As we round the corner to patio season, I thought I would share some of my favorite Twin Cities patios. Some of these patios are old standbys, and others are new spots that I have only recently been made aware of. In any case, all are excellent spots for your favorite libation and a snack or two.
*Denote Newer Patios in the Twin Cities since this list was published in 2018
Central Twin Cities Patios
One of the newest distilleries in town next to Surly Brewing’s massive patio they are making Irish American Whiskey crafted by world-renowned distiller Brian Nation. Everywhere you look there is outdoor seating at this new hot spot.
Lawn bowling, fish and chips, and soccer matches with a pint can be found at this stalwart pub on Nicollet Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis
Does it get any better in the Summer than a lobster roll or a shrimp boil complete with andouille sausage, corn, and potato covered with Old Bay seasoning? The Shack also gets it right with the original hurricane drink, just like on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Located on Washington Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis is Red Rabbits patio. I am crazy about their kegged cocktail program including the Aperol spritz and don’t miss out on the bottled drinks on the menu that they bottle themselves. New to their Summer menu is a linguini and clam pasta dish with fresh homemade pasta that is lightened up with lemon zest and perfect for a summer evening. Watch for this Summer’s St Paul opening on Grand Avenue where the patio will feature a huge stone fireplace for Fall evenings.
Tiki Drinks, Deviled eggs, and dry-rubbed wings rank up there with the best in the Twin Cities. No more needs to be said about this see or be seen patio in Northeast Minneapolis.
The perfect patio for a business meeting in downtown Minneapolis is the Monte Carlo. Thank goodness they still offer parking for a nominal fee that can bring the suburbanites into the North Loop. Their dry-rubbed wings, Charlies Kitchen Sandwich, and Poached Salmon with a cucumber salsa make their patio a must for me.
Fire Pits, tables, and Adirondack chairs overlook the Malcolm Yards restaurant. This is a cozy spot to pop a squat and help yourself to their beer and cider wall. While there grab an ice cream cone at Bebe Zeto’s a vegetarian Momo or a or A Meatball Sandwich at Joey Meatballs. With the fast-casual multiple concept spot, you can find something for everyone at Malcolm Yards
Hidden behind their craftsman-inspired restaurant is a gem of a patio that serves up an elevated fare and homemade pasta throughout the Summer. This patio is one of my favorites.
An oldie but a goodie located on Loring Park in one of the most picturesque urban patios.
What’s not to love about overlooking the Stone Arch Bridge off of cobblestone main street in Minneapolis. A beautiful place to stop after a stroll, on the Stone Arch Bridge.
This oasis in the middle of Eat Street is heaven. A babbling brook, a german beer, brat, and Spaetzle? What’s not to love at this heritage sight in the Twin Cities that has been bringing the German goods for over 50 years!
East Twin Cities Patios:
Those of you that know, know the long-awaited patio has opened at Mucci’s on Randolph Avenue. Pergola, extra seating, and a new cocktail menu make this a welcome addition to the West 7th scene.
Located on Snelling and Selby this new St Paul spot is indoor/outdoor, and it works beautifully with billowy screens letting the breeze in. Counter service and you must order the Patti Cake named after Yum’s owner Patti Soskin.
An oasis in a garden off 7th street is behind the Day By Day Café. Blueberry pancakes and coffee never tasted so delicious in their outdoor grotto.
A glass of white wine or sparkling Rose feels so cosmopolitan on the porch of the French Bistro Meritage located right in the heart of downtown St Paul. Order up the Smoked chicken wings, escargot, and Steak frite, and you have yourself a beautiful summer evening.
This is one of the quainter patios in St Paul with a hidden secret garden. Fresh fettuccine, Cioppino Pasta, fresh fish and salads with white wine, and the reasonable prices keep me coming back to this neighborhood spot.
Joan’s in the Park:
Not one to miss out on the Summer dining season Joan’s In The Park added about 40 seats to a charming patio on the side of their building. Seasonal dishes and hand-cut meats are what I love about Joan’s. The Day Boat Scallops are always tops on my list as is their Rib Eye.
