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The Guide: Restaurant patios

Where to go to nosh in the sun in Columbia

April 28, 2011 | 9:01 a.m. CST

Patio season is warming up as quickly as Missouri weather. Whether you’re kicking back with friends and family, on a date with a special someone or getting back in the swing of baseball, a good time and a great meal shouldn’t be confined within walls. For those unwilling to give up that elusive sunshine, Columbia offers an array of outdoor dining hotspots that will plant you in a spring state of mind.

Best for people watching:

Campus Bar & Grill

Address: 304 S. Ninth St., Suite 100
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $5.59-7.99 for entrées
Contact: 573-817-0996
Pouring sunshine covers the deck while people free from work or class can finally lounge. The laid-back atmosphere and infamous “Dollar Burgs” drive cheap diners in by the throngs for Sunday Fundays. Kick back with a brew or cocktail from a stacked drink menu, and take a gander at the city below. Diners at Big 12, as longtime customers call it, can muse at the freshmen slugging off to class or the college students trucking back to campus at night.

Willie’s Pub & Pool/The Field House

Address: 1109 E. Broadway
When: Willie’s: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight; The Field House: Tuesday through Saturday, 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Cost: $5.99-7.99 for sandwiches; $6.99-7.99 for burgers
Contact: 573-442-5213
A prime location to spy on passersby, this street-level patio lets you critique shoppers’ fashions or observe bar-goers’ late-night commotions. (Think those waiting in line at El Rancho after drinking one too many.) Take it all in while munching on Willie’s hot wings and chugging down Boulevard pints. The mostly covered space facing Broadway is a popular Wednesday night go-to for those looking to throw down some Lincolns on penny pitcher specials.

Best hangout spot:

The Heidelberg

Address: 410 S. Ninth St.
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $7-12 for entrées
Contact: 573-449-6927
Cash in on buy-one-get-one-free appetizers during happy hour (Sorry, not on Saturday) while staring out at MU’s campus. Tasty toasted ravioli and ooey-gooey spinach-and-artichoke dip entice diners to this friendly patio, which is two-thirds covered. For those sick of the same old Bud Light routine, try throwing back a Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel, a dark wheat German beer. Good luck trying to pronounce it to the waiter, though. Pointing might be required.

44 Stone Public House

Address: 3910 Peachtree Drive
When: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $10-16 for entrées
Contact: 573-443-2726
Patios and beer go hand in hand. If you’re aching for a pint from across the pond, 44 Stone Public House features different beers and fare from the British Isles. Bottles of Hobgoblin and draughts of ESB and Belhaven Twisted Thistle drown any notion of reaching for a Miller Lite. Although 44 Stone debuted in February, the Welsh rarebit, cheesy pretzel bread topped with caramelized onion white cheddar ale sauce, is attracting attention.

Best for outdoor activities:

Deuce Pub & Pit

Address: 3700 Monterey Drive
When: Monday through Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 10:45 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 10:45 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $4.95-6.95 for appetizers, $7.45 for all sandwiches and $6-12.50 for pizzas
Contact: 573-443-4350
Springtime screams outdoor fun. Two sand volleyball courts, three washers pits and casual patio furniture add a relaxed, day-at-the-beach feel to the Deuce. If you can’t handle intense spiking on court, take it easy with a game of bocce ball. Two new courts will be open for more al fresco amusement once the weather hits perfect bocce-playing conditions. Athletes can recharge after a sand volleyball workout with a variety of fare including wings, pizza and sandwiches.

Best for sports watching:

Shiloh Bar & Grill

Address: 402 E. Broadway
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $6-20 for entrées; $5-12 for pizzas
Contact: 573-875-1800
No worries about being hit with hollering spittle from fans in the stands here. For those who want to watch the game in peace, Shiloh offers a relaxed environment to kick back with friends and enjoy a pint while cheering on a favorite team. The two plasma TVs mounted on the side of the building typically show Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals or MU games.

Bengals Bar & Grill

Address: 227 S. Sixth St.
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $6-8 for appetizers; $7-9 sandwiches
Contact: 573-875-2337
The roar of fans on game day resounds from the patio at Bengals. At this casual hangout, which holds approximately 300 people, fans can swig beer and liquor and scrutinize every play of each game. Devour 99-cent tacos from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, or sip the ever-changing drink specials — game day or no game day. Five outdoor TVs bring an at-the-game atmosphere to the patio, and misters under the tent keep it cool even when the game heats up.

