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Sun! Sip! Sup!

24 Great Places to Eat and Drink Outdoors

Sun! Sip! Sup!
Photo by Jeff Johnson

(page 2 of 5)


772 Bielenberg Dr., Woodbury

THE VIEW: Take a trip to a metropolitan European square. In Woodbury. Seriously. A huge brick patio with its own covered bar. It’s hip, sexy...surprising, right?
THE VIBE: Built the last week in June, it’s got that new-patio smell. You know, freshly cut wood, freshly pressed clothing, freshly made money. It’s all here.
THE VITAL TIP: Order the Spanish Triple-X, a perfectly balanced, ideal outdoor drink mixing bourbon, cava, agave nectar, lemon and orange juices, and West Indies orange bitters.

Aperitif spared no expense making its new patio look fantastic. You’ll feel cooler than the average Woodbury resident, hanging out here. And the food lives up to the expectations set by the noteworthy décor. You’ll especially love the small plates, which include baked cheese wrapped in phyllo ($6) and lamb meatballs with a spectacular tzatziki sauce. The flatbreads are perfect for sharing with friends or family: I liked the Grecian ($11), with artichokes, Kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and feta cheese. The flash-grilled caesar salad was also delicious ($17), with a large portion of wood-fired salmon served next to two grilled hearts of fresh romaine. It might be to early to tell, but we’re predicting that Aperitif’s patio will quickly become the best place to dine outside in the eastern suburbs. —JASON DERUSHA

Aster Café

125 SE Main St., Mpls.

THE VIEW: Dog walkers and the Mill District.
THE VIBE: Anyone over 30 who digs a casual night out.
THE VITAL TIP: Take it slow and order as you go, sharing a few small dishes to taste it all.

From the redesigned look to the expanded menu, it’s clear there’s a new sheriff in town at Aster Café. What’s the difference? Well, one bartender describes it as “more café than coffeehouse now.” Aster offers a relaxed riverside ’tude (dogs clearly welcome) that pairs well with its new menu offerings. You’ll find flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, and salads for under $10—and nothing with the word fried in the description. On a hot day, the guaranteed shade on the tree-lined patio (illuminated with twinkle lights at night) is divine. —ELLIE BAYRD

Bricks American Pub

10340 Baltimore St. NE, Blaine

THE VIEW: If you come after the sunset, feast your eyes on the fire roaring in the patio’s enormous brick fireplace. Sit close enough and it’ll take the edge off those cool, late-summer nights.
THE VIBE: A casual crowd that’s eager for a good craft beer.
THE VITAL TIP: Happy hour, which includes half-price draft beers, wine, and specialty cocktails, runs from 3 to 6 p.m.; there are daily drink specials as well.

Here’s the trick to navigating Bricks’ s substantial menu: Look for cheese and look for the fire icon that indicates it’s been prepared in the restaurant’s brick oven. Those are the items most likely to knock your socks off—like the drool-worthy fire-baked cheese and flatbread starter or any of its pizzas or calzones. Bricks also gives a nod to its predecessor with the “In Memory of Cru Burger,” which is topped with four-year Widmer cheddar, fried onions, pickled jalapeños, tomato jam, and caper aioli. —ERIN PETERSON


6411 City West Pkwy., Eden Prairie

THE VIEW: The sequestered patio is quiet, green, and shady—and feels miles away from life’s bustle.
THE VIBE: You’ll find the well-heeled and the corporate card-wielding set here. Expect white tablecloths, impeccable service, and soothing music on the outdoor speakers.
THE VITAL TIP: Come between 5 and 6 p.m. to get a crack at the early-dining menu, which includes a choice of appetizer, entrée, and wine for $22.

Every gorgeous summer evening should kick off with a light, fruity, buzzy drink, shouldn’t it? Yes it should, and when you arrive at Campiello, you need to look no further than the restaurant’s much-loved martini list, which includes the extremely popular pear martini and the delightful, if vertigo-inducing, margatini. You can’t go wrong with the slightly crunchy bruschetta, with its juicy, jaw-droppingly fresh and flavorful tomatoes. And the tender, sweet balsamic-glazed short ribs have become such an institution that this single entrée alone could keep the restaurant in business for years. —ERIN PETERSON

D’Amico Kitchen

901 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

THE VIEW: Big watches, small dresses, cleavage you could lose a bottle of Campari in.
THE VIBE: Playa del Carmen, minus the Federal Bikini Inspector T-shirts. And the ocean.
THE VITAL TIP: Reserve a cabana for that Travel + Leisure feel.

The patio outside D’Amico Kitchen at the Chambers hotel is called Eden, and for anyone whose idea of paradise is a tropical vacation, this feels about right. There’s something about the place, a leafy respite amid the concrete jungle, that compels you to unbutton your shirt a little more than usual, or to order some champagne, as if in celebration (try the Sicilian champagne cocktail: Aperol, bitters, and a single white sugar cube). Maybe it’s the decadent, permanent-vacation décor, including canopies of the sort featured on every cover of every luxury-travel magazine ever. Maybe it’s the weekend deejay, whose European electro grooves are muffled only by all the pillowy silicone and Maseratis pulling up outside. But let’s be honest. Like every Eden, this place is about temptation, of the sort inspired by exotic appetizers and earthy Campari cocktails. Drink it in, get a room, and don’t feel guilty until Monday morning. —TIM GIHRING

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