5 Hot Spots for Dining Alfresco

By Lisa Havelka

The days are getting longer, temperatures are on the rise and patio furniture is making its first appearance of the season. There’s nothing like the smell of the barbeque grill in the air to get you outdoors for good food, friends and conversation. With table legs clanking, glasses clinking and outdoor lights illuminating, enjoy the view at these alfresco patios, rooftops and lakeside decks in Minnesota.

Butcher & the Boar, Minneapolis

Butcher and the Boar
Let your nose guide you to the beer garden at Butcher & the Boar in downtown Minneapolis, where the smell of smoked meat fills the air. The tent-covered beer garden is open year-round, seats 80 and stands 100 while accommodating Minnesota’s four seasons (it’s heated or air conditioned depending the time of year). You can even bring your four-legged friend, as the beer garden is dog-friendly.

Grab a seat and sample the delectable menu of sandwiches, sausages and snacks. Try the ”beer, brat and shot” special for a fun culinary experience. Or try a signature Knob Creek Bourbon cocktail or craft beer available in the Main Room at Butcher & the Boar.

Rochester Rooftops

Kathy's Pub Rochester

To find alfresco dining in Rochester, you should look up. Rochester’s rooftop restaurants, including the Tap House, La Vetta and Kathy’s Pub, are just a few that have popped up in the southern city’s skyline.The Tap House, as its name suggests, offers 50 beers on tap and a rooftop patio with a large fireplace and patio heaters. La Vetta’s rooftop bar above Terza Ristorante, a full-service Italian restaurant, offers panoramic views of downtown and Soldier's Field Park.

For entertainment while you dine, take in a rooftop show over Kathy’s Pub. Known for years for its live music inside, Kathy’s now offers a rockin’ rooftop good time during the summer months.

River Deck Bar, East Grand Forks

River Deck Bar East Grand Forks 800X344

A river runs through it in East Grand Forks, and where better to river watch than from the second-floor patio of the River Deck Bar. Open from spring until fall, the deck offers spectacular views of the meandering Red River below. Serving up flavorful eats from the indoor Boardwalk Bar & Grill, the River Deck Bar offers comfortable patio furnishings, fire pits and an outdoor bar area for guests to enjoy.

Gun Flint Tavern, Grand Marais

Gun Flint Tavern Rooftop 800X344

At the gateway to the Gunflint Trail and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, tucked along the harbor of Lake Superior in downtown Grand Marais, is the Gun Flint Tavern. After a long day of hiking or canoeing, you’ll want to kick back at the tavern’s Ravens Nest rooftop, with its unobstructed views of the harbor and surrounding wilderness. The roof deck offers a full-service bar to enjoy a craft beer (brewed on-site), organic food and live music on the weekends.

The Launch Bar & Grill, Onamia

Eddy's Launch Bar & Grill

The warm summer breeze coming off the lake sets the scene at the newly renovated Launch Bar & Grill inside Eddy’s Resort on Lake Mille Lacs. Recognized for its good service and contemporary atmosphere, craft beer selection and unique food offerings, Eddy’s serves dishes including beer-battered deviled eggs and other fun twists on standard bar food.

But it’s the incredible views along the west shores of Lake Mille Lacs that really sets the Launch Bar & Grill apart. Whether peering out from the oversized windows inside the restaurant or outside on the large patio, Eddy’s 1960s bright red-trimmed launch boats dot the beautiful shoreline of Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake.

Find more Minnesota restaurants on the Drink & Eat page, including places with waterfront dining.