Photgrapher credit: Manprit Aulakh

As the city’s new tag-line keeps telling us, this is the Blue Sky City, with 333 days of sunshine. Not all of them are suitable for outdoor dining, though — we’re talking to you deceptively sunny minus 30 January afternoon. But as our all-too-brief summer season starts, these days Calgary is a great place to be if you’re an outdoor dining enthusiast. From the lively atmosphere of The Ship and Anchor to the rooftop of Charbar, there is no shortage of great local restaurants with even better outdoor seating. Get out there with our guide to great new patios, brewery patios, patios that will transport you to another place for a mini-vacation without the hassle of a flight and dog-friendly patios to bring your furry friend along for the fun.

New Patios 

Springtime means patio time in Calgary. Here are a few newer ones you need to visit now. 

Avitus

Calling itself the “home of the Bon Vivant” is a big boast — it’s French for “a person with refined taste.” But the new wine bar Avitus lives up to the phrase with a vibrant menu and luxurious atmosphere. The expansive menu of French wines and oven-roasted cheeses is best enjoyed on the intimate, sunny patio of their newly renovated space within the Henry Block building in Marda Loop.

1934 34 Ave. S.W., avituscalgary.com, @ivituswinebar.yyc

Bar Chouette

With funky pop-art paintings on the walls and a warm blue colour palette, Bar Chouette’s interior is as vibrant as the Beltline neighbourhood it calls home. However, the south-facing patio of this fusion restaurant is the real gem, offering a sun-soaked atmosphere to enjoy delicious cocktails, a French-inspired wine list, and a robust menu of classics like steak frites. The spacious patio is perfect for sharing food over a bottle of pinot noir.

227 11 Ave. S.W., barchouette.ca, @thebarchouette 

Barbarella Bar

Stephen Avenue has been buzzing since Barbarella opened its doors last year. Locally sourced ingredients fuel the Italian-inspired menu, and the happy hour features an expertly designed set of cocktails to cool down any hot summer day. The sun-soaked patio faces right onto Stephen Avenue, which is a great way to connect with the bustling energy of downtown Calgary while enjoying the house-made limoncello.

240 8 Ave. S.W., barbarellabar.ca, @thebarbarellabar 

CHARCUT University District

CHARCUT prides itself on being “by locals and for everyone,” and that energy will land in the University District this spring. Over 10 years of operation, the CHARCUT menu has achieved local legend status with its blend of in-house butchered meats, handmade pasta and sumptuous cocktails. The 60-person patio at their new location within Alt Hotel is seamlessly connected to the open-concept interior and equipped to handle any season of the year. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some cured meats and a daytime happy hour in one of Calgary’s trendiest new neighbourhoods.

4150 University Ave. N.W., charcut.com, @charcut  

Hooch & Co

If you’re a dog owner, chances are good that your furry friend enjoys the sun as much (if not more) than you do. In that case, Hooch & Co is about to become your favourite new haunt. Describing itself as “if a dog park served drinks,” this innovative new spot offers a full-service bar with indoor and — more importantly — outdoor space for you and your puppy and an indoor off-leash park and private suites. The bar and the patio will open up on the main strip of Inglewood this spring.

1409 9 Ave. S.E., hoochdogbar.com, @hooch_dog_bar

Jams Diner

Housed in the former Kane’s Harley Diner, Jams Diner is a retro restaurant owned by two breakfast enthusiasts from Airdrie.  In addition to a brunch-forward menu and an impressive array of cocktails, Jams is a notable performance space where you can catch anything from jazz guitarists to burlesque routines. The owners have plans to extend a patio into the historic streets of Inglewood this year. This patio promises to connect anyone walking down 9th Avenue with the cozy retro vibes of the diner.

1209 9th Ave. S.E., jamsdiner.ca, @jams_diner 

National on 10th

This spring, National doubled the size of the rooftop patio at its 10th Avenue location, now with capacity for 150 seated and up to 400 standing guests. Their new food menu and happy hour specials promise affordable fun for the sun-loving Calgarian, as do games like Corn Hole and Jenga. The epic expansion includes heaters and a retractable awning for unpredictable weather days, making this rooftop patio a trendy spot to enjoy drinks surrounded by the skyline any day of the week. 

 341 10 Ave. S.W., ntnl.ca, @ntnlcalgary  

The Prairie Emporium

Nestled in the Alyth/Bonnybrook/Manchester industrial area and built into the side of a retro auto garage, the patio at The Prairie Emporium is a fresh way to enjoy some summer rays. The drink menu offers a mix of coffee and cocktails, and the Prairie Emporium’s ongoing Blue Jay Sessions is a window into Calgary’s vibrant local music and arts scene. Their patio is getting refreshed this spring, so hop on the C-train (it’s walking distance from the 39th Avenue stop) and check out this unique hub of drinks and culture!

