Temperatures may have dipped, but that doesn’t mean going outside has to go on the back burner. The fun is just heating up in Williamsburg, where outdoor dining and drinking options abound thanks to fire pits and heaters. The coolest breweries and bistros offer up tasty bites and tempting tipples to chase away the chill.
A trio of custom-built fire pits warm up winter at The Virginia Beer Company, where biergarten-style tables make for an Oktoberfest-like atmosphere no matter the season. Seats are available on a first-come, seat-yourself basis, and rotating brews can be paired with bites from a food truck lineup that alternates frequently. Recent highlights have included barbecue and fluffy Southern biscuits, Greek lamb sliders and truffle oil fries, and stone-baked pizzas.
The views are just as good as the brews at Billsburg Brewery. The blaze from a spacious outdoor fire pit makes an ideal place to laze with a traditional-style lager, pilsner, or ale and enjoy the vista from Billsburg’s 10-acre marina. The Hungry Pug food truck is on deck seven days a week, with a cheese-focused menu. Don’t miss out on the beer cheese, served with warm pretzel bread.
Expect the unexpected at Precarious Beer Hall, where brewers Adrian Garrett and Owen Flannery are always experimenting with new brewing processes, or “attempting perfection” with more traditional styles. A rotating selection often includes West Coast-style IPAs, lagers, barrel-aged stouts, and sours. The duo make celebrating local produce a priority in what they call “culinary-inspired beers,” which makes Precarious an ideal haunt to savor a snack from on-site Electric Circus Taco Bar. Snag a spot by the fire pit or an outdoor heater and stay toasty during the winter months.
In the mood for Southern food? Head over to the outdoor heaters at Amber Ox Public House, the sister restaurant to Precarious Beer Hall, where the menu frequently includes such hits as shrimp and grits, a biscuit board, and poutine topped with barbecued burnt ends. Amber Ox brews up its own craft beers, and also curates a list of beers from surrounding states that pair well with the menu. The food here is locally sourced from regional farmers, perfect for the foodie and craft beer snob.
Creative cocktails, mouthwatering martinis, and microbrews with big taste are just some of the signature items at Second Street An American Bistro. The outdoor patio includes a fire pit, gas heaters, and landscaping with water features, making an ideal spot to kick back and order an extra course. If there’s room left over after indulging in palate pleasers like lasagna, steak, grilled salmon, or a burger, don’t pass up the colossal carrot cake or variety of infamously large cookies. The Bistro offers one of the most extensive dessert menus in the area.
A sprawling outdoor cocktail garden and spacious courtyard patio with an Instagram-worthy fire pit are just a few of the spaces that make Copper Fox Distillery worth a visit. The historic 6-acre plot includes several buildings and a freshwater pond. Check out some of the highlights during a tasting, while picking up gin, bourbon, or whisky from the retail shop, or while sipping one of their creative cocktails. For the indecisive in the bunch, there are also tasting flights for $15 or less so you can figure out your favorite.
A taste of Spain comes to Williamsburg at La Tienda Tapas Bar, where small plates include sizzling shrimp with garlic, and bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with manchego complement house-made sangria. Chorizo-studded cheese boards bring the heat, as do several outdoor heaters on La Tienda’s new patio. Made-to-order paellas serve two to four people, so bring a hearty appetite – or a few friends.