After months of being confined to our homes as much as possible, many of us are eager to get out and experience a taste of normalcy again. For those who are comfortable, outdoor dining at our favorite restaurants provides just enough of that normalcy, while also responsibly practicing social distancing and enjoying our beautiful Wisconsin summers. Here are a few of the most beloved restaurant patios in the Madison area.
1. Eno Vino – Downtown Eno Vino’s downtown location offers arguably one of the best views of the Wisconsin capitol building, and a spot on their outdoor patio provides views of downtown Madison’s hustle and bustle bookended by views of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.
2. The Great Dane – Downtown Surrounded by ivy-colored walls and charming upper-level apartment windows, the Great Dane courtyard will make you feel like you’re in a European garden – not to mention The Great Dane’s original beers and highly-favored menu.
3. Vintage Brewing – Sauk City Vintage is a favorite all across the Madison area, but the Sauk City location offers an especially summer-friendly atmosphere with its rooftop patio and dog-friendly beer garden overlooking the Wisconsin River!
4. Camp Trippalindee – Madison If the name didn’t give it away, this downtown restaurant is camp-themed and sits atop the Graduate Madison hotel, complete with campfire kits, fire pits and Capri Sun-like pouch drinks made just for adults. J
5. Café Hollander – Madison In the heart of the Hilldale Shopping Center on Madison’s near west side sits Café Hollander, a gorgeous restaurant with convertible walls and an upper level patio, and delicious food to boot.
6. The Lone Girl – Waunakee With a full lineup of original cocktails and seasonal beers, plus a charming and relaxing rooftop patio with a fire pit and live music, this will be your go-to spot all summer long.
7. Buck & Honey’s – Monona Buck & Honey’s in Monona is your perfect summertime spot. Its gourmet food menu and wide selection of drinks are enough to draw you in, but what will keep you coming back is the location overlooking the Yahara River and nestled right by Grand Crossing Park.
8. Bear & Bottle – Madison This cozy restaurant features an ever-changing worldy menu and a great selection of craft beer, wine and cocktails, plus a relaxing patio with views of Madison’s bustling north side!
9. Waypoint Public House – Monona Take in gorgeous views from the waterfront patio at Waypoint Public House, and enjoy gourmet menu items, craft beer, cocktails and wine!
10. Wisconsin Brewing Company – Verona With dogs welcome in the Tap Room and Backyard Patio, it’s a no-brainer to check out the Wisconsin Brewing Company. Choose from one of their twelve beers served every day, and enjoy food from their menu or bring your own food for a picnic-style meal!
11. Full Mile Beer Co – Sun Prairie The atmosphere of Full Mile Beer Co just screams “fun”, both indoors and outdoors. But, the patio is the perfect setting for local beer, their expansive menu, and views of beautiful Sun Prairie!
12. Paisans – Madison This Madison staple is a favorite for Italian food, and it features a private patio with a view of Lake Monona – the perfect accompaniment to your pasta and wine.
13. Quivey’s Grove – Fitchburg While indoor dining at Quivey’s Grove is perfect year-round (have you seen those historic buildings?), the outdoor dining experience puts you in a picture-perfect country garden setting. Add in their expansive and locally-sourced menu, and you’ve got an amazing summer evening.
14. Nau-Ti-Gal – Madison This waterfront restaurant on Madison’s north side will put you right in vacation mode with its nautical theme and seafood entrees. Forget Lake Mendota/Yahara River – you’re right on the Atlantic Ocean!
15. Porta Bella – Madison Perfect for a romantic night out, the Porta Bella courtyard is nestled just off of State Street and provides a quiet and intimate atmosphere which is the perfect pair for a delicious lasagna and glass of pinot noir.
Madison is home to gorgeous views and amazing restaurants everywhere you look – surely we missed some of the area’s best outdoor dining! Name your favorites in the comments below.