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Don't dig out the umbrella and Blundstones just yet—Vancouver's patio season isn't over
Perhaps it’s the seemingly endless months of rain-induced sequestering in the back of packed establishments—ordering another round just for the sake of avoiding going outside again—that makes patio season so appealing. In the cold months, it’s easy to imagine summer days spent camped at the prime patio table, people watching, sunning and (most importantly) pouring a continuous stream of Pimm’s Cups or Kronenbourg Blanc into our stomachs. Thankfully, summer isn’t over yet. Here are six spots to get your patio on.
As one of the million (note: slight exaggeration) choices to eat at located near Maple Tree Square—a.k.a. where the Gassy Jack statue is—Six Acres hits a particular high note. While the patio is small (and highly desirable; people have been known to camp out for most of the afternoon), it makes up for it in spades. A local favourite less bombarded by tourists than other Gastown establishments, Six Acres’ patio provides some of the best people-watching in the city. That’s why one chooses a patio in such a busy area, right? Combined with a well-curated beer list (which includes tons of local options and a strong showing of Belgian classics), some tasty edibles (get the poutine), and a charming aesthetic, you’ll be planning your return visit before you’ve even left. 203 Carrall St.
If you’ve spent any time in the False Creek area in the past few years, you undoubtedly have either already imbibed here or have at least passed by, noting (possibly with some dismay) the teeming mass of people lined up outside or already happily knocking back rounds in this incredibly popular spot. Opened in 2012, the Olympic Village Tap & Barrel location (the now quickly expanding brand’s first) rapidly became an anchor for the area, providing a sort of Cactus Club-lite experience, but with an infinitely better beer selection and a more casual (in a good way) approach to service and design. Selling exclusively B.C. craft beer and wine, the large, two-floor patio becomes a sea of local craft mainstays (Driftwood, Yellow Dog, Red Truck) and remains bustling through the day and night. 1 Athletes Way
Without even listing its other positives, it’s safe to declare this beachside patio absolutely worth a visit—just for the view alone. Since 1990, The Galley Patio and Grill at Jericho Beach has given visitors to Jericho Beach, members of the Jericho Sailing Centre, and also those lounging at nearby Spanish Banks an ever-present temptation to postpone previously-laid plans. With sweeping views of Stanley Park, downtown and the mountains, one cider can easily turn into three (we’re not judging). With the requisite patio-centric bases covered—local craft beer and cider, a diverse food menu and ample seating—The Galley is a solid choice to spend an afternoon, or evening (or both—once again, not judging) watching life float by. 1300 Discovery St.
A vertical appendage of Black+Blue, the Global Restaurant Group’s high-end steakhouse, appropriately titled The Roof, is elegant and multi-functional. Overlooking Alberni Street in the heart of the financial district, it offers the largest rooftop dining area in the city. While one can certainly bring a large party straight to The Roof for a full meal or night out, it also functions as a nighttime lounge for guests at Black+Blue itself. The Roof boasts an open-concept kitchen separate from the main one downstairs with a first-of-its-kind “Josper Grill,” a charcoal broiler oven that reaches internal temperatures of 1,700 degrees fahrenheit. Consider going on a Friday: $12 for a burger and beer until 3pm. 1032 Alberni St.
Look for the red light. Located along Main Street, The Narrow Lounge (generally just referred to as The Narrow) is one of East Van’s favourite little unmarked (if the red light is on, they’re serving) hideaways. It would be easy to wax poetic on The Narrow’s many charms just based on the original serving area, but its backyard expansion is deserving of its own praise. With a cheeky little tiki-style bar, the back-alley patio is one of the most laid-back licensed drinking establishments in the city. With summer lounge parties of varying themes, it’s easy to see why The Narrow is such a popular joint (the main bar can become dizzyingly packed on weekends). 1898 Main St.
Whether avoiding attention on some furtive mission, or just seeking a breather from the strange chaos of Granville Street, the Gallery Cafe in the Vancouver Art Gallery is a welcome, underused retreat in the centre of the city. The cafe’s patio evokes visions of a European garden party at a manor house. The Gallery Cafe offers light lunch items, along with a deep coffee-style drinks list, with wine and some aperitifs ($6.50 martinis!) in a cordial, classical-music-soundtracked setting. Stay awhile and forget your worries—H&M will still be waiting when you leave. 750 Hornby St.