It’s patio season y’all! There’s no better way to appreciate city living than by sitting on an a choice Calgary patio. Here’s your guide to the best the city has to offer.
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No matter your plans for the summer, dedicating a few hours to a prominent Calgary patio has to be in the cards. Here’s a look at our favourite patios across the city.
CENTRAL Taps + Food
Let’s begin with Calgary’s newest and surely soon to be one of the city’s most popular patios. CENTRAL Taps + Food opens May 9 in Victoria Park, right beside The District at Beltline (also newly opened). There’s plenty of tables on the sidewalk patio and even more seating inside.
There’s a few thing that set CENTRAL apart. One is that the food is chef-driven. Award-winning chef (and Food Network star) Chef Pigot designed the menu and it’s pretty excellent. Their street tacos are some of the best in the city and the Nashville hot chicken sandwich is a perfect balance of spicy, tangy and creamy with plenty of mayo and an oh-so squishy bun.
There’s a daily $5 shot (jello on Saturdays!) and the rosé sangria is a delight. Unlike some other spots in Calgary, their cocktails aren’t crazy expensive, typically hovering around the $12 or $14 mark. Rotating local beers are $8 for 14 oz.
If you’re looking for a trendy patio in downtown Calgary, look no further than Craft on 10th Avenue. This stylish rooftop patio has great views of downtown and unique décor that’s perfect for photos.
Craft serves bar food along with great drinks, beer and cocktails. The restaurant offers a daily happy hour, with an all day happy hour on Sundays. You can also enjoy brunch as you gaze across downtown. This spot gets pretty busy, so plan ahead!
River Café is one of Calgary’s most elevated yet approachable dining experiences. Situated in Prince’s Island Park, the restaurant uses local ingredients and passionate chefs to create seasonal menus.
Enjoy lunch, dinner or brunch on the patio nestled in the greenery of Prince’s Island Park. While the dining is upscale, it’s not pretentious. Think of it as more romantic than rowdy. River Cafe also sports a children’s menu, so families needn’t be scared away.
One of the newer patios on this list is Lulu Bar, located on 17th Avenue. This tropic-themed bar offers tempting drinks, food, dessert and late-night snacks. Be sure to try one of their tiki tiki drinks served up in themed cups!
Since this patio is right on 17th Ave, you’ll be able to enjoy the nightlife of this bustling strip. It’s a pretty popular spot, so you’ll want to reserve in advance. Want to check the wait times? Lulu Bar doesn’t have a phone line, so you’ll have to text. Minors are allowed until 9pm.
One Night Stan’s
One Night Stan’s isn’t trendy, but it is in the 17th Avenue entertainment district. The patio is pet-friendly, so you can bring your pooch with you to this low-key bar. One Night Stan’s offers happy hour from 3-6 every day and has a new feature food every week. The patio gets quite busy on warm evenings, so show up early!
Trolley 5 offers a large patio located in the heart of all the 17th Avenue action. This craft brewery patio is perfect for watching Calgarians enjoy the summer weather along the buzzy street. They serve a wide variety of beer and snacks, as well as brunch.
Ship & Anchor
Another large patio located along 17th Avenue is the Ship & Anchor. This iconic patio is a great place to grab a drink with friends and people watch. Probably one of the most diverse and eclectic patios in Calgary, minors are allowed until 7pm as long as they’re accompanied by adults.
The Ship & Anchor doesn’t accept reservations so you may have a wait on a warm, sunny weekend evening. Though we heartily recommend sipping a Ship Nog in your winter jacket over the holidays.
Poolside dining? Yes, please! You don’t have to be a guest at Hotel Arts to enjoy this unique patio opportunity. Non-hotel guests can reserve poolside spots through OpenTable until the May long weekend and then first-come, first-served all summer.
The licensed patio serves weekend brunch, dessert, daily eats and drinks. You may have to pay $20 to swim in the pool. If you’re a hotel guest, just head on down! Hotel Arts recently added a roof to the pool area so you can enjoy this patio year-round.
Joey Eau Claire
One of the busiest patios in Calgary is Joey Eau Claire. This spacious outdoor patio is located near Prince’s Island in the Eau Claire neighbourhood. The restaurant also offers a lounge and dining room.
Take part in happy hour twice a day Thursday through Sunday and make the most of Calgary’s (occasionally fickle) summer weather. You’ll rarely find the patio empty though, so prepare ahead!
Rooftop Patio Calgary
What’s better than a patio? Swanning about on a rooftop patio in Calgary. With summer weather around the corner, you can enjoy the steady breezes with stunning views and no vehicle exhaust.