This family-run spot is a sleeper hit. Located in the back of the restaurant is a beautiful wooden patio with benches and wrought iron tables, to make your borscht or any of their over 100 vodka infusions that much better. This patio is great for early and late in the season with heat lamps and lap blankets provided
The mother of all patios on the East side is in a lovely urban garden. The drinks here are the star of the show with the “Bootlegger” always a summer staple. Brunch on Sundays is also a great plan.
This Southern-inspired outpost on Grand Avenue has a lovely outdoor porch and a spacious bar for dining Al Fresco on Ribs and Chops and other Southern fare.
Beautifully prepared authentic Italian food and an Aperol Spritz on the lake? Yes! The Lake may be man-made but this charming spot that looks like a fancy strip mall when you enter from the front will transport you lakeside to a fancy Tuscan villa. Make sure to try their excellent selection of Italian Wines.
This charming patio is hidden in the back of the restaurant off of bustling University Avenue and its a sweet spot to eat your rabbit dumpling (not to be missed) or noodle salad and Vietnamese coffee.
West Twin Cities Patios
This restaurant has been in Wayzata since 1996, and its white tablecloth patio is a perfect way to experience Downtown Wayzata. From the lobster bisque, tableside spun salad, Peterson Limosine, and Prime steaks to the potatoes papallete oozing with cheese this is steakhouse fare at its best.
Birch’s on the Lake:
This spot was a pleasant surprise for me this year on Long Lake. Fire tables, a Supper Club, a large patio overlooking Long Lake, and their own beer brewed onsite made this a spot worthy of the drive for me. While there make a note of the architecturally significant curved windows from the original build-out that give you maximum views of Long Lake.
I love this seasonal market, cafe & wine bar nestled in the heart of downtown Wayzata on Lake Minnetonka. This is a favorite lunch spot for me at their patio café.
Huge portions, a well-executed cocktail list, and a beautiful patio make for a great day at a locally owned spot. Their Fat burger with onion jam is a must-have.
North Twin Cities Patios:
Is Shoreview North? This is one of the new spots that opened during the pandemic and it’s gorgeous with fast counter service, salads, breakfast, elegant al fresco dinners, and beautiful cocktails. This is a not-miss.
Is the perfect spot in Anoka for wings, pull tabs, pub popcorn, and a beer.
Next to the Rum River in Downtown Anoka, this patio is one of the most peaceful in all of the Twin Cities. Tea service and Sunday brunch is specialties at this spot that’s a must-visit.
South Twin Cities Patios:
Is arguably one of the most beautiful patios in town and the hardest to get a reservation. Eat outside on the heated patio or reserve their patio lounge for 6-20 guests.
Their New Bloomington location has a huge wrap-around patio. Does it get any better in the Summer than a lobster roll or a shrimp boil complete with andouille sausage, corn, and potato covered with Old Bay seasoning? The Shack also gets it right with the original hurricane drink, just like on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
This dog-friendly patio makes the most of its sweet space with elevated American pub favorites and a classic summer cocktail list
Awesome little patio shaded by Solar Panels and surrounded by greenery at the Tiny Diner. A truly charming neighborhood spot.
Sea Salt Eatery:
No matter the size of the line at my favorite casual patio you are bound to meet fellow neighbors and friends enjoying the beautiful Minnehaha Falls. Take advantage of the beer and wine line and help yourself to a drink while waiting in the food line. Don’t miss any of the Curry’s, red beans and rice, the fish sandwich, or the Oyster Po Boy.
This lovely spot in Apple Valley has a 100-seat outdoor patio including a bar and a Mezcal heavy drink selection for smoke lovers. Try the birria tacos and any of their elevated Mexican classics.
An Edina favorite, Ciao Bella was opened in 1997 by Minneapolis restaurateur Rick Webb, whose pursuits have set the standard in Twin Cities dining for over 40 years. Italian Al Fresco Dining can be had here on their large and lively outdoor patio.
Edina has added a Pajarito location (they have one in St Paul too) since I last updated this list. Their outdoor seating is lovely at Nolan Maines and their jalapeno margarita is a personal favorite