1991 Commerce Dr NW, Rochester
Patio, and pond. Five West’s patio always sounds great, in part because of the backdrop of splashing water created by the beautiful multi-jet fountain it overlooks. The raised patio overlooks a pond surrounded by wildflowers with the fountain at its center.
One of your favorite apps in town: Five West’s Buffalo Chicken Wontons have won our Best Appetizer category half a dozen times over the years. Menu description: “Cream cheese, shredded chicken, celery and green onions served with ranch or blue cheese.
Yes. Even when it gets cold. Make yourself comfortable at the covered outdoor bar. Fitted with TVs and ceiling heaters, it’s the perfect place to enjoy an adult drink with Szechuan cauliflower. Additionally, Five West has garage-style doors that can be raised and lowered between its indoor dining area and patio.
401 Sixth St. SW, Rochester
(Centerstone Plaza Hotel)
Cattails? Downtown? Twigs’ patio features a cattail-lined stream. Decorated with flowers, it is separated from the surrounding streets by a beautiful black fence and pine trees offering privacy. It feels isolated and intimate.
The best place in the house (outdoors)? We recommend the place near a fireplace or nestled by the stream. Then, to keep the theme outdoors, take a stroll after dinner to Soldiers Memorial Field, a few blocks away.
Gluten free? Partly due to her own diagnosis of celiac disease, Twigs owner Michelle Salz has worked tirelessly to include gluten-free options on her menu. She made sure that gluten contamination wouldn’t be an issue with a separate gluten-free kitchen. Our favourite? The applewood smoked meatloaf by Papo.
10 Third St. SW, Rochester
Still a favorite, a decade later: The Tap House opened in November 2012 to immediate fanfare, largely due to its prime-time downtown rooftop dining option with separate east and west rooftop patios.
And 97 others. With 100 beers on tap, the Tap House lives up to its name and is sure to have the perfect refreshing drink for a summer evening outdoors, from the Rogue Batsquatch Hazy IPA to the Firestone Walker Blu Love Sour at the Lift Bridge Farm Girl Golden Ale.
They’re all great seats, but… The “best” place in the house, according to regulars at Tap House (including us), is at the rooftop bar. Co-owner Natalie Victoria agrees: “We have a nano-window on the second floor that opens onto the roof terrace. On the other side of the window is a small six-seat granite bar. When you sit at this bar, you are in an elevated position, giving you a bird’s eye view of the second floor as well as the Rochester skyline. There is a fireplace behind the seats, it is really very cozy and private.
3708 N Broadway Avenue Suite 160, Rochester
Bring the kids! The huge Purple Goat Patio, formerly the Shopko Garden Center, seats over 60 people and features four large TVs, ceiling fans, and an outdoor play area with a large wooden car, boat, and lawn. house for the children to climb.
Like Newt’s, Redwood Room, City Cafe… Opened in 2021, the Purple Goat is one of several restaurants owned by the Creative Cuisine Company. The business opened in 1978 and is owned by Mark and David Currie, second-generation restorers who started out as dishwashers.
Who doesn’t? If you like your bratwursts boiled in beer, then the Goat’s patio might be the perfect place to consume their Hamm-saturated “Old Man Wurst.”
220 South Broadway Ave.
Retractable walls? Crave’s upside-down atrium is located on the second floor. It offers the best of both worlds. With retractable walls and a soaring glass ceiling, its ambience is full of fresh air like a rooftop patio, but can be fully enclosed in inclement weather.
Smoke? Double wooded? Not sure what to order as an appetizer and drink? Try the Bamboo Bite Roll with tempura shrimp and cream cheese topped with avocado and jalapeno. The smoky Manhattan couldn’t hurt either. Why not double down on a double oak bourbon?
Happy Hours: Your pocket book and your taste buds will be delighted during their happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, as draft beers and wines are $2 off and pair perfectly with their crispy parmesan and truffle fries.
Whistling Binkies on the Lake
247 Woodlake Drive Rochester
Best seat in the house? With 200 indoor and 200 outdoor seating, it can be difficult to find the best seat. But come summer, we say the best seats are these elevated terraces facing east toward Wood Lake. When it’s cool in the late evening, retreat to the three-season porch, The Beer Garden.
Look at the volleyball! During the summer, volleyball teams invade the adjacent courts four nights a week, and low and high tables with umbrellas are all the rage for people who want to watch.
And play giant Jenga! With a covered area featuring rolling doors, a huge fire pit, and games like giant Jenga and beanbags, the outdoor dining experience at Binkies has a little something for everyone, not to mention their expansive “ beer bible” and their huge menu.
1190 16th St. SW #600, Rochester
Do you like your terrace with a nostalgic touch of the 90s? Hot Chip has you covered. Their covered terrace is decorated with old storefront signs reminiscent of when Kevin Bacon was king and encouraging you to order their Kevin Bacon Cheese Burger. Also, lots of references to Britney Spears, Be Kind Rewind, “The Rachel”, Y2K…
Burgers on the Zumbro: The view of the Zumbro River from the Hot Chip patio is stunning, and you could snag a table for two on its own private brick patio.
“Like an orange dreamicle…but with alcohol.” The outdoors is the perfect place to enjoy an alcoholic shake, so don’t head to the Hot Chip Terrace without one of their alcoholic frozen concoctions. We recommend the Berry Cap’n Crunch Milkshake. Or the new Main Squeeze (“like an orange dreamicle… but with alcohol”).