SB Note: We ran this post last spring, and after our long winter, the prospect of some warm, sunny weather this weekend has us thinking about lunch or dinner alfresco. Ahhh. Sounds good, right?!

Now that spring is finally here and that awful, nasty pollen has subsided, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to dine outside, so I thought I’d feature my favorite local hang outs today to inspire you to dine alfresco as well. Whether you want to take in a sunset with cocktail in hand or wine and dine the night away, there are plenty of hot spots around town where you’ll find yourself in good company.

Dram

A favorite of mine (and many, many others), Dram located in Mountain Brook Village, has a cozy, laid back atmosphere with tables and sofas on the patio. It is a popular spot and a great place to mingle with friends or grab an after hours drink with coworkers. Dram is open Monday – Tuesday 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Friday – Saturday 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Sunday brunch 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., dinner 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. www.dramwhiskeybar.com

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The perfect meet up spot in MB Village.

Vino

This little gem over looking English Village is the perfect spot for date night with the hubby or GNO with your besties. Sharing space with Gallery 1930, Vino offers an intimate and artistic venue with a nice selection of small bites and entrees and of course, a rather extensive wine list. Vino is open Monday – Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday brunch 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. www.vinobirmingham.com

Vino's patio looks into Gallery 1930.

Vino’s patio looks into Gallery 1930.

Vino is a great venue

Such a great venue!

Sol Y Luna

Sol Y Luna over in Lakeview, has a fabulous menu of nightly specials and tapas (small plates) and of course, margaritas that are muy bueno! The patio is fully screened so no need to worry about pesky pests. Sol Y Luna is open for Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and dinner Tuesday – Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday brunch 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. www.solylunabirmingham.com

Outdoor dining with a screen can be key when bugs abound!

Outdoor dining with a screen can be key when bugs abound!

Bottega Cafe

Always in high demand, patio seating at this Southside hot spot is hard to come by, as it is the perfect place to grab a drink or a meal when the weather is nice. Bottega Cafe is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. www.bottegarestaurant.com

Bottega is always spot on

Bottega’s patio is always hoppin’. Photo credit: tripadvisor.com.

Cantina

Pepper Place is home to so many great restaurants and Cantina is one of the best. The outdoor dining area has a fun, eclectic atmosphere that will have you lingering long after that last bite. Cantina is open Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. www.cantinatortillagrill.com

Photo credit: al blog.com

Photo credit: al.com

Cantina is always a fun atmosphere

Cantina is always a fun atmosphere. Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

Chez Fonfon

Chez Fonfon should be on everyone’s bucket list of Birmingham eateries. This french southern pub style destination located in Southside, serves up fabulous food in a fun and lively atmosphere. Chez Fonfon is open Tuesday -Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. www.fonfonbham.com

Chez Fon Fon is the perfect place to gather.

Chez Fonfon’s courtyard is the perfect place to gather.

I also love how most of these places have twinkling lights strung throughout their outdoor spaces. This is almost a prerequisite for me, as I have always been partial to the romance of twinkling lights and really feel that it elevates the ambience of any place. Have you noticed more and more people are adding string lights to their own backyard spaces? I must not be alone in my love of glimmering string lights!

Let us know your favorite outdoor dining spots!