A bar? A venue? A… backyard? The simplicity behind Nowadays, the new outdoor space off the Halsey L on Ridgewood-Bushwick border, means it can be all that and more.

All winter this California girl dreamt about summer, and now, it’s finally arrived. As it turns out, my dreams of BBQs and beach days, short shorts and ice cream all have one simple thing in common- my love of just being outside.

And honestly, day to day, that’s sometimes hard to achieve in NY. Setting up on stoops or sidewalks feels impermanent and moderately illegal, and I can’t always justify spending the money at overpriced bars or restaurants with open air seating.

Enter Nowadays, the new, open air space everyone’s been buzzing about. It really is, as the owners have said, the backyard experience, and not just because of the picnic tables, grassy knolls, and games like bocce ball and ping pong. Nowadays doesn’t require anything of you to enjoy your time there, making it the optimal place to just sit back and relax.

There’s blessed little in the way of amenities, but they’re providing ample bug spray behind the bar (“This is the natural one, and this is the one that works”), a small, but significant touch. There are bathrooms that, while technically portable, still manage to feel like a guest house bathroom, sparse but clean. Elevated, BBQ fare from Asiadog (grass fed burger for $9), is served fast, including vegan (hot dog for $5) and vegetarian options (grilled cheese for $7). Plus, they serve It’s It ice cream sandwiches ($5), which makes my San Francisco heart swoon. The beer ($4-7) and wine ($7) are served in cans or on tap, and are local, from Queens Brewery and Gotham Wines.

There’s certainly the space to throw big, loud parties there too, and the owners, behind Mister Sundays and Mister Sundays will, next year. In the meantime, we get to chill out, getting welcomed in by a friendly doorman, not bouncer, and listening to full albums over the speakers, rather than DJ-ed sets.

Ultimately, it kind of feels like happening upon a party of extended friends and family in a park somewhere, only this time what we’re all celebrating is the joy of easy, summertime living. I’ll certainly be following suit of those people who are already regulars, showing up different times of day with friends, family, or an impending hangover in tow. See you there!

Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood, open Thursday through Sunday, (THU 4pm-midnight; FRI 2pm-2am; SAT noon – 2am; SUN noon to midnight)