8 Patios That Are Worth the Drive
No summer day in Canmore, Banff or Bragg Creek is complete without a drink and a snack on a patio.
The Bavarian Inn in Bragg Creek.
You plan a day trip out of the city to go hiking, paddling or sightseeing. But if you think a drink on a patio isn’t worth driving an hour for, think again. Views of mountain ranges and prairies, adorable log cabin designs and secluded dining experiences can’t be matched in town.
Spend 30 minutes driving and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping prairie views and majestic mountainous ones. While Azuridge’s patio is open for both lunch and dinner, come later in the evening so that you can sip on some wine while admiring the stars. The patio is heated, so you won’t be too chilled by the fresh mountain air. You’ll need to make a reservation if you’re planning on dining here.
178057 272 St. W., Priddis, 403-931-0100, azuridge.ca
There’s no better way to end an active day in the mountains than on a log cabin’s patio, looking out onto the Rockies you just conquered. (Or book a weekend getaway at one of the chalets and enjoy multiple meals on this patio.) The resort is away from the crowds, making it a secluded, quiet destination. The patio is partially shaded and has a menu that is casual and rustic.
Baker Creek Chalets, Lake Louise, 403-522-2182, bakercreek.com
Take your schnitzel with a view. Located a little way off of Highway 22, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has a quiet patio that’s partially shaded with a forest view. After a lunch or dinner of German or Austrian food, spend some time exploring Bragg Creek.
75 White Ave., Bragg Creek, 403-949-3611, thebavarianinn.com
If you don’t own a car, or don’t want to pass the waning summer days cooped up inside one, know that this patio is well worth the bike ride. (Of course, it’s also respectable to drive to Cochrane.) Ride through Bearspaw to get to Cochrane, and before the grueling ride back up the Cochrane hill, spend some time recouping on the café’s patio. It’s like sitting on grandpa’s porch: it’s cabin-like in appearance and you can watch the world go by, while still keeping an eye on your bike. Order the iced Himalayan tea and a fresh muffin.
114 2 Ave. W., 403-932-1695, coffeetraders.ca
Alberta’s first craft distillery also has a patio. After a one-hour drive and a tour of the distillery, spend some time on its street-level patio. Order some appetizers with the signature Parlour Gin. Located off of the Cowboy Trail, it’s fitting that the patio feels very cowboy — it’s decorated with whiskey barrels and horse wagon equipment.
113 Sunset Blvd. N.W., 403-933-5404, eauclairedistillery.ca
Views of the Three Sisters, energy from 8th Street, a range of pub food and plenty of handcrafted beers on the menu. Enough said.
622 8 St., Canmore, 403-678-9983, thegrizzlypaw.com
After a hike at Vermillion Lakes, instead of heading to Banff Avenue, plan to have a meal on the patio at the Juniper Hotel. The Juniper Bistro boasts views of “one of the most renowned vistas in North America.” While the view on its own is worth visiting this patio for, also know that the venue is family friendly, it’s partially shaded, and breakfast, late lunch and dinner are served here at various points throughout the week.
1 Juniper Way, Banff, 403-763-6219, thejuniper.com
Banff’s newest restaurant has two patios. Eat on the ground level and take part in some quality people watching, or head upstairs to its patio on the second storey and enjoy its campfire cooking on family-style tables. Enjoy a hearty meal, breathe in the mountain air and enjoy the bustle along Banff Avenue.
219 Banff Ave., Banff, 403-762-5114, parkdistillery.com