334 53 Ave. S.E., theprairieemporium.com, @theprairieemporium

Tiger K

Tiger K feels like a trendy update on a nostalgic experience. Filling Korean soul food like beef bibimbap pairs well with contemporary drinks flavoured with soju and ginseng, simultaneously recalling a cozy Korean diner and an upscale cocktail bar. This unique vibe continues on Tiger K’s intimate patio, which is covered in dark wood accents and looks out onto the main drag of Kensington from the space formerly occupied by Ikemen Ramen. It’s a perfectly eclectic backdrop for sharing some steamed clams under the sun.
217 10 St. N.W., tigerk.ca, @tigerkyyc 

True Wild Distillery

There is a lot of history in the building that True Wild Distillery calls home. Once the East Calgary Substation — which housed one of the city’s first electrical systems in the early 1900s — True Wild has re-imagined this immense space as a luxurious multi-use facility focused on fine spirits and a vegetable-forward menu. The patio, projected to open this June, promises to be a warmly lit hub for True Wild’s various culinary and beverage creations, with copious seating and lovely surrounding greenery.

3115 11 St. S.E., truewilddistilling.com, @truewilddistilling

Tubbys

The second chapter of legendary Calgary institution Tubby Dog is Tubby’s, a lively cocktail bar that pairs lo-fi vibes with decently priced drinks — and, of course, delicious hot dogs served with chips, coleslaw and a giant pickle. Tubby’s just celebrated its first anniversary, and what better way to celebrate Calgary tradition than with a pint of Tubby Lager on the patio? This outdoor space is as intimate and hip as the interior and is atmospherically lit by the offbeat neon signs on the exterior of the building.

100A 1210 8 St. S.W., tubbybar.com, @drinktubbys 

Cold Ones For Hot Days

These Calgary breweries offer vibrant patios and recommended brews to get the party started.

Annex Ales

Annex Ales and its welcoming patio are just a few steps from the 39th Avenue C-train station. Warm string lights illuminate the reclining patio chairs and handsome wood picnic tables throughout the night, and the food offered by Lil Empire Burgers makes the patio feel like the backyard cookout of your dreams. Annex’s co-founder Andrew Bullied thinks your patio experience should start with the Staircase Wit, a small-batch wheat ale available all summer. “It’s made from orange and coriander, so it’s light, drinkable, and very citrus-forward.”

4323 1 St. S.E. annexales.com, @annexales

Burwood Distillery

The scenic heritage space that Burwood Distillery calls home offers diverse culinary and drinking experiences. Burwood shares the building with Veranda Restaurant and Vaycay Brewing, and the menus feature collaborations like house-made beignets flavoured with honey from a farm managed by Burwood. That honey is also central to one of Burwood co-owner Jordan Ramey’s favourite patio drinks. “My go-to all last summer was the Bee’s Knees,” he says, a gin-based cocktail that balances sweet and sour flavours. 

2566 Flanders Ave. S.W., burwooddistillery.ca, @burwooddistillery

Citizen Brewing Company

You can hit not one but two patios attached to Citizen Brewing’s main building in Highland Park. With seating for more than 200 people and a built-in hop and vegetable garden, it’s not hard to leave the cozy taproom for this expansive outdoor space on a beautiful day. If you’re not sure which brew to enjoy first, Citizen’s head brewer Joel Field says that you have some options. “Our Batch 1 Session Ale is easy drinking at 4.5 per cent, and our new line of nitrous sours are always refreshing.” 

227 35 Ave. N.E., citizenbrewingcompany.com, @citizenbrewingcompany

Cold Garden

With cheap pints and a funky (and dog-friendly!) taproom, Cold Garden is a regular haunt for Calgary craft beer enthusiasts. The funky decor inside overflows to the patio out front, covered in astroturf, full of communal tables and open late. “One of our most crushable beers is the Pool Party Blonde,” says Cold Garden co-founder Blake Belding. He also confirms that “Frose”’ drinks made with house-made wine will be served out of a slushy machine all summer, which sounds like a perfect patio refresher.

1100 11 St. S.E., coldgarden.ca, @cold_garden

Dandy Brewing Company

The courtyard-style patio that wraps around the entrance to Dandy Brewing is the perfect environment to enjoy a variety of beers and NYC-style pizza. The long tables encourage socializing, as do the
open bay doors and the surrounding Ramsay community. “I definitely recommend the Dandy Premium Lager or any of the fruit sours we have rolling out,” says Dandy CEO Benjamin Leon. “The patio is
going to be wild this summer!”

2003 11 St. S.E., thedandybrewingcompany.com, @dandybrewing

Trolley 5 

Taking its name from the trolley that used to run through the Beltline neighbourhood, Trolley 5 is the beating heart of Calgary’s vibrant 17th Avenue community. This street becomes a hotspot of activity during the summer months, and the expansive patio at Trolly 5 is a great spot to take it all in while eating barbecue and enjoying a cold one, thanks to seating directly facing the sidewalk. Trolley 5 owner Ernie Tsu thinks your journey on their patio should start with the Turntable Lager, which won Best Lager at the 2023 Canadian Brewing Awards. “It’s super crushable, with a little bit of Alberta sweet maltiness to it.”

728 17 Ave. S.W., trolley5.com, @trolley_5

Zero Issue 

Ever since opening in 2017, Zero Issue has been pulling inspiration from the worlds of science-fiction and comic books to craft unique beers best enjoyed over one of the board games available to play in the taproom. This unique vibe extends outside to a beautiful sunlit patio that overlooks the surrounding Northeast Calgary scenery. “Our Fringe Mexican Lager is crisp, light and great for the patio,” says taproom manager Ember Varga. “In the summer, we whip out limes for it!”

4210 12 St. N.E., zeroissuebeer.com, @zeroissuebrewing