Best for big crowds:

Quinton’s Bar and Deli

Address: 124 S. Ninth St.
When: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 to 1:30 a.m.
Cost: $6.50 for sandwiches
Contact: 573-815-1047
This city chic patio features multi-leveled decks. The open-air top tier captivates people with its downtown view, especially at sunset. Glass window panels and dark couches create the illusion of ultra urban living. People can snack on popular items such as baked potatoes and deli sandwiches in the sun or shade of the middle level. Schmooze and booze at the Cheshire Bar on the lowest level. This patio packs in hundreds of people on its three levels, so invite friends, friends of friends and anyone else walking by.

Boone Tavern & Restaurant

Address: 811 E. Walnut St.
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $15.95-25.95 for entrées
Contact: 573-442-5123
With two huge gazebos, avoiding that crazy uncle or aunt at large get-togethers is not only possible but also easy. However, the patio isn’t only good for wedding rehearsal dinners or grad parties. Columbians can create their own celebration at Boone Tavern’s weekly Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come clad in stretchy pants because the buffet serves breakfast favorites, fried chicken, desserts and more. The prime rib specialty requires a little splurge, but the savory selection warrants an $18.99-24.99 price tag.

Best outdoor décor:

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing

Address: 115 S. Fifth St.
When: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.
Cost: $7.49-16.99 for entrées
Contact: 573-499-0400
Surrounded by shrubbery and vines tangled in fencing, this patio creates a great escape after a busy day. Kick back and unwind with a Flat Branch brew. Beer options include regulars such as Honey Wheat and seasonal specialties such as Hefeweizen in the summer. Beers cost $4 for an 18-ounce draught or $3.25 during happy hour.


Address: 3915 S. Providence Road
When: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: $8.99-25.99 for entrées
Contact: 573-874-8009
Small vibrant flowers and tall green shrubbery create a barrier between this elegant patio and the not-so-scenic parking lot behind it. Hidden behind lush vegetation, diners can pop the cork on a bottle of wine and dig into southern European dishes. Kill time between apps and entrées with some friendly competition on the bocce ball court.

Best for a date night:

Les Bourgeois Vineyards
Address: 14020 W. Highway BB, Rocheport
When: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Blufftop Bistro: $7-11 for lunch entrées; $17-28 for dinner entrées; A-Frame,: $6 for sandwiches
Contact: 573-698-2300
Escape to the serene scene of Les Bourgeois Vineyards, which is 15 minutes west of Columbia, to partake in more sophisticated nosh. At the Blufftop Bistro, enjoy palatable wine and a picturesque view of the Missouri River. For a cold sandwich or romantic picnic, lovebirds can saunter down to the A-Frame decks. This patio offers an equally alluring view of the river for any couple who wants a secluded evening.

Mackenzie’s Prime
Address: 131 S. Tenth St.
When: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.
Cost: $15-40 for entrées
Contact: 573-673-0398
Couples can cuddle up in the corners of this downtown location’s petite patio, which holds up to 50 diners. The candlelight exudes Lady and the Tramp romance, but pushing a meatball with your nose isn’t recommended. Also, if the news calls for rain, diners need not refrain — this white tablecloth restaurant houses a completely covered and heated patio, so daters can still enjoy a romantic dining experience. The fare can be expensive, but the tantalizing seafood and steak are hard to resist.

The Wine Cellar & Bistro

Address: 505 Cherry St.
When: Lunch: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner: Monday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $8-15 for lunch entrées; $23-29 for dinner entrées
Contact: 573-442-7281
Vine-covered iron gates and wooden tables contribute to a wine-garden feel. The patio accommodates up to 30 daters who crave the bistro’s blend of classic and eclectic cuisine. The Wine Cellar & Bistro keeps more than 1,000 bottles of wine in stock, which range from $10 to $425, to provide variety for both tight and superfluous budgets. If vino isn’t your thing, try a freshly squeezed orange margarita — but take it easy on the tequila if it’s a first date.

Best for live music:


Where: 29 S. Tenth St.
When: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Cost: $2.99-7.99 for appetizers; $6.99-8.99 for sandwiches and burgers
Call: 573-443-5418
Occasionally talented but mostly off-tune bar-goers sing along while local bands play hit covers and original songs. Harpo’s rooftop Skyybar, which at max fits 175 people, packs music aficionados into booths and tables to kick back and pipe up. Never miss a beat with an additional bar up top.


Address: 2541 Broadway Bluffs Drive
When: Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Wednesday through Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.
Cost: $3-10 for small plates; $9-25 for entrées
Contact: 573-815-7210
A cool breeze, musical delicacies of local artists and one large pitcher of Houlihan’s Long Island ice teas create a blissful night. Tiny twinkling lights line the trellis on one side of the patio, and yellow umbrellas adorn the other. In past summers, a jazz quartet resonated as background music, but local bands such as Chump Change converted the patio to a party when happy hour begins. Starting around June, live music will blast once again on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Houlihan’s might not be in the heart of downtown, but the concert atmosphere justifies the drive.

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