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10 patios in cottage country you need to visit

Restaurant patio on the water Photo by Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

Patios are open in Ontario, and just in time for warm weather. There are great spots all over the province to head to for a drink to unwind after a long day of working from the cottage, or to enjoy the lake views on a long weekend. Here are some of our favourite restaurants and bar patios in cottage country.

If you have a favourite patio we missed, we’d love to know about it. Send an email to edit@cottagelife.com.

(Note: COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions are subject to change. Make sure to check with the farm you’re planning to visit to see their most up-to-date information.)

Hippo’s in Dunnville

You can’t get much closer to Lake Erie than Hippo’s patio, which is literally on the water’s edge. (It’s a working marina as well as a popular restaurant, so maybe that’s not surprising.) Indulge in perch fresh from the lake—pick a traditional perch dinner with fries and coleslaw, or branch out a little and try the perch tacos or perch on a bun. Not a fish fan? There’s always chicken, as well as a nice blue cheese and apple salad.

Hoover’s Marina in Nanticoke

A gorgeous, low-key hidden gem on Lake Erie, Hoover’s Marina has a lovely roof lakeside patio—and, if you happen to be out and about early, they serve breakfast. Of course, they serve Lake Erie perch and pickerel, both as a meal and on a bun, but they’ve got a nice selection of other non-fish favourites as well, including burgers, wraps and wings.  

Crowsnest Pub in Tobermory

Affectionately called the “Pub in the Tub,” the Crowsnest’s rooftop patio, overlooking Little Tub Harbour, is a Tobermory stalwart. They have a great selection of craft beers on draft and generous portions of standard pub fare, as well as a couple of interesting surprises: a Debreziner sausage plate with sauerkraut and fries, and fish and chips made with delicate whitefish. In regular times, they’ve also got a rollicking lineup of live music all season.

McKeck’s in Haliburton

Located in the heart of Haliburton, McKeck’s rooftop patio offers a nice view of Head Lake. Originally opened in 1986 by Toronto Maple Leaf Walt McKechnie, this cottage country patio offers local craft brews and some imaginative cocktails—and, of course, a menu of pubby treats, pizza and hearty dinner selections.

On the Docks in Huntsville

On the Docks may look like your standard busy Muskoka waterfront pub (and in regular times, they are definitely busy), but their menu is full of fresh entrees and apps that, for the most part, avoid the deep fryer rut that so many pubs fall into. Their draught list—the largest in Huntsville—features old favourites like Alexander Keiths and Guinness, but also includes local brews from Lake of Bays Brewing Company and Muskoka Brewery. The best thing? The view. It’s right over the water that connects Hunters Bay and Fairy Lake.

Riverwalk Restaurant in Bracebridge

For an upscale patio experience, try Riverwalk in Bracebridge. Set over the Bracebridge Falls on the Muskoka River, Riverwalk’s two-level patio is a nice spot for a special lunch or dinner. The seasonal menu at Riverwalk emphasizes local ingredients including honey, cranberries, and potatoes, and includes mouth-watering dishes like house-made wild mushroom pate, crackling skin chicken, and steamed beef dumplings. 

The Whistling Duck in Brighton

Overlooking Presqu’Île Bay, the Whistling Duck (formerly called Dougalls on the Bay) has a large patio and offers four courtesy slips for boats, plus bike storage for those who are exploring the region by wheel. The name of this cottage patio has a long and interesting history behind it—so when you’re there, ask about the HMS Speedy and what it has to do with Whistling Duck.

Mex and Co in Perth

Mex and Co’s colourful two-level patio overlooks the Tay River in historic downtown Perth. If you’re in a Mexican mood, you’ve found the right spot: the menu includes Mexican classics like tacos, fajitas, and burritos, as well as a variety of Mexican-inspired poutines to snack on. Check out their fish Fry-day—on Fridays, naturally. 

Walker House in Southampton

One of the first structures in the town of Southampton, Walker House has been providing hospitality for more than 150 years—plenty of time to perfect their restaurant game. A casual-elegant venue, this cottage patio is surrounded by trees, an oasis that appears on pretty much every list of nice patios in the area. With Lake Huron whitefish and fresh pickerel among the extensive offerings, Walker House’s menu is varied enough for anyone.    

Sola’s Grill in Sauble Beach

A classic beach patio, Sola’s offers great pub fare and spectacular views of the always-dramatic Sauble sunsets. Enjoy a cold beer and, according to reviews, the best pizzas in Sauble while you people-watch the beachgoers enjoying the sun and sand. And if you’re still hungry after pizza? Duck across the street to the Crowd Inn and grab a funnel cake for dessert. 

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