YK Patio Season: A Guide to Eating (and Drinking) Outside

 As the last, stubborn snowdrifts wane under the May sun, it’s time for Yellowknifers to go all Mediterranean and start drinking and eating al-relatively-fresco.

And this summer promises plenty of options for those inclined to consume outdoors. Aside from the fleet of food trucks hitting the streets, there are plenty of patios for you to enjoy those few rays of sunshine we get each year. 

Last year, we were hoping for some outside action from the Black Knight, the popular downtown Scottish pub that was planning to expand outside with an eight-table patio on the sidewalk in front of its building. 

The BK patio was struggling to get approval that summer, and that struggle continues into this year. While the BK wants to move ahead with their plans, getting the government green-light is proving far more difficult than initially anticipated. According to management, the patio is currently caught up in “red tape” and as such we will not be seeing it this year. 

Here’s a look at the city’s existing wall-free options:

Twist

Twist’s raised deck patio overlooking 50th Street is fairly  small, with only ten tables, most seating two. But it gets a good blast of midday sun, and with its central downtown location, it’s a popular spot for a lunchtime beer. Throughout the summer, the patio will be open late; officially until 2:00 a.m., though it may close earlier depending on how many people are using it.

Pros: central location, decent service.

Cons: location means actual sun-on-patio time is limited, and its size makes things feel a tad smooshed.

Facebook page

Address: 4915 50th Street

Phone number: (867) 873-3753

After 8

This more reasonably-sized patio usually closes down around 11:00 p.m., so neighbors don’t have to suffer late night racket.

Pros: it’s outside, and the walls are high enough.

Cons: the walls are high enough to block out the gas station ambiance of the surroundings.

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Address: 5001 Forrest Drive

Phone number: (867) 669-9983

Boston Pizza

BP’s five-table, 20-seat patio is glassed-in, which might appeal if the wind gets nippy.

Pros: Like the entire restaurant side of this chain operation, it’s kid-friendly with a liquor license, which means that every Friday it’s a scene, full of tired, thirsty parents gratefully grabbing a brew while their kids cut a rug.

Cons: It’s basically an outdoors extension of the place’s sports-bar/supermax-jail-visiting-facility aesthetic, and, ooh, that BP service issue certainly doesn’t improve once you’re on the sidewalk.

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Address: 5102 48th Street

Phone number: (867) 920-2000

YK Golf Club

Got buddies with golf club memberships? Get them to invite you to the Yellowknife Golf Club’s large patio, The 19th Hole.

Pros: It’s a patio. It’s out of town, which is kind of nice. And either after or before a sip or a nosh, you can knock a few balls around.

Cons: Unfortunately you can’t watch people tee off, as the large wooden deck, seating about 50 people, is around the side of the clubhouse.

Website

Address: 6008 Franklin Avenue

Phone number: (867) 873-6300

Sam’s Monkey Tree

The largest patio in town, seating around 80 people.

Pros: The suburbs’ main evening gathering place is one of the more happening patios in town. And as summer softball gets underway, it’s worth heading over post-game for some pizza discounts for sports teams.

Cons: Oh, look, what a beautiful view of a suburban parking lot…

Website

Address: 483 Range Lake Road #1

Phone number: (867) 920-4914

Bullock’s Bistro

Up for whitefish and lake views? Head to Bullock’s. 

Pros: That Old Town location. And good, if pricey food.

Cons: Beware the picnic table. You can’t drink there.

Address: 3534 Weaver Drive

Phone number: (867) 873-3474

Dancing Moose Cafe

Old Town’s Dancing Moose Café went through a major patio expansion last spring. A sizeable wooden deck, seating roughly 20 people and overlooking the lake replaced the previous, slightly rickety six-seat patio. While Dancing Moose is mostly a breakfast/lunch spot, they do serve bottled beer to sip alongside your Eggs Benedict.

Pros: often superior food, genuine waterfront location.

Cons: we’re pretty upbeat about this spot.

Website

Facebook page

Address: 3505 McDonald Drive

Phone number: (867) 669-8842

NWT Brewpub

The newest and most popular patio in town is currently open for the summer. There is a new barbecue pit under construction beneath the patio. It will be primarily used by the staff, and so there will be no additional seating around it. 

Pros: Whoo-hoo! Brew-pub with a patio!

Cons: Early closing, and a growing parking problem.

Website

Address: 3905 50th Avenue

Phone number: (867) 873-2337

Wildcat Cafe

Just by virtue of location, ambiance and actual exposure to the sun, this is a contender for best patio in the city. The owner/operators of Fuego take over the spot this summer. They’ll have to screw things up monumentally to stop this from being one of the prime locations for an ice-cold beer and a burger on a sunny afternoon.

Pros: Lots of sun. Lots of character. Big tables mean you end up meeting strangers.

Cons: Can be pricey, and a bit of a tourist trap. Big tables mean you end up meeting strangers.

Website

Address: 3904 Wiley Road

Phone number: (867) 873-4004

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