Drinks in the sun: The 12 best outdoor patios in Rochester
While anxiously awaiting the opening of Forager Brewery (pictured above) and La Vetta Bar Nel Cielo (Terza Ristorante’s roof top bar) – both of which are scheduled to open later this summer and will certainly make the subsequent list in the future – we have compiled a list of the 12 best patios in the Med City for dining and/or drinking al fresco.
Twigs Tavern & Grille
Awarded best outdoor patio by Med City Beat readers earlier this summer, Twig’s Tavern & Grille’s patio features some of the best landscaped grounds among Rochester eateries. In addition to their large gas fire pit and numerous propane heaters to keep you warm on cool nights, the sound of the meandering stream through the patio offers a soothing background to your patio experience.
The Tap House
Located on Historic 3rd street, the Tap House has been a fixture in the Rochester roof top patio scene since opening in 2013. With one of the largest craft beer selections in the city, the Tap House’s patio seems to be packed in even remotely nice weather. However, with the recently completed expansion, the establishment not only features a more robust food menu, but also additional outdoor seating with a second deck on the alley side of the building.
One of Rochester’s original roof top patios, Kathy’s Pub offers great views of downtown and features a large, open two-tiered deck. The patio, which is kept comfortable during cool evenings with strategically placed propane heaters, is also available for group rentals.
Chester’s Kitchen & Bar
Chester’s Kitchen & Bar offers al fresco dining in a beautiful setting overlooking the Peace Fountain on Peace Plaza in the heart of downtown Rochester. The bar and eatery’scourtyard, which accommodates up to 50 guests, is a perfect place to take in the Thursdays on First crowd, and depending on where you sit, a view of Movies on the Plaza.
ZZest Café & Bar
ZZestCafé & Bar offers a quiet and comfortable outdoor patio space unlike any other in the city. Equipped with a Cabreeze retractable roof, you can enjoy al fresco dining on ZZest’s patio rain or shine. This feature makes ZZest’s outdoor seating a true three-season patio.
Salem Glen Vineyard and Winery
A family-owned and operated boutique winery specializing in small batches of wine made from regionally grown grapes, Salem Glen Winery is outfitted with a beautiful, spacious deck overlooking the vines and has impressive sunset views. Although there is limited food and no beer on the menu, the serenity of Salem Glen’s location makes it worth the trip to the outskirts of town. Furthermore, later this month the winery is scheduled to open a new pavilion bar for tastings and glasses.
Huddled between two old brick buildings in downtown on First Avenue, City Café’s patio is lined with gleaming lights, trees, and flowers. The small, inviting outdoor space is a perfect place to unwind while enjoying the bar’s featured list of martinis, specialty mojitos, wine, and beer.
Located in the Kahler Grand hotel in downtown Rochester, Martini’s offers quaint seating directly on the Peace Plaza. In addition to superb people watching and award-winning martinis, Martini’s outdoor dining space is the perfect location to take in the many events that take place throughout the year on the plaza.
The Viking Lounge’s Voo Doo Patio Bar, located within the walls of the Clarion Inn on Broadway, offers a relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Fire pit seating and award-winning karaoke are just some of the features that make the Voo Doo Patio Bar worth the visit.
Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill
Another option outside of downtown is the Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill’s outdoor patio at the Kahler Apache Hotel (previously the Ramada). Wildwood’s outdoor patio area is one of the area’s largest and features sand volleyball courts (leagues available) and one of Rochester’s most unique happy hours – the Yappy Hour (pet friendly happy hour on the 1st and 3rd Sunday through the end of August).
Whistle Binkies on the Lake
Although the “lake” is actually on a retaining pond, Whistle Binkies on the Lake is another great option for sand volleyball leagues and features a large, comfortable outdoor space. The bar often erects a large tent making the space accessible in less than ideal weather. But rain or shine, there are always 400-plus beer choices available at Binkies.
Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon
The only chain restaurant on the list is Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon. Wild Bill’s wild west-themed patio is heated and equipped with televisions so there is no need to miss the big game. Additionally, its large footprint allows the patio to host outdoor bag tournaments every Sunday.
About Brian Olson: Born and raised in Rochester, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, Emily, and their two children, Henry (1) and Finleigh (4), and their golden doodle rescue dog Duke (age unknown). When not playing Dad, Brian works as a marketer, enjoys traveling, and can’t seem to get off the roller coaster that comes with being an avid Minnesota sports fan. Follow Brian on Twitter.
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)