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[Photograph: Robert S. Donovan on Flickr]

In Manhattan, the change of season is marked by restaurants doubling their space—expanding onto the sidewalk, filling the seats with folks enjoying happy hour dollar oysters and whatever beer is on special. We're peeling off our fleeces and cardigans: outdoor drinking weather has arrived.

Count me in. Why is it that vinho verde just tastes better in the fresh air? IPA is crisper, brighter, and margaritas make sense. Walking through the neighborhood with an iced coffee in hand is one of my favorite summertime activities, and making fresh mint iced tea to drink on the patio becomes an obsession.

I have a soft spot for any number of bars with back gardens or sidewalk space, but for the last five years, my favorite place to drink outside was my little Manhattan balcony. Breakfast outside (pint of iced coffee, please!) is a wonderful way to start the day, and that first sip of beer on a Friday feels more like vacation with the sun setting all around you. We're giving up the apartment in June (the days when I can happily live in 450 square feet with so many stacks of books—not to mention a husband and a few too many guitars—are limited) but I'll be getting my last sips in before we go.

Tell me: where's your favorite spot for outdoor drinking? Are you inaugurating the summer with a special bottle of something?

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