This isn't a full list so don't freak out. It's just a few of my favorites. The Gallatin Valley is blessed with really great options for outdoor drinking and dining.

There are few things I enjoy more than a big, long lunch outside with a friend or two. Getting done with work early...after the main lunch rush...maybe a cocktail or two...love it.

I think writing about these is way more about my excitement of the coming months rather than any particular bar or restaurant. Getting back to doing all the things we love is important and desperately needed. Screw 2020.

So anyway, if you need a few ideas, here are just a few of my favorite places to eat outside. (Just keep in mind there are TONS of other good options.)

TED'S MONTANA GRILL BACK PATIO (105 West Main Street) Although the back patio is around the corner on North Willson. I like this place not just because it's in the heart of lively downtown, but their back deck is surrounded by tall greenery so you're not on display for everyone walking by. It's a bit more intimate and easier to focus on your lunch date. There are a few tables on the Main Street side which are also great but seating is limited, it can get pretty hot and there's the whole 'on display' thing.

SHINE BEER SANCTUARY + BOTTLE SHOP w/LAPA GRILLE (451 East Main Street) This place is pretty much perfect. Aside from the occasional long line to get a burrito at LaPa, I love everything about SHINE. Fantastic location, really good food, knowledgeable staff who always introduce me to some weird beer that I end up loving, and not one but TWO very different options to hang outside. One large, front patio on Main and another great perch upstairs. Their bathroom is even cool.

MAP BREWING COMPANY (510 Manley Road) Ok, it's not really downtown but it's not far and I don't care. THAT is how you do outdoor dining. Most would agree that it doesn't get much better than MAP's back deck...the pond...the view...please. The food is really excellent with lots of local ingredients and not foo-foo.

So, there ya go. There are plenty of other great outdoor dining options around the valley but these are my favorites. If you want to grab a lazy, late lunch sometime...I'm in.

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