Quick, while the weather is still warm: Take a look at five patios that recently opened for business.
Each works nicely into my summer master plan -- a declaration I made in early June to spend every imbibing minute outside. Hope you share my enthusiasm.Bootleggers
If this downtown party bar usually wears a baseball cap, think of its new back-alley deck as a slick fedora. The all-wood, second-level structure reaches 20 feet into the air and features a permanent bar and overhead trellis. The deck is surrounded on all sides by urban warehouse space, making the patio feel like a refuge from the 1st Avenue strip's raucous street scene.
Info: 323 1st Av. N., Mpls. 612-338-4555. www.bootleggersmpls.netParma 8200
Typically, I would advise against spending your evening in the middle of a labyrinthine suburban office park. But then I went to Parma. D'Amico's Bloomington endeavor (attached to a building in the Normandale Lake complex) is high-style, with a patio worth your attention. It reminded me of Chambers' D'Amico-run courtyard, with weekend DJs, two large fireplaces, a pool table and lots of plush modern furniture (comfy sofas, oversized chairs, plus an assortment of dinner tables).
Info: 5600 W. 83rd St., Suite 100, Bloomington. 952-896-8888. www.parma8200.com.Aperitif
Woodbury? Yes, Woodbury. One of the Twin Cities' best new patios is at this stylish Mediterranean restaurant in the eastern 'burbs. The outdoor grounds are covered in a sea of brick and punctuated by a half-dozen trees. The focal point, however, is a large covered bar, which would make for a great scene in the Woodbury version of "The Real Housewives."
Info: 772 Bielenberg Dr., Woodbury. 651-578-3000. www.aperitifrestaurant.com.Burger Moe's
After watching tenant after tenant fizzle, building owner Moe Sharif has opened his own place in the cursed W. 7th Street location (former home to Rizzo's, Il Vesco Vino, El Patio, Chico Chica, 242 Restaurant, etc.). While a burger joint isn't really anything to scream about, the spot's reopening means its big patio is back in business. Sharif, who owns the Downtowner across the street, plans to add two fire pits next year. For now, it's a comfy spot to sample the beefed-up tap beer selection (40!).
Info: 242 W. 7th St., St Paul. 651-222-3100.Loring Pasta Bar
The Loring's new upstairs patio made me feel like I wasn't in the Twin Cities anymore. Wedged into a sliver of outdoor real estate near the top of the Dinkytown building, the intimate hideaway has room for only six tables and a forest of potted plants. It is far-and-away Dinkytown's best date spot. Note: The patio closes earlier than the rest of the restaurant, so call ahead for availability.
Info: 327 14th Av. SE., Mpls. 612-378-4849. www.loringpastabar.com.
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