There are at least 20 reasons why Twin Cities' summers dominate all other summers, but if we had to pick just one, it'd probably be the way that almost every bar and restaurant in town has tried to squeeze in some outdoor seating. Seriously, we really appreciate that, but the fact is, some places have done a better job than others: especially these 17...
MSP's 17 Best Outdoor Drinking Spots, Ranked
This is a great neighborhood spot and you can feel it the second your feet first hit the patio. It not only makes a lot of great beers, but it also has a good rotation of local guest taps and pretty good food, a lot of which is smoked on-site.
This simple and mostly unassuming patio may not be at the top of a lot of people’s lists, but there’s just something about it that screams out for a glass of wine and a plate of frites. It’s the perfect late-night spot, nestled just off the beaten path and featuring a pretty great late-night happy hour menu. It’s a slice of the good French life right in Uptown.
This is another perfect spot for a late-night bottle of vino and some classic bistro food. This place also sits a bit out of the way from the hustle and bustle of a fairly busy cross-section of the city, but it provides the perfect ambiance for a little nighttime relaxation and conversation.
14. Tiny Diner
The Twin Cities' greenest restaurant also happens to have one of the best patios. With a lush garden running all the way around and good selection of craft beer, wine, and wine-based cocktails, it’s a great atmosphere for letting the world’s weight off of your shoulders. The food is good too, and during happy hour, it offers a rotating variety of delicious munchies.
This intimate little patio setting is as gorgeous as it feels secluded, although, sitting just off the busy intersection of Lake & Lyndale, it’s really anything but. There’s also an excellent selection of craft beers, a fanciful variety of whiskey, great food, and a sweet punk rock vibe. Nab yourself a tall boy of PBR, a shot of whiskey, and an order of the fish tacos. Perfection.
12. Sea Change
Who doesn’t want to sit and look out at the river and the scenic Stone Arch Bridge while drinking a tasty beverage and noshing on top-shelf seafood? Hanging out in one of the oldest/newest parts of the city couldn’t get any more enjoyable. It also offers late-night happy hour specials all week long featuring several of its craft cocktails and good deals on delicious snacks.
11. Amore Victoria
Patios are good and all, but when you go and put one on your roof, you’re really upping the ante. Seriously, somehow pizza and beer seem to taste better when you’re that far above the street.
This patio might be small, but what it’s lacking in size, it more than makes up for in charm. Even though the restaurant is located right smack dab on Washington Ave, you almost feel as though you’ve been swept into some intimate French courtyard. The cocktails are delicious and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can jump down the rabbit hole and try out some of Chef Patrick Atanalian’s crazy creations.
Another rooftop patio worth checking out... even on rainy nights since it comes complete with a retractable top. You can grab a cocktail, order a ceviche, and just take in the night sky, or if that's a little sedate, head down on one of the nights it has a DJ and dance under the stars.
This patio’s got views for days! Head on over to this Lyn-Lake party bar and take in the night air while you sip on house-brewed sake and go to town on some fairly decent ramen. It's also got a pretty good late-night happy hour offering a variety of specials and small-sized snackables including pork belly steamed buns, plum wings, or Thai-style fried rice.
If you can nab a spot on this rooftop monolith, congratulations, because you just found yourself some prime real estate. The views are incredible and the vibe is incredibly laid back. The cocktail menu is laced with a variety of boozy, fruity drinks which, when paired with a platter of delicious oysters, are perfect for some of those hot summer nights.
This patio is nestled right in the heart of Downtown, which is actually pretty sweet. There’s a lot of seating and it has great late-night happy hours that extend to both Friday and Saturday nights, so you can hangout Downtown, outside, and not have to break the bank. Nab a martini and an order of duck confit steamed buns and you’re set!
If you’re looking to drink giant flaming Tiki drinks on the banks of the Mississippi, then this place is 100% for you. The patio is large, but it fills up quickly so head on over early to secure your spot in Tiki heaven before it’s too late. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, it's also got a pretty decent selection of bar snacks to choose from. Might we recommend the Potluck Pickle Roll-ups?
While we can’t exactly speak from first-hand experience, we’re assuming that the patio at this St. Paul location is better than anything you’d actually find in Russia! Of course we kid, but seriously, this patio is gorgeous and perfect for sipping on a variety of vodka-based cocktails and Russian-inspired snacks like the blini with caviar or an order of its beef and cabbage piroshkis.
The patio at one of the Twin Cities' most underrated restaurants is definitely a sight to behold. Fenced in and completely removed from the hustle and bustle of surrounding Lake St, this vine-entrenched patio is the perfect spot to sip on any one of its delicious cocktails, its legendary charcuterie plate, or one of its expertly crafted farm-to-table-inspired dishes.
When it comes to beer gardens, this one definitely takes the cake. Featuring an elegant design and a spectacular variety of craft beers and delicious bourbons, it’s the perfect spot to just sit and hang out with some friends. It also doesn’t hurt that it serves a slew of sweet sausages. Oh, and if you forget to try its take on the foot-long hot dog, you’ve done messed up.
1. WA Frost
The patio at this St. Paul institution is the gold standard for patios in the Twin Cities. Not only is it scenic beyond belief, but it’s also huge. With that being said, nabbing a seat can still be a little difficult, because as one might imagine, it fills up fast. It’s all good though; its cocktails and small plates, ideal for snacking, will more than make up for any wait that you might endure.
