

The Roanoke on North Capitol Hill

If the upscalification of Capitol Hill's formerly great dive bars the Canterbury and the Comet has you down, allow me to suggest that you while away a little time at the great old Roanoke. Having narrowly eluded closure and certain gentrification a few years back, the ivy-covered Roanoke remains exactly the same as it's always been: dim and unfancy and friendly and mellow. All of that extends to its surprisingly capacious outdoor area out back, where you'll find an unpretentious setup of plastic chairs, two ping-pong tables, and half a dozen empty kegs. Everything else out here is worn wood painted deep green, or plant life: ivy (of course), cedar, rhododendron, and bamboo, all happily unkempt and shady. You might hear the intermittent, not-too-worked-up clapping of Mariners fans drifting out from inside; a not-very-hotly-contested ping-pong tourney goes on and on. There's the pleasant white-noise hum of the freeway—it sounds far away—and the chirping of birds. No one cares about appearances here. Welcome home. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Kelly O

Twilight Exit So sun-drenched, they sell cheap sunglasses.

Twilight Exit in the Central District

When the sun is out, the inside of the Twilight Exit seems like a dark cave. Thankfully, it's a dark cave that's attached to a patio so sun-drenched, the bar sells cheap sunglasses ($2!). Keeping the sun at bay are a few shade-creating sails stretched above portions of the patio, which is home to a plethora of picnic tables and one popular ping-pong table. The vibe is adamantly casual: Drinks are ordered at the inside bar and carried outside, and the food menu is a stoner's delight, including such items as the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger, tater tots, and the well-named Stoner's Delight, a pile of tortilla chips served with chili and cheddar-cheese sauce for dipping. If you're looking for a place to eat deep-fried cheese while getting a sunburn, look no further. DAVID SCHMADER

Eastlake Bar & Grill

This deck has a wide-angle view of the part of Lake Union where boats either are headed toward Portage Bay or have just come from Portage Bay, so there's all manner of impressive and adorable water vessels chugging around to entertain you. Go at dusk and the boats are lit up while there's still light in the sky. Plus, at a distance from the deck but still in front of the view, there's a very long electrical wire between two poles... and a thriving squirrel community. Sometimes, in addition to watching boats glide past, you get to watch squirrels tightrope. One of the best experiences I've ever had in summertime in Seattle was demolishing a wedge salad on the deck of Eastlake Bar & Grill while a squirrel put on a show. They don't do a wedge salad anymore, but during happy hour—3 to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to close—you can get a cheeseburger and fries for $6.75. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE recommended