DULUTH — Well the weather outside is frightful, but look at these warm patios — how delightful! And since there's no place else to go ...
A number of Duluth-area restaurants, breweries and cideries have opened winter-ready patios as indoor dining restrictions remain in place at least through Jan. 11.
Vikre Distillery first opened its heated outdoor Wunderbar in Canal Park just before the latest shutdown began in November. It was a good start, bar manager David Moreira said at the time, and it's back open daily.
"Relative to what we offered before, there's more room and space and we have six individual fire pits and have an intricate heating system for all the seats," he said. "There's a little bit of a natural barrier to protect some of the elements outside and retain some warmth and nice feelings."
Over at Ursa Minor Brewing in Lincoln Park, three fire pits and four pellet stoves keep drinkers toasty while waiting on their wood-fired pizzas (have you tried the Voyageur yet?).
On the Saturday before Christmas, "All of the fire pits had people by them, and we even had people standing by our flower beds that don't have any heat sources by then," said Amanda Agamaite, Ursa Minor's event and hospitality manager. "I think people are eager and ready to get out there, and we're happy to have them. … We've been seeing people come out, and it's been awesome."
Here are a few more area patios to check out — watch for different hours on New Year's Eve and Day and e-mail email@example.com if we missed yours and you want to be on this list.
P.S. Many restaurants and breweries without patios are still open for pickup/takeout/delivery, so be sure to spread the love.
Where: Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake, 805 E. Superior St.
Outdoor setup: Sir Ben's has one of Duluth's finest patios in the warm months, and they've added fire pit tables to keep that reputation going strong into the winter.
Warm up with: Any number of rotating regional drafts, and the pesto bruschetta. Always get the bruschetta.
Where: Cedar Lounge / Earth Rider Brewing, 1715 N 3rd St., Superior.
Outdoor setup: Ten fire barrels to warm up around on the weekends at the sprawling festival grounds between Superior's Earth Rider brewery and its taproom, the Cedar Lounge.
Warm up with: Duluth Coffee pale ale, quite possibly the best coffee beer ever made and one of the best brews in the Twin Ports. The Valhalla scotch ale is also a go-to warmer-upper.
Where: Little Angie's, 11 E. Buchanan St.
Outdoor setup: It's the same big deck in the middle of Canal Park you know and love, now with a small partly tented area for outdoor drinks.
Warm up with: Your imagination as you sip a margarita or Corona not far from the big, cold lake.
Where: Wild State Cider, 2515 W. Superior St.
Outdoor setup: You can reserve a bonfire for groups of 2-4 at the Lincoln Park cidery's large patio. Be sure to stop by Duluth Cider down the street to order through their window, since you're already in the neighborhood.
Warm up with: Obviously the apple pie cider, if it's available. Can't go wrong with the citrus hop either.
Where: Duluth Tap Exchange, 1905 W. Superior St.
Outdoor setup: A small but warm patio with a few heaters behind the Lincoln Park self-pour bar that's now offering $5 pints and growler fills.
Warm up with: One of 40 beers, ciders, seltzers or wines on tap or something from the full bar. How about a shot of Fireball dropped in a cider?
Brooks Johnson • 218-491-6496