As soon as the sun shines, Haligonians make tracks for a patio to soak up each and every ray over brunch, lunch, or dinner, preferably with a beverage in hand. Here are eight you don’t want to miss.
2037 Gottingen St., Halifax | instagram.com/thelocalhfx
This watering hole started as the smoking room at The Marquee, but today it’s a nightspot with its own crowd, and boasts one of the city’s most comfortable patios.
No matter your patio style, you’ll be happy here. It offers an array of covered and full sun seats, plus this multifaceted patio offers two levels to let you find a quiet corner or a conversation to dive into.
The menu at The Local is causal with pizza, burgers, and pasta. We recommend the pizzas. Long a staple of The Marquee back in its early-aughts heyday, the thin crust crisps up perfectly, and the topping list runs from spicy to sweet, meaty or vegetarian.
You’ll find macros and locals on tap here, including Horse Power, the bar’s house beer made by neighbour Propeller Brewing Company.
Happy hour runs 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Inside you’ll find pool and Ping-Pong tables, but who wants to be inside?
Billow Bar Rooftop Cocktails & BBQ
2540 Agricola St., Halifax | facebook.com/billowbar
Brought to you by chefs Ludovic Eveno, Julie Cook, and Graham Stephenson (Agricola Street Brasserie and Little Oak), this new 50-seat offering opened in late May and hits all the right notes for an afternoon tipple or dinner. You find the same dedication to locally-inspired fare as downstairs at the Brasserie, but a different flavour: Southern-style barbecue.
This hip spot only opened a few days before press time, so Billow still holds some mystery. What we do know is that when it comes to summer relaxing, Billow serves up a comfortable space. The patio features a mix of tables and lounging furniture to tailor your visit to how you want to hang.
In addition to the expected craft beer, you’ll find rotating pitchers of ice-cold cocktails, handmade cookie and ice cream sandwiches, and summer-fresh cocktails like the Cucumber Tom Collins.
1877 Upper Water St., Halifax | saltys.ca
Locals often avoid this seafood stop, labelling it a tourist spot. But they’re missing out.
Salty’s is about as close as you can get to the harbour while drinking a beer without actually getting in the water. The wrap-around patio borders the boardwalk, which means ample people watching and cruise-ship spotting. Most tables have umbrellas, and the staff don’t mind moving one should your perfect table come with too much direct sun. The restaurant doesn’t accept patio reservations, so get there early.
The patio and grill offer a mix of pub grub and casual local seafood, while the second floor offers a more refined menu. The casual menu covers all the bases, from fried fare like calamari and fish and chips to Maple Atlantic Salmon and lobster. Also on the list are pizza, burgers, wraps, and salads galore, plus gluten-free and vegetarian options.
This harbourfront haunt features eight local beer taps. If you haven’t tried it, order Peculiar from Granite Brewery in North End Halifax. A Yorkshire-style ale, it’s dark with a full-body and a sweet, dry finish. This was one of the city’s original craft breweries and one of the first widely available local beers.
Stillwell Beer Garden
5688 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax | facebook.com/stillwellbeergarden
In keeping with the name, you’ll find only simple long tables and the occasional umbrella for adornment here. The beer garden is simple, but still stunning in it’s design. Both the bathrooms (real ones, not porta-potties) and the bar itself are made from recycled shipping containers. White garden lights hang over the tables, adding a warm homey vibe as the sun starts to set.
On sunny days, the wait at the bar become a snaky line as there’s no table service. See it as your opportunity to really think about which fine craft beer or cider you’re ordering. Like the original Barrington Street location, you’ll find some uncommon out-of-town beers and local favourites.
Laid back is the rule here, so the menu veers toward barbecued hot dogs and soft serve ice cream.
This is a dog-friendly location, so expect to see more than a few lying under tables. The Beer Garden closes during poor weather, so check Facebook before heading out.
Resto Urban Dining
1516 Bedford Hwy., Bedford | restourbandining.com
With patio season comes the frenzy to claim a patio seat. Resto Urban Dining increases your chances of getting one of these coveted spots by offering two patios.
The former Cellar location became Resto in 2013, headed by long-time Cellar manager Marlene Kenley and her son-in-law/chef Ryan Hayes.
Both the roof-top and ground-level patios add a splash of class with hanging baskets of flowers, black table cloths, and living centrepieces of potted grass. While the ambience is up a level, this is still casual dining.
The menu leans heavily on local seafood, and also features pizza and pasta. You’ll also find a few unexpected offerings including Bay Scallop Pad Thai and New Orleans-style Jambalaya. Locals rave about the potato tart appetizer featuring baked layers of sliced potato, a mix of white cheddar and Asiago cheese in a bacon crust. The wine list is small but includes global offerings and Nova Scotian options.
Finbar’s Irish Pub
1595 Bedford Hwy., Sunnyside Mall, Bedford | finbars.ca
This classic Irish alehouse stars a sizable patio each summer. The view is of the Sunnyside Mall parking lot, but if you like a big shaded patio, this works nicely. The patio is under a permanent roof so sudden rain won’t dampen your day.
Brunch is a big draw at this comfortable neighbourhood pub. Check out the menu online before you go because there is so much choice you’ll need the extra time. Traditional Irish eats like Boxty (a potato pancake) and Smashed Peas on Toast with Hollandaise sauce pair well with an Irish stout. If you’re feeling more New World, try the Brunch Burger: a chargrilled patty topped with a fried egg and Montreal-style smoked meat. Try that one with a Cider mimosa.
The small but mighty beer list changes often, but there’s always lots of locals.
Battery Park Beer Bar
62 Ochterloney St., Dartmouth | batterypark.ca
Thirteen palate-pleasing East Coast beers, one cider, one house-made soda: that’s 20 taps to choose from. Luckily this beer house is ready for you to hunker down for a few.
The patio is completely walled and partially covered, which given the location enhances the experience because you don’t hear the roar of passing traffic. Double-length picnic tables line the petite patio, which tends to stay full most weekend evenings.
Along with your beer, you’ll want to try some of the delicious small plates this outpost has on offer. The Smorgasbord includes house-cured meats, East Coast cheese, pickles, preserves, and bread. Other dishes of note include the cod tacos on a soft-shell corn tortilla and crispy Sticky Icky Spareribs with honey garlic sauce.
73 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth | seventy3.ca
Owned by the neighbouring Celtic Corner pub, Seventy3 offers upscale Canadian-fusion fare in a sophisticated environment.
The patio is a second-floor deck overlooking Alderney Drive with sightlines to Halifax and the harbour. It’s cozy, with fewer than 10 tables, so call ahead to reserve a seat.
A small but varied menu of local nosh that’s creatively plated awaits. The Seared Sea Scallops and Pork Belly is the perfect snack with a glass of Pinot Blanc while admiring the boats in the harbour from your table. On the wine list you’ll find a mix of by the glass options and bottles.
Watch for three-course prix-fixe menu specials for $35, and half price bottle of wine specials.