If you’re anything like us, you probably can’t believe it’s almost the end of summer already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the BC Parks website opened for campsite reservations? (It was 3 months ago.) Did that month of gruelling cold rain happen in March or June? (The answer is both.)
But whether or not your grasp on time’s cruel progression is hanging by a thread, it’s understandable that you may wish to spend summer’s last days safely dining in the out of doors, an appropriate distance away from your friends, sipping on some wine, and soaking up some sun. It’s a great way to support your local restaurants and feel a shred of normalcy in these unprecedented times.
Below are some of our favourite under-the-radar spots, so you can avoid crowds and lineups, while still making the most of the summer.
PS: Wear a mask and be kind to your servers, of course!
5 Vancouver patios to try before the end of summer
This natural wine bar has used several parking spots in front of its Gastown location to create a beautiful outdoor patio fit for casual, stylish drinks and snacks with up to five friends at a time. Come for the thoughtful wine recommendations, stay for the vegan “ham” chips. Say the word “effervescent” more than you ever thought you would. And take a bottle home with you if you really like it!
There are a lot of breweries in East Van. But if an alien from outer space landed in your backyard and said, “Take me to an East Van brewery”, you would take them to Container. Tucked away in the surprisingly quiet corner formed by Hastings and Clark, you’ll find a friendly, plaid-bedecked brew staff serving about 5 different IPAs in a charmingly grungy parking lot against the backdrop of an old shipping container stamped with the warning “East Van rats live here”. And even though we’re talking about patios here, it should be mentioned that the tasting room is quite beautiful and airy. The staff sprays your hands with hand sanitizer the moment you walk in to order, which is much appreciated.
This relatively new tapas restaurant has adapted their Japanese West Coast menu to parking lot dining chic and we’re not mad about it. What’s not to love about a stellar wine selection, fresh oysters, and the cutest homemade individual hand sanitizers you’ve ever seen? With a touch of a Palm Springs vibe, this is the perfect place to relax on a Friday night. And if the patio is full, take a picnic-to-go to Pandora Park one block away. Bonus: there’s even a little dog house for your canine pal to relax in as well.
This Strathcona mainstay is for breakfast lovers. Ricotta pancakes, shakshuka, and other delicious brunch delights are served until 3 pm on this modest, but beloved patio. But the lunch menu is nothing to scoff at either. Think tofu banh-mi and the perfect muffaletta served with a mug of coffee or a fresh aperol spritz.
Ever wonder where to find the second best chocolate chip cookie in Vancouver? Probably not. You probably wonder where to find the best chocolate chip cookie in Vancouver. But we don’t want to argue about chocolate chip cookie rankings right now. All you need to know is that Kafka’s chocolate chip cookie is soft and chocolatey and just the right amount of salty. It’s our second favourite chocolate chip cookie in the city—and that’s after tasting a lot of different chocolate chip cookies over many years. You can munch on it with a cup of responsibly brewed coffee at Kafka’s Great Northern Way location, which has a spacious patio perfect for working on that screenplay you’ve always dreamed of writing, or just scribbling any pandemic-fuelled anxieties in your diary. Whatever. Coffee and cookies make everything better!