You know those off-the-beaten-path garden or terrace spots, tucked off some obscure alleyway or courtyard, where you feel like you have been transported to an oasis away from the bustle of the city?
Well forget those, for the summer at least.
It is time to pull out some clutch shades and bask in the warmth of both the sunshine and the envious gazes of passersby. For every serene, tucked-away sanctuary ideal for off-season hideaways, Vancouver offers a front-and-centre, high-visibility urban patio that puts you in the heart of the action.
Some of the best patio spots for scene seekers this summer, by neighbourhood:
Financial District: It may feel hard to find soul amidst the drab grey skyscrapers of Vancouver’s main business artery, but the second location of crowd favourite Chewie’s Oyster Bar in Coal Harbour manages to inject some spirit into the surroundings with its seafood-focussed Cajun and Creole fare. Shed the charcoal blazer and roll up your sleeves after work on the Cordova-facing patio where you can feel smug as you trade boardroom boredom for bivalve-induced euphoria. 1055 West Hastings. Chewies.ca
Yaletown: Homer Street Café’s stunning patio, stretching out from the restaurant’s heritage space is a Yaletown treasure that affords visitors a prime vantage point for people watching along the neighbourhood’s busiest thoroughfare. Tuck into a signature rotisserie chicken as you enjoy a glass of crisp Sancerre, taking a sip every time a sleek Italian car drives by. Actually, better make that a bottle. 898 Homer Street. Homerstreetcafebar.com
Ambleside: West Vancouver’s dining scene has exploded in the last five years with a radical infusion of cool, from posh seafood joints to the city’s best Indian cuisine. The stretch of Marine Drive from 13th Street to 18th Street is the epicentre of the neighbourhood’s action, and Heirloom’s second location. The more casual cousin of the celebrated West 12th Avenue vegetarian eatery, it boasts a large wrap-around patio from which to drink it all in. Pair a glass of Hush – Dirty Laundry’s elegant rose – with a complex and flavour-forward harissa cauliflower steak. 1390 Marine Drive. Heirloomveg.ca
Downtown: Demonstrably the most currently awarded fine dining venue in Vancouver, Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar at the Sutton Place Hotel erupted on the scene five years ago and has been instrumental in redefining the concept of elevated West Coast cuisine. Iron Chef Canada winner Alex Chen helms a kitchen team that turns out eminently delicious fare using local ingredients with progressive techniques. Indulge in a seafood tower and A5 Japanese wagyu beef on the Burrard-facing patio located right where Google Maps drops the pin for Downtown Vancouver. 845 Burrard Street. Boulevardvancouver.ca
English Bay: Denman. Davie. Ocean. Beach. Idyllic? Yes. Locations don’t get much better than Hook Seabar, a gorgeously appointed room with a beach-facing patio. The room’s design makes it look like Hook was transported straight from the Old Port of Marseille, but the vibe is 100% West End. You may need to put your name down for a seat on the sought-after patio, but it is worth the wait. 1210 Denman Street. Hookseabar.com