It's a warm spring evening -- finally. The sun still hangs in the sky when you emerge from your classroom or corporate cave. And you've got one thing on your mind: happy hour al fresco.

The Valley doesn't have a strip of outdoor establishments ideal for sipping beer, watching the sun set and scoping out passersby. But it is sprinkled with more than a few joints boasting decks and patios.

Get the read on which beer gardens will be packed with partiers over the next few months, and the types of atmospheres, scenes and drinks they offer.

ALLENTOWN
Banana Joe's (318 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, 610-776-6476, Patio opens May 4): The large, island-themed party place boasts a big patio with two bars. On an outdoor stage, live bands help you get your groove on. There are also ample tables and chairs for those looking to break away from the action to, um, talk.

Hary's (1444 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, 610-435-6631, Patio open now -- weather permitting): The seedy bar connected to the Hotel Traylor isn't much of a hangout during the colder months, but come spring, when the patio opens, more than just A-townies congregate under the awning. The place is casual, the drinks are cheap and you can usually find Hary himself milling about.

Sunset Grille (6751 Ruppsville Road, Allentown, 610-395-9622, Patio open now -- weather permitting): The Tex-Mex restaurant and bar is situated smack in the middle of an industrial park. But as long as you don't mind watching 18-wheelers roll by, it's a great place to grab a bite and sip margaritas or beers. Tuesday night's trivia on the patio is popular.

ALSO TRY:
  • Abruzzi on Main (212 N. Main St., Coopersburg, 610-282-4453, Deck opens mid April. Tiki themed.)


  • Amici (1375 Chestnut St., Emmaus, 610-966-0400, Patio opens late April. BYOB.)


  • Armetta's (301 Main St., Emmaus, 610-967-3050, Patio opens mid April. Cool torches.)


  • Gate 9 Grille ( 448 North 17th St., Allentown, 610-434-2839, Patio open mid April. Hear tunes from the adjacent Main Gate.)


  • Lupo's Beef & Ale (2149 Reading Road, Allentown, 610-820-5570, Deck open now -- weather permitting. Great view of July 4th fireworks.)


  • The Main Gate (448 N. 17th St., Allentown, 610-776-7711, Deck open now -- weather permitting. Three outdoor bars.)


  • Mangos (3750 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown, 610-432-4420, Patio open now -- weather permitting. Delicious margaritas and mojitos.)


  • Pistachios (341 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown, 610-435-7007, Outdoor seating available now -- weather permitting. Tasty martinis, but in a shopping center.)


  • Razzberries (Route 512, Bath, 610-837-8322, Patio opens after Mother's Day. Scenic views of Southmoore Golf Course.)


  • BETHLEHEM
    J.P. MacGrady's (117 E. Third St., Bethlehem, 610-868-8925, Deck opens in May): This bar is a fave among Lehigh students and it shows. During the warmer months the crowd spills out onto the small deck out back. The bar offers a variety of beers, perfect for summer sipping. If you don't feel like fighting for a spot outdoors, hang in and play shuffleboard.