Want to enjoy patio dining year-round but think you can’t cuz you live in Calgary? Friends, Rooftop YYC has you covered. This new, weather-managed rooftop venue is brought to you by Ceili’s.
The venue operates like a full-service restaurant with food, drinks, flat screen TVs and a large sound system. With 350 available seats, there’s plenty of room to enjoy this year-round warm rooftop patio. You’ll find it on the roof of the TD building between 4th and 5th Avenues on 3rd Street SW.
Rooftop Bar at the Simmons Building
You seriously can’t go wrong with the Rooftop Bar at the Simmons Building. Located right along the river in the East Village, you’ll feast on incredible views and even better drinks and pizza from Connie and John’s Pizza.
The 150-seat Rooftop Bar is adults only and reservations, but walk-ins are welcome. This bar gets pretty busy in the summertime, so you may want to reserve in advance. If you can’t get into the RTB, consider River Walk patio. It’s an extension of Charbar, a wood fired Argentine steakhouse serving epic seafood towers and locally sourced vegetarian dishes.
Or, you’ve got another option with River Alley patio, home to the famous Alley Burger and more, serviced from a walk-up takeout winder on the west side of the Simmons building.
One of the lesser-known spots on this list, Broken City is pretty hidden unless you’re a regular. The rooftop patio is nestled between buildings and overlooks 11th Avenue SW. Broken City is known for its music scene, so you’ll definitely be treated to DJs and live bands. They also offer food and drinks and it’s a good if you’re looking to party way late.
By far one of the most unique patios on this list, Chakala has not one, not two, but THREE patios within one restaurant! The rooftop patio is tiki themed, but they also have a street front patio and a backyard patio.
Chakalaka is a modern tapas restaurant and bar, but they also have table BBQ experiences and cocktails. From the rooftop, you’ll be granted views of 17th Avenue.
You may not have heard of Free House yet because they opened right before the pandemic, but now is a great time to enjoy their rooftop patio. The bar is situated in Kensington, so it’s perfect for grabbing a drink after a riverside walk or nearby shopping.
The vibe is casual beer house, and Free House has 24 rotating beer taps. If their rooftop patio is too busy, suss out their street-side patio right in the middle of Kensington sidewalks.
If you’re looking for food as great as the views, check out Modern Steak. Their location on Stephen Avenue, has a rooftop patio with excellent views of the Calgary Tower, Telus Sky and Calgarians walking below on the car-free street.
Modern Steak uses their own cattle from Alberta and is one of the only steakhouses in Canada that serves grass-fed, grain-fed, wet-aged, dry-aged and Wagyu beef options year-round.
Their new location at Southport (just off Macleod Trail) also has a patio, but it’s not rooftop. It is west facing, so you get a lot of lovely sun.
Located in the former Alberta Hotel Building, Murrieta’s has one of the most unique rooftop patios in Calgary. You can sit on the balcony overlooking Stephen Avenue or on the rooftop patio, with views of the Calgary Tower and Telus Sky.
The restaurant has a West Coast theme, with a great selection of pacific wines. They have a lot of seafood, steak and pasta options. Fun fact: Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger hung out here when filming Brokeback Mountain.
National on 10th and 8th
All four National locations have great patios, but you can’t beat the rooftop patios at National on 10th or on 8th. Both have stellar views of downtown and extensive drink menus.
Be sure to balance out the drinks with the pizza bar or brunch on the weekends. The patios often have games or live music and downstairs at National on 10th, you even have access to a bowling alley!
Patio action with pets
Wanting to bring your furry friend with you for drinks or dinner? Calgary has really ramped up its offerings. So much so, we’ve now dedicated an entire post to the best patios (often with pet perks!) for your pooch. Read it here: Calgary’s best dog friendly patios.
MORE INSPIRING DINING AND DRINKING IN CALGARY:
Calgary’s best spots for ice cream
22 Brunch places not to miss in Calgary
Do you have a favourite patio in the city? Please let us know your fave in the comment section below.
What a great idea, patios that welcome well-behaved dogs. I would love to get a dog, and patios by the water are numerous here in Vancouver. I think it would be great to see more pictures of old people relaxing at nice brunch’s, lunches, and dinners on patios, like the big demographic that is reaching retirement age now. Since my good looking cousin in Seattle who has always modelled throughout her life, is being recruited to model yet again at age 70. She let her hair go gray a few years ago.
You’re right. We need more diversity in marketing images. Enjoy that patio season in Vancouver! Jody (not sure why it keeps showing up as Joe:)