06/16/2012 09:40 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2012

America's Best Outdoor Bars (PHOTOS)

"Your outdoor bar is only good if your guests are still talking about it at work the next day," says Anthony Trester, assistant food and beverage director at Milwaukee's Yard, where couches, fire pits, and even a brick pizza oven spread out across a hillside.

After all, the basic ingredients are simple--sun, cold drinks, and a dash of atmosphere. But the best outdoor bars rise to Trester's challenge and make a lasting, inimitable impression. A fantastic view, creative cocktails, and comfort food help our favorite outdoor bars edge out the competition.

There's a great outdoor bar to match your mood, from a dolled-up night on a Chicago rooftop to a lazy Texas afternoon kicking back with beers and live music on a patio. And if the crowd makes a difference, so, too, does a bar's location and trappings. "Every place with a liquor license and a concrete slab tries to put an umbrella up and serve drinks; if you're going to be outside, be somewhere cool and fun," says Trester.

Plot your own escape to one of America's best outdoor bars and raise a toast to summer. We've got your beach bars and beer gardens covered, too. --Kayleigh Kulp

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America's Best Outdoor Bars