The runners-up in the Alberta’s Best Patio contest

What do these breathtaking patios all have in common? Hint: it's not lanterns

Iron Goat Pub and Grill

Photograph Paul Swanson

Scenery is apparently king when it comes to the perfect patio. At Iron Goat Pub and Grill in Canmore, you could strap on your hiking boots at dinner, walk out the back door and start navigating your way up the Three Sisters Mountain Range. That’s what you get when you construct a restaurant specifically for the famous mountain range view.

But it’s not only the backdrop that makes Iron Goat one of Alberta’s best patios. General manager Michael Hay says the service and unique cuisine are key features of the restaurant’s overall package.  Iron Goat lost our Best Patios contest by just a hair, and although it was a tough loss to Stone Peak, Hay takes the first runner up spot in stride. “For two small towns to be neck-and-neck, it just shows small towns do really well,” he says.

Juniper Bistro and Lounge

Photograph Paul Swanson

When a restaurant is packed with locals, you know it’s going to be good. The Juniper Bistro and Lounge in Banff has been given the stamp of approval by locals, tourists and day-trippers alike, making it one of the best patios in Alberta. “After a good hike, you’d stop by our patio and enjoy a good beer, or have a good meal for lunch,” says spokesperson Thami Khumalo. The unfussy, relaxed atmosphere caters to everyone while offering a view of the Vermilion Lakes and Tunnel, Rundle and Sulfur Mountains. “It’s the best patio in Banff, with the best views of Banff.” 

The Black Dog

Photograph Paul Swanson

As the only big-city patio that made the final four, Black Dog is the black sheep. Although it’s without a mountain range backdrop, The Black Dog has a view of its own – Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue, a people watcher’s paradise.

A narrow staircase takes you to The Black Dog’s garden-inspired “wooftop” (see what they did there?) where you’ll find long wooden benches, high-top tables, and plenty of space to casually consort on the balcony, while gripping a $3.75 Big Rock pint. And when the temperature starts to dip, as it does early in Alberta, the patio comes equipped with heat lamps, prolonging Edmonton’s cherished patio season.

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