Patio Primer

Illustration by José Gonzalez.

Is there better place to be on a summer day or night than on a patio? If there is, I don’t care to know about it! Problem is, when good weather hits, patio seating in town turns into prime real estate, and getting a seat at one of the usual spots can be near impossible. Why bake on the sidewalk waiting for a table when there are 20+ underrated patios and decks in and around the downtown area for you to relax on? Enjoy our list of places to go when it’s patio time.

Off George St.

Gypsy Tea Room
315 Water Street
Walking into the courtyard of the Murray Premises on a summer night doesn’t feel like St. John’s at all: with the al fresco dining, surrounded by patio umbrellas and historic buildings, it feels closer to Bruges than downtown. Like every fan of summer, the Gypsy Tea Room is determined to maximize the enjoyment of our precious summer weather by doing it up right, from the location to the drinks to the menu. The Gypsy Tea Room is currently waiting for a streak of decent weather to open the gates to its courtyard. But, like summer itself, it promises to be worth the wait. Chef Stephen Vardy (recently of Atlantica) now hangs his knives at the Murray Premises, and will be setting the menu especially for the Gypsy Tea Room’s patio. Chefs will be serving up jerk chicken, seafood tacos, and Korean street wings, and cooking it right in front of your face. Adding to the ambience, HD projectors will be beaming films on the white walls of the courtyard (Casablanca, etc.). You don’t even need to worry about waiting at the bar for your next drink: their towers of beer holds almost five pints. As summer patios go, this place is Shangri-La.

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The Station
7 Hutchings Street
The humble neighbourhood local has got a tidy patio on the side, with a barbecue for grilling.

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The Keg
135 Habour Drive, Pier 7
Unless you want to sneak a tallboy in Harbourside Park, there’s not a lot of places to have a drink outside while enjoying a view of the Narrows. Right now, there’s just one: The Keg. It’s the only licensed harbourfront restaurant with a patio, and it’s an excellent spot to take it easy, and watch the chartered boat tours come and go. The patio, which gets afternoon sun and offers decent shade, is furnished with rattan chairs and couches and seating for 60. There’s also a fire pit and space heaters to take the edge off the occasional breeze from the Atlantic. But speaking of breezes, don’t worry, it’s out of smelling range of the Bubble. Later this year, the Keg will have to share the view with their new neighbours: LeGros & Motti Classic European Kitchen, and their rooftop deck.

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The Duke of Duckworth
325 Duckworth Street
It’s like I Mother Earth said back in 1993: rain will fall. Summer in Newfoundland means the occasional dose of RDF. That doesn’t mean that summer festivities need to be moved inside. The Duke of Duckworth’s canopy keeps the summer alive, relatively dry, and out of the elements. The patio at the nontraditional Irish pub seats 20 or so. Recommended activity: Eavesdropping on snippets of conversations that occur in the alley below. “We added a television out there so you can now watch sports outside. It helped with overflow during the last World Cup,” says Emily Guy for the Duke. “It’s covered so it’s ideal if you like the shade when you’re drinking your pints and eating your fish ‘n chips.”

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Atlantic Place
215 Water Street
No booze, but a panoramic view of the harbour, and a crazy amount of seating. Direct sun and reflective surfaces mean practice sun safety.

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Gracie Joe’s
123 Quidi Vidi Road
Escape downtown, and ramble on over to Quidi Vidi for some peace and quiet, with the option of a glass of wine or a local microbrew (10 seats, 5 tables).

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The Inn of Olde
67 Quidi Vidi Village Road
There are times when you want to “escape downtown,” and times when you want to fall right off of the grid. Patio tables, decent beer prices, and daily lunch specials.

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Wing ‘N It
5 Bates Hill
Wing ‘N It (sorry, grammar nerds) has been doing brisk business in wings since they opened. They also inherited one of the best decks in the city. However, licensing fell by the wayside, and the patio door was closed. Now, finally, after recently getting the thumbs up from the fire marshal, the door is open again. Bonus: The patio out back is sheltered enough that it muffles the sound of downtown traffic.

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Illustration by José Gonzalez

On George ST. or Close Enough

Jungle Jim’s
2 Holdsworth Court
If you’re out to embrace summer, you might as well do it in a place decorated like the Jungle Room at Graceland. Beyond the coconut husks and palm trees, the deck holds about 20 tables. Not a bad place to settle in for a Hurricane (containing almost a liter-and-a-half of fruit juice and three kinds of rum.)

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Kelly’s
10 George Street
The nice thing about Kelly’s is you know immediately if there’s room on the patio. The wraparound patio sits at about eye level with George Street, and seats around 40. It’s a decent location for people-watching. Upstairs, the occasionally open deck adds seating for an additional 50. Give it a shot on a warm weekend.

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Christian’s
23 George Street
Two tables, seats eight. According to owner Brian Day, fuzzy legislation on smoking in licensed spaces (especially during George Street Festival) keeps the space closed to avoid hassle. “It is not right when the public sector institute rules to the private sector that are inconsistent,” says Day.

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O’Rielly’s
13 George Street
Small patio with canopy, nine tables.

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Dexas
33 New Gower Street
The old standard. Lots of seating. Heat lamps. Always busy.

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Skybar
The brand new member of the Sundance family is also the tallest: it sits on top of of the building. The rooftop bar has its own kitchen, and is open as of June 21.

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3 Cheers
Duckworth Street, William’s Lane
Small deck with shade, three tables.

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Dusk
George Street, William’s Lane
Small deck with shade, three tables.

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Greensleeves
14 George Street
Small patio with canopy, six tables.

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Martini Bar
George Street
16 tables, with partial canopy. Great for people watching.

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GeCoEs
7 George Street
Sitting on top of Turkey Joe’s, like a lizard on a rock, unnoticed by most. Gecoes is kind of tucked away, but offers a great view of George Street, and ample seating.

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Bridie MOlloy’s
5 George Street
Small patio on the side, over the alley. Three tables.

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Tired of looking?
Assorted Boston Pizza, Don Cherry’s, and Jungle Jim’s locations have patio seating. Tol’s Time-Out Lounge in Mount Pearl has a three level (fully accessible) deck with a full barbecue and outdoor tables.

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