Thursday, August 22, 2013

[HOT LIST] Best new patios

Red Crown.

Another summer, another slew of "best patio" lists. I'll let you in on a little secret: these lists don't change much year to year. The Rattlesnake keeps being located on the Detroit River and the Whitney keeps having a garden and the Old Miami keeps having a big-ass lawn with a koi pond.

But this year, things have changed. New places have opened. A LOT of new places. And these places have built patios. Really nice patios. So instead of the same old reminder that the Rattlesnake's patio has a nice view of the Detroit River (and it does! so very nice!), here's a look at the best new patios to pop up just this year (and some as recently as last week).

SIDEBAR: It seems that Corktown is becoming PATIOTOWN.

El Barzon.
#1 El Barzon Southwest Detroit
For years you've loved the food and merely accepted the ambiance, but their new enclosed patio is a thing of real beauty. If you haven't been over there recently, it's time you went back.

#2 Red Crown Grosse Pointe Park
The Grosse Pointes are becoming quite the hotbed of new restaurant activity, with a second location of Luxe recently opened, a new Atwater brewpub in the works, Dave Gilbert's new restaurant Marais getting ready to open, and all of restaurateur Mindy Lopus's new ventures opening this year. The first was Red Crown, a Southern BBQ and comfort food restaurant with an excellent craft cocktail program and an even better patio. Whether its for Sunday brunch or an evening of cocktails, this is a pretty happy place to be.

St. Cece's Pub.

#3 St. Cece's Pub Corktown
There are a few spots in Corktown that could be considered one of the locals' favorite hangouts (Green Dot, Astro, Sugar House), and St. Cece's is among them. Is it the farm-to-table food? The fireplace? The dog-friendliness? The quintessential local neighborhood pub feeling? Whatever the case, get ready to love it even harder with their fab bum-proof patio. You know what I mean.

Griffin Claw beer garden. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

#4 Griffin Claw Brewing Company Birmingham
I have a total beer boner for this place despite it being in Birmingham and all of the inherent Birminghamness that implies. (The latest news: Dan Rogers got to rights the Screamin' Pumpkin recipe back - originally his when he was brewing for Michigan Brewing Company - and is now brewing it under the same name at Griffin Claw. AND IT IS THE BEST.) Another thing to love about it is the three-season beer garden.

The Jefferson House. From my iPhone.

#5 The Jefferson House Downtown
The subtlely bum-proof patio at the Jefferson House - featuring a plexiglass partition just high enough to keep Detroit's vagrant population from intruding on your meal, which isn't so much an insensitive comment as something WE ALL FUCKING KNOW HAPPENS - may effectively be located on Jefferson as it becomes the Lodge Freeway service drive, but the design is comfortable and contemporary and the view of the GM Renaissance Center doesn't suck.

Pizzeria Biga Royal Oak.
Honorable mention:
Last year I ran a list of the worst patios in metro Detroit. Because I get really bored with this shit, honestly. So I ripped into Pizzeria Biga Royal Oak and it was kind of a big deal but now we've all moved past it and are friends, but they also made some serious improvements to the patio (including a covered floor and enclosed roof, blocking out a lot of the undesirable sound and preventing the tables and chairs from wobbling, my two biggest bones of contention). While the patio is not NEW new, in that it existed in a form last year, it's new in the sense of being totally redone, and certainly worth a redeeming mention. So, I take that one back. Go check out their patio.

Bubbling under Ottava Via (Corktown), Ashley's Westland (Westland), MotorCity Wine (Corktown), Green Dot Stables (Corktown), Brooklyn Street Local (Corktown) - new concrete poured this year

What did I miss? Leave it in the Facebook comments.