Summer is almost over? Don't tell that to this latest crop of new bar and restaurant patios. Better late than never, I say. Each works nicely into my summer master plan -- to spend every imbibing minute outside. Hope you share my enthusiasm.
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 stands 20 feet off the ground and features a permanent bar and overhead trellis. The deck is surrounded by urban warehouse space, making the patio feel like a refuge from the 1st Avenue strip.
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.). The spot's reopening means its big patio is back in business. Sharif plans to add two fire pits next year. For now, it's a comfy spot to sample the beefed-up tap beer selection (40!).
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.
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."
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 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.