Patio days are precious in Calgary, so when the sun is shining it can feel like a win just to score a table — any table — on a bit of sidewalk in front of a restaurant. But bistro chairs and bus fumes do not an epic patio session make. Fortunately, there are plenty of rooftop patios, including buzzy new ones and solid standbys, that can accommodate your desire for a more elevated experience where you can eat and drink in the open air in comfort and style. Here’s a rundown of some great rooftop patios to hit when it’s hot, with bonus suggestions on what to order. Please note that all photos were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People in the south love this deck for good reason: with TVs, couches, high and low tables and Adirondacks, it’s a laid-back lounge that serves elevated pub grub and house-brewed raspberry, blueberry and peach ales. There’s elevator access for those with mobility issues and children are welcome, as well.
100, 11 McKenzie Towne Ave. S.E., 403-243-2739, brewsters.ca
Blue sky and heat? Broken City tweet: “Today’s Partio Forecast: Open!!” Above old Electric Avenue (paddywagon central in the ’90s), this venue makes 95 per cent of its menu from scratch and serves cauliflower wings so wicked they even outsell the chicken ones.
613 11 Ave. S.W., 403-262-9976, brokencity.ca
Chakalaka, located in 1410 World Bier Haus’s former space, is home to one of Calgary’s newest rooftop patios. Overlooking 17 Ave. S.W., this patio features booth seating, plants and a rooftop bar. The modern tapas restaurant and bar offers fun dining experiences like the hot stone grills that cook meats ranging from steak to alligator right at your table.
1410 17 Ave. S.W., 587-891-6872, chakalaka.ca
Craft Beer Market’s downtown location opened a huge rooftop patio last summer that spans the whole length of the restaurant. Cool features include a vintage Volkswagen van, strings of lights and a retractable roof covering. This spot offers over 100 beers you can pair with a hand-smashed burger served on a butter toasted potato roll.
345 10 Ave. S.W., 403-514-2337, craftbeermarket.ca
Every day at Double Zero it’s half-price pizzas and drinks from 2 to 5 p.m. These are airy-crust Neapolitans, made with cold-fermented dough. To pair, the boss suggests a bubbly red Italian lambrusco.
CF Chinook Centre, 403-457-7677, doublezeropizza.ca
Bask in the sun with a drink in hand at this beer and food hall in Kensington, where a heated rooftop patio with plants awaits. Pair your beer with the classic cheese ball or something more hearty like the fried chicken sandwich.
1153 Kensington Cres. N.W., 403-452-1339, freehouseyyc.com
Ke Charcoal Grill’s rooftop patio is a great spot to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine, including sushi, ramen, charcoal- and stone-grilled meats, yakitori and more. The patio is open daily on a first come, first serve basis and offers picturesque views of the Beltline.
1501 15th Ave SW, 403-283-3288, kecharcoalgrill.com
Okay, it isn’t really a rooftop, it’s the balcony at Kensington Pub, but it’s worthy of mention because it’s up above the sidewalk and, more importantly, it rocks! Settle in with a shepherd’s pie and a Pimm’s cup.
207 10A St. N.W., 403-270-4505, kensingtonpub.com
This Scottish-Irish-Canadian-themed public house with an elevated deck boasts beautiful stained-glass, antiques and pints of beers. The wraps are highly recommended and burger buns are (optionally) gluten-free.
7304 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-252-9190, calgarysbestpubs.com/limericks
Michael’s is on 10 Ave. S.W., right behind the Calgary Tower, and has been serving Caesar salads, pizzas and AAA Alberta steaks there since 1981. Its patio on the roof of the adjoining parkade gets rushed at lunch by the downtown office crowd, so make a reservation if you want a spot.
139 10 Ave. S.W.,403-264-6731, michaelspizza.ca
Located in the new Modern Steak location on Stephen Avenue, this premium patio is close to the Calgary Tower and 60-storey Telus Sky, both of which light up the night, pulsating in groovy patterns and swirls of colour. Order the wagyu dumplings with Champagne and prepare for an immersive experience. An elevator makes the patio wheelchair accessible.
100 8 Ave. S.E., 403-244-3600, modernsteak.ca
Murrieta’s beef- and seafood-driven menu is best enjoyed from a bar stool on the balcony of the century-old Alberta Hotel building. Pair your bird’s-eye view of Stephen Avenue with a plate of lamb meatball spaghetti and something crisp and white.
200, 808 1 St. S.W., 403-269-7707, murrietas.ca
At this flowery rooftop beer garden, you (and your kids) can enjoy a National – Goro+Gun collaboration menu. There are 29 beers on tap and Clive burgers on the grill.
360, 225 8 Ave S.W., 403-237-5556, ntnl.ca
Formerly Ming, this self-proclaimed “barroom and divery” on 17th Avenue S.W. has a 15-seat second-storey patio. The unpretentious menu includes the likes of chili-cheese fries and sticky toffee pudding, and if that’s not enough, it’s dog-friendly, too.
520 17 Ave. S.W., 403-452-4407, onenightstans.ca
The view is picture-perfect: gleaming towers, busy bridges and the fast-flowing waters of the Bow. Operated by Charbar, this is a great spot to dig into some New York- and Detroit-style pizza that you can enjoy with a bucket of beer.
618 Confluence Way S.E., 403-452-3115, rtbsimmons.ca
High above Macleod Trail, Japanese sushi chefs march fire dragon rolls to your table under the night sky. The drink menu doesn’t stop at sake, with mojitos, Caesars and an extensive wine list.
110, 7212 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-252-5199, shosushicalgary.ca
You can share romantic nightcaps around the outdoor gas fires at each table here, or mingle indoor/outdoor-style when the big, glass doors of this southeast Calgary pub slide open. Try a chicken gastro club with sangria under the stars.
920, 19489 Seton Cres. S.E., 403-726-6330, tommyfieldgastropub.com
Vin Room on 4th Street S.W. offers an extensive selection of fine wines by the glass or bottle with a food menu to complement them. Impress a date with oysters and Champagne on this comfy, cozy rooftop with pretty views of Mission’s treetops. Vin Room also has a street-level patio that welcomes dogs.
2310 4 St. S.W., 403-457-5522, vinroom.com
This sunny rooftop in Walden serves up fish tacos and something called “potato nachos” — lattice fries topped with ooey-gooey cheese, beef and jalapenos. Add to that a slushy machine, margaritas and bulldogs. Fun!
530, 151 Walden Gate S.E., 403-256-5156, windsorrosepub.ca