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1. Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub2716 E 38th St, Minneapolis
2. Barbette1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis
3. Lucia's Wine Bar1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis
4. Tiny Diner1024 E 38th St, Minneapolis
5. Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery2933 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
6. Sea Change818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis
7. Amore Victoria1601 W Lake St, Minneapolis
8. Sanctuary903 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
9. Union733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
10. Moto-i2940 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
11. Stella's Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar1400 West Lake St, Minneapolis
12. Marin Restaurant & Bar901 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
13. Psycho Suzi's1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis
14. Moscow on the Hill371 Selby Ave, St. Paul
15. The Craftsman4300 E Lake St, Minneapolis
16. Butcher & The Boar1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
17. WA Frost & Company374 Selby Ave, Saint Paul
Regardless what direction you're heading, you need to go Northbound. This resto/on-site craft brewery churns out house-smoked meats for fresh sammies and offers a vast selection of brews to wash em' down, in a large and friendly environment complete with bar seating, tables and an outdoor patio for the warmer months.
Frities at their finest! If there’s anything the folks over at Barbette know, its classic French fare and these pomme frites are the evidence that slams this case shut. Served with a side of rich, yet slightly tangy, saffron aioli, the only other thing you’ll need is a big glass of wine and good book and you’ll feel like you're right at home, but with really awesome fries.
Escape the mega-bustle of Henn-Lake's shopping for a Pimms Cup, Campari, or Rob Roy at the greatest place you didn't know existed: Lucia's, where the vino and booze selection is classic, and the happy hour deals are robust, both of which suggest that perhaps you did know it existed, but just forgot.
Tiny Diner is not, in fact, a literal, miniature diner, but a small restaurant in Powderhorn Park that's all about sustainability, from the way it sources its food to the way the restaurant itself is built. Using mostly its own garden to grow its ingredients, this spot provides the freshest fare possible in the form of all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aim for a patio spot when you come here so you can admire the view of the garden out back while you polish off your country scramble or scallops.
Moving on up after a recent rent-jacking, the storied Uptown coffeehouse has transformed a storage building down the street into an indoor/outdoor, loft-like wonderland with mismatched vintage dÃ©cor and exposed concrete fronting a full kitchen and bar, all in an effort to create the feel that "an amazing party happened there 80yrs ago", meaning it's probably now safe to show up without looking like you had nothing to do beforehand.
We could spend all day slurping oysters at this Downtown raw bar and dining from its seasonal selection of fresh seafood dishes. With a focus on freshness, Sea Change serves fish that only comes from sustainable stocks— SC is the kind of restaurant that’s elevated seafood in the Twin Cities a true craft. Who doesn’t want to sit and look out at the river and the scenic Stone Arch Bridge while drinking a tasty beverage and noshing on top-shelf seafood? Plus, there’s a happy hour Tuesday through Thursday from 3-6pm, and a late-night happy hour every day of the week from 8-11 pm.
Pizza, beer, rooftop patio -- sound good? This Italian eatery offers this and more stories above the street, including brunch and a cocktail menu.
Exposed brick, a warm atmosphere, and top-notch American and French fare are what you can expect from this Downtown eat/drinkery.
This bar and restaurant has a four-season retractable roof, craft cocktails like "Oh Si, Mas!!" (ancho-infused Reposado, mesquite-smoked plum lime sour), and a deliciously creative menu, with snacks like donuts holes with shallots and bacon, or chicken liver parfait with maple/ brioche/ acorn squash brulee.
A Japanese resto that is also a sake brewery (!), serving their in-house namazake on draft alongside eats like Tokyo frites and miso popcorn on a sweet patio.
With drink specials galore, the patio that launched a thousand Uptown patios, and throngs of just-graduated coeds coming for both, there are dozens of reasons to go to Stella’s, not least of all their Oyster Orgy Happy Hour.
With a luxurious interior, an extensive cocktail menu and a brunch menu specifically for cheat days, this central-city pick inside The Chambers Hotel, is a surefire way to treat yourself. Brunch is packed with classic like breakfast tacos and biscuits and gravy, and lunch and dinner features inventive gourmet dishes like BBQ salmon and duck breast with sweet potato gnocchi. The real star of this show, however, is the bar, which serves specialty gin and tonic (the tonic of which is made in-house).
A tiki bar with hilariously kitschy themed drinks and an incredible patio right on the Mississippi River, plus tons of vegetarian and vegan options (wink, wink. Get the burger.).
Russia is a big place, and Moscow on the Hill offers food from nearly every part. Dine like a Czar with a five course meal of caviar and Russian vodka, salmon, champagne, blini or piroshkies (or just have a normal dinner), and hang out on the outdoor patio on Cathedral Hill.
The Craftsman charcuterie plate is legendary, their farm-to-table inspired dishes are expertly crafted and their cocktails are simply delicious. Enjoy all of these things on their secluded, leafy patio. You can thank us later.
A deceptively large neighborhood noshery with wood stoves and penny-tiled floors dominated, Butcher puts equal emphasis on bourbon, beer, and shareable plates.
Classic American food, prepared with local ingredients -- like tons of other places. But, at W.A. Frost they've been local sourcing since the beginning and have a killer outdoor space in their flower covered patio. Look out for seasonal menu changes and their expansive wine list.