The Ultimate Guide to Calgary Patios

Our favourite spots to sip throughout the summer
 

Photo by Candace Bergman

Rooftop Bar @ the Simmons

Charbar’s Rooftop Bar @ the Simmons, atop the historic Simmons Building in the East Village, is my essential summer hangout to meet up with friends and while away a summer’s evening. The seasonal menu is tailored to alfresco dining and features small plates, sharing platters and steaks and burgers charred to perfection on the rooftop fire pit. Order a refreshing glass (or share a jug) of Sangria and take in the stunning, panoramic riverside views as the sun sets over the city. —Diane Bolt, WestJet Magazine, assistant editor

Cilantro

One of my classic summer go-tos for a leisurely lunch with friends, or for a romantic dinner, is the patio at Cilantro. Even though the restaurant is situated amid the bustle of 17th Ave, the patio itself is blocked off from street traffic, and its pretty greenery and twinkling white lights give it a cozy, peaceful atmosphere. Order one of Cilantro’s delicious wood-fired pizzas (I recommend the pear and gorgonzola) and a glass (or bottle) of wine from the extensive wine list and settle in for a lovely alfresco experience. Jill Foran, WestJet Magazine, editor

Local on 8th Ave 

When the sun is shining in the city, I head over to Stephen Avenue Walk downtown to snag a seat on the summer patio at Local on 8th Ave. This bar is laid-back, plays great music and is filled with regulars. I always order the El Caesar (get it spicy), which is by far the best in the city. It comes with lots of horseradish, pepperoni sticks and is served in a boot. The patio features high-top tables under strings of lights, heaters and prime people-watching on this lively pedestrian street. Alyssa Quirico, WestJet Magazine, editorial assistant, digital

The Ship & Anchor

The patio out front of The Ship & Anchor is one of my favourite places to spend a Saturday afternoon thanks to its laid-back vibe and live music. It’s often packed with locals but it’s never a problem to share a table with other groups and make new friends. I like the deep-fried pickles and the Ship burger alongside a perfectly poured Guinness or a pint of Last Best Brewing & Distilling’s IPA. —Steve Collins, WestJet Magazine, design director

National on 8

It’s a bit of a trek to get to this downtown, rooftop patio—it’s located inside Scotia Centre and you have to go through a few hallways and up a couple escalators to get to the restaurant—but it’s well worth the effort. The massive patio offers sweet views of the city and is surrounded by historical architecture like the Hudson’s Bay building. The vibe is laid-back and fun, with outdoor bars and games like tabletop tennis and beanbag toss. National also has a great drink menu—my favourite is a pint of the Lonetree Cranberry Apple Cider. And, get there early to take advantage of buck-a-shuck oysters (every day from 3 pm until 6 pm). Teresa Johnston, WestJet Magazine, art director

Cannibale

Cannibale

I probably spend a little too much time on Cannibale’s patio, but its friendly, neighbourhood vibe really makes me feel at home. When friends come to visit, we head over for cocktails and snacks—the Straight Out of Bridgeland cocktail, beef Carpaccio and Cubano sandwich are a few of my faves. Bonus: the heaters mean that my patio season gets extended through Calgary’s cool springs, chilly falls and unpredictable summers. —Sara Samson, WestJet Magazine, associate editor

4th Spot Kitchen & Bar

I like 4th Spot Kitchen & Bar, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. It really plays off the cozy neighbourhood vibe. They have a “community entrance” in the back that takes you directly from the street to the bar. The patio is right along 4th Street on street level so you can people-watch, but since it’s in a neighbourhood, it’s not loud. Plus, they have daily food features; my favourite is Thursday’s burger and a pint—the Maple Canuck Burger is a must. Rebecca Middlebrook, production coordinator

Alloy

Alloy is just south of downtown Calgary, far enough out that it gets its own parking lot and feels tucked away. A huge wall of windows connects the main dining space, filled with white booths and cherry blossom trees, to the patio that carries on the sleek Palm Springs-vibe. When it’s an option, go for the tasting menu. It perfectly combines the restaurant’s Mediterranean, Latin and Asian influences. Ask for a recommendation from the extensive wine list and settle in for the evening. —Jaelyn Molyneux, executive editor, digital content

River Café

River Café is truly a magical place. It’s tucked away alongside the Bow River, surrounded by trees in beautiful Prince’s Island Park—it’s easy to forget you’re in the centre of the city. Go for brunch and order the brioche French toast (one of my favourite dishes.) Or, if salty is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with the eggs Benedict, which is made with maple cured bison, brown butter hollandaise and served alongside the herbed potato hash. Pair either with the Island Fizz, the River Café’s take on a mimosa. Anna Russo, office manager

Alforno Bakery & Café

Located in the Eau Claire neighbourhood, Alforno Bakery & Cafe’s patio is as pretty as the eatery’s interior. The bright blue bench cushions, rustic wood beams and colourful flowers bordering the patio make it a vibrant spot to enjoy a prosciutto pizza and dulce de leche cream puff. Plus, cyclists will be happy to find a free air pump attached to the exterior of the patio. Alana Willerton, editorial assistant, print

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