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The Hit List: Made in the Shade

Love alfresco dining? Better hurry and get out because the mercury just keeps rising. No matter your zip code, a primo patio awaits—no sweat!

Brenner’s on the Bayou

1. Can’t bear to leave Fido at home? Downtown BlackFinn American Grille (1910 Bagby St., 713.651.9550) is pooch-friendly with big fans to circulate the air, and live music Friday nights. Brunch on a shrimp and crab omelet, or a breakfast tostado; burgers or strawberry-pecan salad with goat cheese for lunch or dinner.

2. After the sun goes down, the Blue Bar deck at Brenner’s on the Bayou (One Birdsall St., 713868.4444) beckons, with soothing blue lights, lush manicured lawns and big comfy couches. Munch on chicken satay and peanut sauce, sliders, truffle fries, lump crabcakes, and more (or the full dinner menu indoors). Catch a breeze and chill out with a frosty pear martini.

3. Four Seasons’ tropical Rooftop Pool Lounge (1300 Lamar St., 713.276.4700) menu includes chilled shrimp cocktail, Quattro Cobb with smoked chicken and avocado, “healthy club sandwich” with pepper turkey and alfalfa sprouts, Black Angus burger, a kid’s menu, and more. It’s a staycation!

4. It feels like you’re on the terrazzo of a Tuscan villa at the very social Grappino di Nino (2817 W. Dallas St., 713.528.7002) by Vincent Mandola. Expect gurgling fountains and bright flowers, lots of trellis-shaded seating, live music and a menu of Italian favorites. For a cool fix, check out its new La Gelateria next door.

5. Niko Niko’s (301 Milam St., 713.224.4976) newest outpost features an open air order-from-the-window system with fan misters during the summer, lots of shade, and views of fountain-flanked Market Square Park. Expect generous portions of faves like stuffed grape leaves, Greek salad, and the gyro-chicken combo. You won’t leave hungry.

6. At The Daily Review (3412 W. Lamar St., 713.520.9217), the best kept secret is the semi-shaded patio tucked among a backyard garden with big fans—hello Martha Stewart. The menu’s gone global—think sesame crusted tuna Nicoise, lobster tacos, Southern-fried chicken breast, tomato caprese salad or low-carb lunch and dinner options.