Let’s start with one of the best: The Ram. Their patio, away from the street and balanced over a babbling brook, sheltered by trees, is a great place to enjoy anything from one of their signature microbrews to a full-fledged meal. Criteria for an enjoyable al fresco experience should include a little privacy, exposure to the sun and air, and comfort, and The Ram qualifies on all of these. It is popular, though, so either get there early or be prepared to wait just a bit on a really nice day.
Another good option is Best Little Roadhouse, on south Commercial across from White’s. They have a few areas for getting outdoors, with a few added pluses. There is mini golf for entertaining kids, and if the weather gets sketchy, they have a semi-covered area with a fireplace for enjoying the outdoors when the outdoors is not quite amenable. Their back patio behind the bar is a grand place for a few cocktails in the late afternoon sun.
For a slightly more rustic take on the outdoor experience, try either of the McMenamins: Boon’s Treasury on Liberty and Broadway or Thompson Brewery & Public House on south Liberty. By rustic I don’t mean sitting on the ground, but at picnic tables, which suits their selection of comfort/bar food and fine beverages. At Thompson’s, the porch is suitable even on a drizzly afternoon, and especially cozy for a getaway with a special person.
If you don’t feel like going too far from the downtown area and still getting a touch of sun and wind, try Magoo’s on Commercial. While the seating area is small, you can usually find a bit of space. Traffic is moving close by, but their privacy fence keeps you from feeling like you’re actually directing the cars as they pass. Passing an afternoon watching baseball and taking your own seventh inning stretch any time you want outside is a recipe for time well wasted.
There are others, of course, but these are a few of the high points for getting your al fresco going now that the air itself is inviting you outdoors. Just don’t tarry too long, or you might get a mild dusting of pollen in the foam on your beer.