Spring is proving to be an elusive season this year. Temperatures in Ottawa continue to hover around the freezing mark, despite April’s arrival. But on a chilly walk down Bank Street you can find several thirsty people already perched on various bar patio chairs, sipping beers and socializing. With unapologetic dedication like this and summer, hopefully, right around the corner, here are four of our city’s best patios to enjoy as the mercury bubbles slowly upward.
The Courtyard Restaurant
21 George St
The Courtyard, which has been bringing fine-dining aesthetics to the Market since 1980, suns itself at the high end of Ottawa’s patios.
The Courtyard’s somewhat secluded patio, which can seat up to 60 guests, is unique in the city, manager Geneviève Rochon says.
“It’s not on any street; we’re tucked away,” she says. “It’s got a beautiful European feel and atmosphere without having the cars driving by with their fumes.”
While most associate patios with casual dining, at The Courtyard diners can enjoy a more sophisticated, al fresco experience. With Ottawa summers so short, Rochon recommends taking advantage of the rays while you can — and making a reservation, of course.
Southern Cross Grill on Queen
404 Queen St
A confluence of casual and upscale, the Southern Cross caters equally to sports fans and business-minded professionals.
Situated at Bay and Queen and attached to the Radisson Hotel, its motto is “Finer dining. Casually.”
The restaurant’s patio can accommodate 80 patrons. Manager Dave Dugmore says that on a hot day, there is nothing better than enjoying good food and a cold beer surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city at Southern Cross.
340 Somerset St W
On any Sunday in the summer, Centretown Pub’s (CP) patios are overflowing with patrons taking advantage of this queer haunt’s drink specials.
Serving Ottawa since 1984, CP caters to a mature gay male crowd. It’s the only queer pub in the city that offers two separate patios, one facing Somerset Street and the other located in the rear, acting as a shady refuge when the heat becomes too much. Together, CP’s patios can host 77 people.
“Patios offer a different space for clients to gather, meet — or meat — and enjoy the weather,” bartender Gavin McIver says.
212 Sparks St
Perched atop Club Edge is a secret garden of dance, drag shows and debauchery.
A perfect place to watch the fireworks on Canada Day, the Edge’s rooftop patio is open from early June to Labour Day and features a full bar, dancefloor, DJ booth, washrooms and seating area — the total capacity of the space is 150.
You will get a workout climbing the many stairs to Edge’s rooftop, but resident DJ Martin Leguerrier says the cardio is well worth the trip. “What makes the Club Edge patio so unique is the club vibe we create with the dancefloor and DJs,” he says. “It is a true party every time you get in that patio.”