What's better than a terrific meal? A terrific meal enjoyed in the open. Here are our top picks for Guangzhou's best al fresco dining spots.
Emitting what could be Yuexiu’s most exclusive patio vibe, 1920’s rooftop terrace is the place to see and been seen on Jianshe Liu Malu. Al fresco diners can bask in the casual yet elegant atmosphere while enjoying authentic German edibles and sipping on 1920’s city-renowned Long Island iced tea – one of the strongest pours in town, by our assessment.
A recent addition to the brand-new Kingold International Financial Center located near Zhujiang New Town Metro Station, Brez’n, brightly lit by natural light and antler-shaped pendants, is housed on the first floor beside the Happy Monk’s newest branch. The venue greets white-collar workers out for lunch or happy hour drinks with glass walls and brisk colors. In addition to hearty Bavarian food and Paulaner brews, Brez’n has a rocking outdoor area composed of wooden patio furniture and tent-sized umbrellas to offer much-needed cover from South China’s blistering sun.
All of Canton Place is one big happy patio, really. A myriad of great eateries await in this culinary coliseum, most of which boast an al fresco area for sunny-day snacking or a warm evening of wining and dining. Of restaurants here that boast a patio, we recommend Mi Casa, 1920 and Oggi.
Taikoo Hui’s rooftop is awesome day or night for many reasons, one of the most commonly cited being foodie favorite Element Fresh. Notable for healthy options – including a substantial salad menu, delicious mains, a kid’s menu and no frills cocktails, this restaurant’s patio is the perfect place to stuff your face and catch a buzz in the hot Guangzhou sun.
While three of the four Happy Monk locations boast patios (RIP Xingsheng Lu), this newest location’s al fresco dining and drinking area is undoubtedly our favorite. Located in the heart of Zhujiang New Town, The Happy Monk Kingold's patio can host roughly 90 people and is perfect for afternoon pints or devouring plates of their legendary Cajun chicken bites.
Housed on the second floor of a mansion built in 1922, the patio of Kui Yuan Café is the perfect spot to cozy up with a novel and relive the charm of historic Dongshankou.
When this place parties, the back courtyard comes alive with deep house DJs, all-day dancing and panoramic views of downtown Guangzhou. Cocktails include all the favorites and then some, prepared in tall glasses with crazy straws and kissed with lemon. A complete collection of spirits and liquors are available, as well as a range of imported beers.
A smart stop for Mad Men-esque whiskey-teers on Party Pier, Mixologie pays tribute to the good old days with its rich leather sofas and reproduction of the famous 1263 Scottish painting ‘Fury of the Stag’ hanging behind the bar. Unlike with other cocktail locales, the menu here is thick – patrons can choose from more than 200 bespoke drinks – and most beverages are prepared on the strong side unless you ask otherwise. Sit outside for an epic view of the luminescent Pearl River, Canton Tower and Liede Bridge at night.
Perched on the fifth and sixth floors of International Grand City just outside Liede station, Morton’s Grille treats visitors to breathtaking views of the Pearl River, Canton Tower and cityscape beyond. Book an outdoor table in advance to make the most of your romantic splurge.
On the opposite end of the Taikoo Hui rooftop from Element Fresh is Guangzhou’s equally popular Paulaner Brauhaus. This outdoor patio area is popular year-round (they have heaters for the cooler months) with schnitzel lovers, fans of delicious German beer and those who just like to people-watch.
Located on the roof of LN Hotel 5, with a view of the riverside and striking Haizhu Bridge, this little-known al fresco bar offers front-row seats to one of the most picturesque nightscapes around.
The best kind of bar is a rooftop bar, and the best kind of drinks are drinks with a view. It’s what Instagram was made for – not those pseudo-artsy shots of Sunday brunch. Imported swills like Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo Chardonnay (RMB360) and Yamazaki 12 Year (RMB1,580) are on-trend, as are the vintage wines and champagnes, premium cocktails, cognacs and whiskies – all at prices one would expect to pay in such a swish establishment. Come sip a cocktail on the top of the world and take in the awe-inspiring expanse of our city from 70 floors up.
Nestled in one of Guangzhou’s original old town alleyways, Wilber’s serves up artistic presentations of meringue filled with fruits and prune clafoutis with vanilla sauce until as late as 2am. Wander around the back of this boutique restaurant to find a secluded terrace fit for starry-eyed diners or a simple nightcap with friends.
For more recommendations and reviews, see our bars and restaurants page.