By: Raegan Hedley
Winnipeg has been thirsty for summer, and when I say that, I really mean we’ve all been waiting to sit on patios and drink bulldog margaritas. And, besides, isn’t summer the only respectable time of year to actually admit you like Winnipeg? Everyone wears less clothing, it’s festival season (this includes street festivals), and Corydon, Academy, Osborne, and the Exchange are basically always busy.
The following are just some places I’ve scouted out and deemed to be the best, all for different reasons – in my humble opinion.
Plus, if you can find a patio to smoke a cigar on, then cheers to that (just remember to ask your server first, the last thing you’d want is to light a nice cigar just to be asked to put it out).
So grab your pals, wear your favourite tank top – that goes for the men, too – and sip a cocktail on a patio. The way I see it, you may as well get a tan while enjoying happy hour, and these are the best places to do that.
1. The Beachcomber
Area: The Forks
This patio has it all – ambience, good food, prompt service, a fantastic location right close to the river, and good sangria to boot. Instead of telling you how great it is, I really recommend you just go and check it out yourself. Maybe even take a stroll around the farmer’s market while you’re at it.
162 One Old Market Road
2. Peasant Cookery
Area: Exchange District
Just a stone’s throw away from the King’s Head Pub. There are a few key reasons I chose to include Peasant on this list and not the King’s Head Patio: First of all, Buck-a-Shuck Wednesdays. If you want a spot on the patio on this particular night, go early, because it isn’t exactly a well-kept secret how good their oysters are. Second, you can find some of the best bartenders in the city here. Ask them to surprise you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’d go there more often if the drinks weren’t so expensive, but you know what they say, quality over quantity.
283 Bannatyne Avenue
I’d like to start with the fact that when I went, the waitress informed me that they fill the wine glasses “all the way to the top,” and she wasn’t kidding…. I had to slurp the wine out of my glass to prevent spilling. If that’s not the mark of a good patio, I don’t know what is. One of the last few good Italian places on Corydon, the portions are heaping and there are lots of tables with umbrella’s to give you that little bit of shade you might be needing. Disappointingly the service can be a tad slow, and the interior of this restaurant leaves much to be desired. Stick to the patio on this one and you’ll be a happy camper for sure.
670 Corydon Avenue
4. Market Burger
Certainly the most ‘Instagram-worthy’ patio, Market Burger is all about making your experience entertaining and enjoyable. The food can be really inconsistent from visit-to-visit, but for the most part their menu is always changing and diversifying. Every time you stop in, there is something different to try, whether it’s a new burger or cocktail creation. They are famous for their ‘Whole 9’ Caesar with a ridiculous amount of garnish, and they seem to always have fun stuff going on (DJ’s, charity events, etc). If you’re going to Instagram a shameless food picture, it may as well be from Market Burger.
645 Corydon Avenue
5. Confusion Corner Bar and Grill
Area: Junction of Osborne Village and Corydon
Think of the lounge that Steve Carell meets Ryan Gosling at in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. That is honestly the best way I can describe the general vibe of this place, (if you haven’t seen the movie, go rent it, or do whatever people do these days when something isn’t on Netflix). Lots of good-looking people to gawk at, and a decent atmosphere make this rooftop patio not too shabby to spend happy hour on. The service isn’t the best, but its redeeming quality is its location; being that Confusion Corner is right in the middle of everything, it’s a good place to start your night.
500 Corydon Avenue
6. Tavern United Rooftop
Area: Portage/MTS Center
When it comes to any other Tavern United in Winnipeg, I really wouldn’t hesitate to say this chain of restaurants/bars isn’t anything special, but this particular one made it on the list because it’s all about location, location, location. If you can get a spot against the railing or on the couches, you can enjoy a stunning view of the city. Tavern Rooftop is only a hop, skip, and a jump from many of the most popular downtown concert and event venues (MTS Centre, The Garrick, The Burt, etc.), and even serves as a good venue of its own on some nights. The cons do stack up on this one, though: no drink specials on the patio (ever), mediocre chain restaurant food/cocktails, and it’s always packed full of bro-y type personalities. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
260 Hargrave Street
Tucked away from the street, this is a nice patio with a glass divider between those who are wandering around Osborne and you. If you’re looking for somewhere to get wild, this place probably isn’t it, but they do have solid drink specials every day of the week, and it offers a quieter place to have a few cold ones and a conversation while still sitting on a patio. Buccacino’s is a hidden gem because chances are you’ve walked by it, but have never given it a try. A good pick for Sunday brunch after a late night, seeing as they have mimosas on for $4 until 2 p.m.
155 Osborne Street
Ah, the quintessential place to get-your-patio-on. I knew I would have to have include Saffron’s or Bar Italia on this list or I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Saffron’s is the place to be. Unfortunately, that’s the reason this place is always packed. But the people-watching you get to do from the comfort of your own table is probably the best part of the experience.
681 Corydon Avenue
9. Rudy’s Eat and Drink
Area: MTS Centre
One of the largest patios in the entire city, Rudy’s offers an outdoor area that is entirely shaded by the Hydro building. You can still feel the breeze and the heat, but without the sun. So, if you like that sort of thing, then this is for you. It has great drink specials, Monday to Friday (domestic beer, house wine and rail shots are $3.30 at 3:30 p.m., $4.30 at 4:30 p.m., and $5:30 at 5:30 p.m.), that are perfect if you want to stop and grab a drink after work. They mostly cater to the business crowd, but if you’re part of that, then you’ll fit right in. Or maybe just put on a blazer.
375 Graham Avenue
10. Finn McCue’s
Area: The Forks
A true dive-bar gem. Hardly anyone really knows there’s a great patio overlooking the The Forks Market Plaza, and when you want to watch any sort of performances going on below, this patio provides a great view.
25 Forks Market Road
For more, follow Raegan Hedley @raegjules