Patio Paradise: Dining Outdoors Around West Michigan
Written by Revue Staff. Photo: Third Nature Brewing.


With the arrival of summer, many Michigan restaurants suddenly see their seating capacity double. That’s because it’s a special time of the year: Patio season.

There are all kinds of outdoor eating situations, from a few tables set outside on the sidewalk to sprawling patios with picnic benches, umbrellas and yard games—each has its place.

We’re here to point you to a few of our favorite spots to dine in the great outdoors.

Archival Brewing
6266 W River Dr. NE, Belmont

Archival has patios upon patios, with its large biergarten, as well as wraparound, covered deck. As the afternoon winds down to evening, families begin to filter in to enjoy a place where they can relax with friends around a firepit and their littles can run around. There are also yard games, including corn hole and bocce ball.

Blue Water
5180 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids

It’s right there in the name: Blue Water sits right on the edge of Versluis Lake. The tables here at this Gilmore institution 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. 

550 Lakeside Dr. SE, East Grand Rapids

Another Gilmore establishment, Rose’s is practically famous for its lakeside deck. In the summer, you can enjoy classic dishes and drinks while watching people boat, kayak, fish and more out on Reeds Lake. That’s what summer is all about!

Third Nature Brewing & Eastern Kille Distillery

7733 Childsdale Ave. NE, Rockford
7755 Childsdale Ave. NE, Rockford

Right down the street from each other are Third Nature Brewing and the newly opened Eastern Kille Distillery, both of which have a sprawling space outdoors, right off the extensive White Pine Trail. Head here with friends or family to enjoy great food, beer and cocktails, along with fire pits, yard games and play areas for the kiddos. And if you need one more reason, Rockford Brewing is just a few miles off, also sporting a pleasant patio!

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

Worth the short drive, this Cedar Springs hotspot is known for its German-influenced fare and brews. They have a covered—and heated—patio/bier garden for cooler weather that opens up as warmer days roll in. They offer bier hall-style counter service and put on special events, such as Jeep Nights on Thursday evenings during the summer. 

The Deck
1601 Beach St., Muskegon

Located in Muskegon, The Deck is really the granddaddy of patios. It’s incredibly spacious with decks that wrap around the restaurant and sprawl out toward the shores of Lake Michigan. The upper deck is full service for food and beverages, while the lower deck is self-serve. There are swings, games, and volleyball, as well as live music at select times. What’s not to love?

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 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.

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.

The Unicorn Tavern
415 S. Beechtree St., Grand Haven

Unicorn Tavern took an empty building that had been under construction for some time and turned it into a fun, vivid restaurant full of creativity. That includes the patio outside, which gives plenty of shade while still letting you enjoy your meal outside in the summer weather after a day at the beach. 

Noto’s at the Bil-Mar
1223 S. Harbor Dr., Grand Haven

With the distinct advantage of being directly—and we mean directly—on the beach in Grand Haven, Noto’s has a gorgeous ground-floor patio that extends right out into the sand, so you can continue your beach day even while eating dinner and sipping a cocktail. Or, if you’re one of those people who hates sand, feel free to sit in the paved patio area, or even the upper deck. Either way, you’ll have a front-row seat to the sights and sounds of Lake Michigan.

Cottage Bar 
18 La Grave Ave. SE, Grand Rapids

About as polar opposite as you can get from The Deck, the Cottage Bar patio is a small, urban space tucked away in the alley next to the restaurant itself. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in intimacy and vintage charm. Grab one of the best burgers in GR and chill out in this casual, old-school spot. 

Farmhaus Cider Co.
5025 Stanton St., Hudsonville

This is definitely one of those hidden gems, as it is, in fact, a little hidden. But, once you get around the bend, it opens up into sizeable grounds with communal-style picnic tables and pockets of smaller seating all around. The perfect setting for sipping on craft ciders! They don’t serve food directly, but they have a rotating selection of local food truck on most days. 

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.