Patio Season in Columbia

Bleu Patio
Summer in Columbia is about great food and being outdoors. Patios are a great way to enjoy both.

When spring rolls around, I get excited about being able to hear the hostess at my local restaurants say “Would you like to sit inside or outside?” That means it is patio season once again!

Nothing is more relaxing to me than sitting on a patio and enjoying the weather and great friends, and of course, a wonderful meal! Being somewhat new to Columbia, I have made it my job this patio season to find the best Columbia has to offer.

My first discovery was in the District, Columbia’s downtown area, at Flat Branch Pub and Brewing located on South 5th Street. The patio is absolutely gorgeous and it has this secret garden feel to it. The whole thing is surrounded by an iron fence and flowers are everywhere.

Flat Branch Pub and Brewing
Flat Branch Pub and Brewing is a local favorite.

If you get hot easily, note every table has an umbrella to help shade you. Seating on this patio is so popular you don’t even have to go inside first to be seated; they have a separate host waiting to greet you when you walk up.

To enhance your patio experience, Flat Branch has a large menu that ranges from pizzas and sandwiches and wraps to delicious entrees. Plus, it’s the first place I have ever seen someone offer a 100 percent Paleo meal.  Don’t forget it is a microbrewery. So beer fans, make sure to get yourself a pint. Ask your server if you can try a sample of the green chili beer (if it is on tap). Your taste buds will thank you.

Another patio in The District is Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar, located on Walnut Street. This patio is probably the largest I’ve seen in Columbia, yet. With different elevations and a gazebo, it seems to create a few different patios that probably make ideal event spaces.  Of course, all of the best patios have umbrellas at tables, Bleu is no exception. There is also a mini bar located on the patio next to the door to go into the restaurant. The menu has specials daily and a wine to match every meal or palette. Oh, and the Sticky Toffee Carrot Cake … WOW!

For a little bit of nightlife patio action, Quinton’s Bar and Deli is the place to go. Also in the District, on 9th Street, with three different levels of rooftop patios and three full-service bars, surrounded by glass railings, Quinton’s definitely has a big-city feel.  The view is quite nice on top where you can see most of the District.

Quinton’s Deli and Bar offers a patio with a view.

On the south side of town, I found an awesome Mexican restaurant with a view. Las Margaritas’ (10 E. Southampton Dr. Suite B) patio sits on a little lake in a shopping plaza. It is very relaxing and set up very elegantly with stringed lights and lovely decor. And the fountain in the middle of the lake is easy on the eyes. Great food and a friendly staff really add to the experience.

Sophia’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Columbia. They have a beautiful menu, but my favorite part is their desserts. You should know going in you’ll probably eat too much; just accept it and be happy you indulged on great food. The patio is just as enchanting as the food, with beautiful vines growing on the fences all around you. When you walk outside to the patio, seating is to your right, and to your left is a Bocce Ball court. I thought that was very unique and bookmarked it in my mind to come back to learn how to play.

The Deuce Pub and Pit (3700 Monterey Dr.) is another favorite because to the naked eye, it is just a normal sports pub, but the back yard is full of fun! The Deuce is home to two sand volleyball courts which host co-ed recreational leagues from spring to fall. Like Sofia’s, they have a few Bocce Ball courts. You can sit on the large patio whenever you would like and watch some volleyball or a sports game on the large flat screens the line the building’s exterior. Whatever you do, The Deuce is definitely a place to unwind with your friends.

So from the District to the south side of Columbia, there are so many places you can enjoy the weather and grab a bite to eat. The ones I’ve mentioned are just a handful of patio gems Columbia has to offer, and I can’t wait to discover others.

Sophias college
Sophia’s has an elegant patio with a bocce ball court.

While you are in The District...

While you are in The District...

… Check out some live music at The Blue Note.

… Shop at Britches.

… Enjoy dessert at Sparky’s Ice Cream Parlor.

… See a movie at Ragtag Cinema.

While you are on the south side...

While you are on the south side...

… Hike at the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park/Devil’s Icebox.

… Grab dessert at Andy’s Frozen Custard.

… Fish at the Twin Lakes Rec Area.

… Bike on the MKT Trail.

Photographs and article by Elise Eimer, content management assistant for the Missouri Division of Tourism. 

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