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Summer Entertaining

After being indoors for so many months, patios and backyards really come alive on balmy summer days and nights.

Summer Entertaining
Photo by Psycho Suzi's

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Who doesn’t appreciate a warm breeze while enjoying a cool drink? The next time you celebrate, consider making reservations at one of these patios, or—if you’re feeling up to the task—throw a memorable soiree right in your own backyard.



Lola’s Lakehouse, Lake Waconia 

You’ll feel like you’re on vacation when you dine on the patio at Lola’s Lakehouse, overlooking Lake Waconia. “It has a very cool vibe in a beautiful setting,” says Dermot Cowley, owner (Cowley also owns Jake O’Connor’s, O’Donovan’s, and JJ Murphy’s Pub).  And while bands do sometimes play on a barge across from the patio, it’s not as much of a wild party atmosphere as some waterfront decks.  

If you choose to sit indoors—out of the direct sunlight—you can still enjoy the natural elements when the large glass garage doors are open, letting the breeze in. Popular summer items include the cast-iron seafood stew pot, seafood lasagna, and stone-fired pizza (boaters especially love the pizza as a convenient “to-go” option).   

318 East Lake St., Waconia,


Psycho Suzi’s, Northeast Minneapolis, Mississippi River

It’s a tiki bar, yes, but it’s also home to one of the most amazing patios in town. If you like the idea of sipping a fun, fruity, boozy cocktail out of a kitschy tiki totem glass out on a 7,000-foot patio overlooking the Mississippi, this is your place. Feel free to bring fido. Dogs are welcome on the patio. Dining at night is also divine; gas-powered tiki torches help take the chill out of the air.  

1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis,


The Bluefin Grille, Lake Superior

This is definitely one patio with a view, overlooking the dramatic moods of Lake Superior. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is sophisticated yet casual. The Grille is open to the public, not just exclusively to resort guests (although if you’re staying at Bluefin, you’ll want to check it out).

7192 West Highway 61, Tofte,



O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, downtown Minneapolis

Before heading to a show at First Ave. or a Twins game at Target Field, enjoy a perfectly poured pint of Smithwick’s, Guinness, or Harp on one of the largest outdoor patios in downtown Minneapolis. “We can seat 180 people outside,” says owner Dermot Cowley. “People are surprised to hear that number, but on the Target Center side of our building, the pavement is almost 40-feet wide so we get to utilize a lot of that space.” When the weather permits, the patio offers prime people watching.  

700 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, 55403,


Solera, downtown Minneapolis

On a summer evening, nothing beats chilling out on the Solera rooftop. Enjoy Movies on the Rooftop Sunday and Tuesday nights during the summer. This Spanish-inspired restaurant, located in the heart of the Minneapolis Theater District, attracts a hip, high-energy crowd dining on traditional and innovative tapas (small plates) and an excellent selection of beer and wine (try the sangria).

900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis,


Cheeky Monkey Deli, Cathedral Hill, St. Paul

Brunch, lunch, dinner, or a nice glass of wine just taste better when enjoyed outside on a nice summer day, something that regulars at Cheeky Monkey Deli—a “deli by day; bistro by night” in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood—know all too well. The environment is nice without being pretentious and the food is fresh, local, and seasonal. Try the pot roast sandwich, shrimp salad, or coconut cream pie.

525 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 55102,



JJ Murphy’s Irish Pub, Blaine

The new kid on the Blaine block (JJ Murphy’s just opened in March), this restaurant does not have an outdoor patio yet, says Dermot Cowley, owner, but it will by summer 2013. “We intend to build an outdoor bar and fireplace,” he says. By the time it’s fully remodeled, the patio will seat 150 people. “It’s going to be one of the nicer patios around when it’s done,” Cowley comments.

10400 Baltimore St. NE, Blaine,


Jake O’Connor’s Public House, Excelsior  

The outdoor patio at Jake O’Connor’s is the place to be during sandal season. If you want to watch the action on the street, sit on one side; if you want to have a private dining experience, sit on the other. Jake O’Connor’s is known for excellent summer salads and an impressive wine selection.

200 Water St., Excelsior,


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