Lose the roof
Relax at one at one of Sacramento’s open-air bars
If you’re looking to relax with sunshine and the evening breeze, there are a handful of local bars primed for both. Don’t be an indoor cat. Imbibe outside.
Midtown’s Cantina Alley
At the corner of 23rd Street and Jazz Alley is Sacramento’s wormhole to Mexico. At least that was the intention of Art Aguilar and Max Archuleta, who opened an authentic open-air cantina on the grid in 2017. Cantina Alley serves street tacos, pozole, sopes, tres leches cake, Mexican craft beer and a collection of mezcals in an ever-expanding menu. Vibrant street art and hand-carved wooden tables make the place feel like home south of the border. 2320 Jazz Alley; Hours: Tue-Thu 3 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; (833) 2320-639; cantinaalley.com.
Swabbies on the River
One of the best places in Sacramento to regularly catch daytime live music is Swabbies on the River, a riverside restaurant off Garden Highway that has Cabo San Lucas and Honolulu in mind. From the shade of giant trees, order from more than 19 beers on tap, or munch on burgers, fries and bar food staples. Definitely take a look at the live music calendar: Swabbies has a local reputation for hosting rocking tributes for bands such as Heart, Van Halen and Creedence Clearwater Revival. 5871 Garden Highway; Hours: Tue-Thu 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; (916) 920-8088; swabbies.com.
No television, no music, no dance floor, but more importantly no roof. Der Biergarten is an outdoor dive that twists on the German beer garden. At K and 24th streets, two large cargo containers are used for the bar and restrooms, and benches shipped from Germany make the space communal. The 32-beer list is extensive with German and Belgian ales. On the food menu: sausages, pretzels and German pizza. In lieu of nightclub amenities, play ping-pong, foosball or cornhole. 2332 K Street; Hours: Tue-Thu 3 p.m.-8 p.m., Fri 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Closed when it rains; (916) 346-4572; beergardensacramento.com.
Drake’s: The Barn
Drake’s Brewing Co. opened a new venue in West Sacramento’s Bridge District last October. It’s an 8,000-square foot beer garden, bar and live music venue characterized by a giant art deco archway and an emphasis on bringing the neighborhood together. Admission is free to the Barn’s three stages, pizza restaurant, 25-plus beer selection and lawn. It’s mostly outdoors, so huddle by the fire pits at night. 985 Riverfront St. in West Sacramento; Hours: Wed-Thu 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-9 p.m.; (510) 423-0971; drinkdrakes.com/places/the-barn.
Revival at the Sawyer
Sacramento’s only rooftop bar overlooks the DOCO and Golden 1 Center from the third floor of the Kimpton Sawyer luxury hotel. It’s got a pool deck, cabanas, a full restaurant that serves $7 dishes and caviar, and while it’s mostly a lounge, Revival transforms into a nightclub on evenings and post-game celebrations. Hours: Mon-Thu 4 p.m.-midnight, Fri-Sat 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; (916) 545-7111; revivalsacramento.com.