Central Ohio may lack sandy beaches and salt-scented ocean breezes. But you don't need to wander far to experience a summer-vacation state of mind. Pencil a happy-hour escape on your calendar and tour the patios at three local eateries known for blending creative cocktails with relaxing atmospheres.

CABO COCINA
6125 Riverside Dr., Dublin
614-792-9190
www.HDRestaurants.com Atmosphere:
Perched atop a cliff overlooking the Scioto River, the breezy, uncovered patio at this Mexican and Latin restaurant is a casual party spot during warm-weather months. Strands of festive white lights and tiki torches illuminate tables covered with canvas umbrellas. On Thursday and Friday nights, seats on the patio and adjoining indoor bar fill quickly when happy hour begins. Drinks:
Cabo's bar flows with cervezas, premium tequilas and, of course, margaritas. Request your own custom margarita made with freshly-squeezed fruit juices and served on the rocks. Or, if you prefer cocktails that taste more like dessert, order a frozen margarita made with fresh, pureed fruit and finely blended into an icy, sweet confection. Starters:
Spice up the bowl of chips delivered to your table with a trip to the salsa bar, where you can sample six salsas made daily from scratch. More fiery appetizers include "sweet" plantains slathered in a chili-honey glaze and the shrimp tostada covered in honey hot sauce and grilled salsa. Happy Hour:
4 to 5 p.m. on the patio,
Monday through Friday