Thursday, 28 May 2020 00:06

Patio Party

Written by  Josh Veal
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Sovengard. Sovengard. Courtesy Photo

As restaurants begin to open back up in limited capacity, patios will be a lifesaver.

In scientific terms, the ability to eat outdoors in open air is safer than an enclosed space. In terms of fun, enjoying your meal in the sun with a light breeze is a return to our primal nature. 

If it’s warmer than 70 degrees and sunny, I’m always going to ask if there’s room on the patio. I keep a running list of Grand Rapids spots with outdoor seating — and now it’s time to share it with you. 

Of course, with sidewalk seating and bar patios, there’s no way to include every spot in West Michigan. Here are some of our favorites. 

Blue Water
5180 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids

I mean, it’s right there in the name: Blue Water sits right on the edge of Versluis Lake. The tables here are about as close to water as you’re going to get without needing a bathing suit. The patio is also loaded with flowers and plants, including a garden that contributes to the meals you eat here. 

Butcher’s Union
438 Bridge St., Grand Rapids

The patio at Butcher’s Union is really two patios: The seats on the sidewalk and the lovely little enclosure at the back of the restaurant. With the sun shining through plants hanging above and string lights at night, this semi-veranda feels positively European. 

Founders Brewing Co.
235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

You can’t talk about drinking outside without mentioning Founders’ beer garden, which might be as big as every other patio listed here combined. It’s huge, it’s full of variety — from standing areas to high tops to picnic tables — and you can smell the beer brewing in the air.

The Friesian Gastro Pub
720 Michigan St., Grand Rapids

Reach for the stars! Ever since opening, one of Friesian’s biggest strengths has been its been rooftop patio. Whether you’re there enjoying dusk on a nice weeknight evening or sweating out a hangover in the sun with Sunday brunch, Friesian’s patio is a step above.

Haute by New Hotel Mertens
35 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids

Haute can be hard to spot, unless you’re flying around nine stories up. This rooftop patio takes New Hotel Mertens to new heights, serving primarily as a cocktail lounge with a few gourmet snacks available. The real treat here though is the view of the city from high above. You know what they say: The higher the patio, the closer to God.

The Green Well Gastro Pub 
924 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids

While Brewery Vivant and Maru Sushi across the street have nice patios, Green Well’s space is absolutely surrounded by greenery. Trees form a natural wall for the patio, which sits right next to a beautiful native plant garden and the historic ICCF building. At the end of the day, it’s a pleasant place to be!

1157 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Hancock’s turf lawn perfectly fits its retro historic vibes. Eating fried chicken and sides while sipping a slushy cocktail in the sun on perfectly green “grass”? That’s the dream. It’s big enough to fit quite a few tables without sprawling across Wealthy Street. While we’re at it, Donkey Taqueria has a sizable patio too, as does The Winchester, though it’s closed at the moment.

25 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
2183 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

Both locations sport excellent patios, but the downtown HopCat spot is especially fun. There’s something about sitting outside surrounded by buildings and passersby that gives you the true city feel, while also being nestled amongst plants and trees. 

New Holland Brewing – The Knickerbocker
417 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids

Much like everything else in New Holland’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker’s semi-enclosed patio is huge, with a large screen for watching sports and loads of seating to spread out. Plus, you’re surrounded by wood and plants, which is always nice.

The Sovengard
443 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids

Sovengard has one of the best patios/biergartens in West Michigan. There are multiple sections, whether you’re looking for the full dinner experience or just want to grab a beer from the shipping container bar. With a lovely herb garden and a bocce ball court as well, it feels like its own little ecosystem tucked away off Bridge.



Cedar Springs Brewing Co.
95 N Main St. NE, Cedar Springs

Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant
216 Van Raalte Ave., Holland

Cottage Bar
18 La Grave Ave. SE, Grand Rapids

The Deck
1601 Beach St., Muskegon

Graydon’s Crossing
1223 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

Harmony Eastown
1551 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck
187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

New Holland Brewing
66 E. 8th St., Holland

One Bourbon
608 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids

Rockwell Republic
45 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids

550 Lakeside Dr. SE, East Grand Rapids

Snug Harbor
311 S. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven

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