7 under-the-radar patios you've probably never tried in Vancouver

May 15 2019, 11:55 pm

The only thing trumping brunch on the frenzy scale in Vancouver is patio season — and for good reason.

The memory of winter flurries and grey skies may be fading, but we Vancouverites are still starved for vitamin D. Getting out onto patios when it’s sunny is as important to our health as the Sun Run or the Grouse Grind (or getting your start-of-season sangria fix — no judgment here).

Vancouver is expanding every season with new patio offerings, but while lists are popping up on the daily with new recommendations, we’ve got a secret for you — actually, we’ve got seven. Here are some of the city’s most unique patios that have stayed (for the most part) off the public radar.

Cliff House Restaurant


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Despite Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s popularity, most people forget that the attraction is also home to a restaurant with a 96-seat patio. On a cliff. In the trees. With a view of Capilano Canyon. With so much space, the Cliff House has room for all your friends. As for the seasonal menu, it’s freshly made and Ocean Wise all the way (we recommend the very local Bridge Brewing Ale–battered fish and chips). They even serve gluten-free beer! Order a flight of wine or craft beer and enjoy the peak boreal forest scenery. This is the gem that you’ll want to bring all your from-out-of-town friends to.

Bonus deal alert: The park is running a twilight discount between May 1 and September 15 that gives visitors 30% off admission after 5 pm. Additionally, an annual pass to the park is the same price as one day’s regular admission for BC residents.

Address: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Instagram: @capilanosuspensionbridge

Prospect Point


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Turn to the person next to you and see if they knew that there’s a 130-seat patio overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge. This expansive destination might be the largest patio offering in the city besides Tap & Barrel, and it’s far more secluded. There are treetops and sweeping ocean views, so every seat is killer. It’s the perfect Stanley Park dining option for lunch or catching a sunset with dinner (open 11 am to 9 pm). And even though it has a swanky location and upmarket feel, you’ll find a menu that is also reasonably priced, not to mention a daily happy hour from 5 to 8 pm.

Address: 5601 Stanley Park Drive
Instagram: @prospectpoint

Stanley’s Bar and Grill


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The sprawling lawn, old-wood forest backdrop and recently renovated yet charming restaurant make Stanley’s a positively storybook spot in the heart of Stanley Park. At the center of all this eye candy is the patio, which is the grand deck of the century-old heritage building and coveted wedding venue, Stanley Park Pavilion (established in 1911). The cuisine you’ll sample while sunbathing is decidedly “of the neighbourhood”: think West Coast seafood chowder, local carrot coconut soup and free-range grilled chicken burgers with sea salt fries. It’s the perfect tucked-away spot to stop on your walk or cycle through Stanley Park, and happy hour is a well-timed 3 to 5 pm.

Address: 610 Pipeline Road
Instagram: @stanleysbargrill

The Narrow Lounge Patio


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For anyone who’s found this aptly named speakeasy hidden in a Main Street parking lot (look for the red light past the auto garage), the patio is an equal surprise. It might actually be bigger than the narrow strip of tables and bar inside, but it has the same quirky flair for decor. The patio is completely hidden from the street. Skulls and strings of colorful patio lanterns intermingle with a religious altar (for praying to the sun gods) and encroaching vines, so the overall feel is very “secluded tiki lounge” meets “Day of the Dead.” Stop by for happy hour snacks like $2 mini hot dogs, truffle popcorn and unicorn nachos (so named by us because you can add sour cream, corn and black beans for free).

Address: Main Street & 3rd Avenue
Instagram: @narrowlounge

Darby’s Public House

A Kitsilano institution, Darby’s is an independent pub beloved by locals because it has never pretended to be something it’s not. This is a patio for everyone, where they serve up fresh, locally sourced food alongside 40 craft, import, and domestic beer taps. Speaking of tempting offerings, the second-story patio has a panoramic view of the North Shore mountains. Plus, their until-3 pm brunch features free run/antibiotic-free eggs from Rabbit River Farms alongside vegetarian and gluten-free options. How’s that for pub food?

Address: 2001 Macdonald Street
Instagram: @darbys_kits

Kingston Taphouse


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A lot of people hustle by this downtown eatery on their way to work or a Whitecaps game without even knowing that it’s one of the city’s best patios. You enter on Richards and it’s all pool hall and wood-beam ceilings, but keep going until you get to the back where the sun shines on Kingston’s courtyard oasis. Scattered palm trees and fresh breezes bring that tropical feel, while the cocktails feature very British choices like the Grey Lady (Beefeater Gin with Earl Grey tea and lemon). We also recommend the Blackberry Dark & Stormy, which swirls Lambs Dark Rum, house-made blackberry syrup and ginger beer in one tall, cold glass. Feels like summer already.

Address: 755 Richards Street
Instagram: @thekingstontap

Ouisi Bistro

Think of this as South Granville’s secret garden. Ouisi, which is a New Orleans restaurant serving a mix of Cajun and Creole cuisine, isn’t new — but its backyard patio is news to most. Head to the back of the restaurant and you’ll find a hedge-enclosed patio that feels delightfully secluded from the hubbub of Granville Street. Ouisi has fun things like crocodile meat on the menu (it tastes like chewy chicken and yes, you should try it), but also comfort food like real N’awlins jambalaya, blackened burgers and po’ boys. On the bevvy menu, you’ll find mint juleps, of course, but also a fabulously zesty Cajun Caesar.

Address: 3014 Granville Street
Instagram: @ouisibistro

Often it’s only the locals who know about the neighborhood’s best kept secret patios, probably because they stumbled upon one while walking the pooch or heard about it from a friend. But with this list, you’ve got a robust rolodex of go-to’s for every corner of the city. Keep it casual in Kits, take in the stellar views at Capilano Suspension Bridge or people watch in Stanley Park. This summer is your patio oyster.

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