Another long, sweltering hot summer in the Lou is making us desperate for autumn’s cool embrace.
The scenery of this season and the flavors of fall are well worth the wait! St. Louis’ weather is by all means unpredictable, as we still crank up the AC for that occasional 90 degree October day. Yet, it won’t be long before Mother Nature has us all donning denim jackets or infinity scarves and clutching our cups of pumpkin spice. Autumn is St. Louis’ sweet spot for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. And there’s no better place to enjoy all of fall’s cozy comforts than a classic patio setting, with drinks in hand, hearty food on the table and good conversation all around.
We’ve compiled our top 5 picks for the best patios around St. Louis where you and your family can kick-back and catch up. So what criteria helped us choose these topnotch treasures? We’ve broken it down into three categories:
1. Variety on the menu (especially for the kiddos)
2. Prices that won’t break your budget
3. Activities available in the surrounding area
With those factors as guarantees, these are the patios that made the final cut. In no particular order (except to entice) and without further ado, here are our finalists:
1. Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
It’s comfortable and casual. You’re perched just above Manchester Road as passersby peruse the endless shops all located within walking distance, like CQ Custom Designs or Bag Lady Handbag Boutique. Another perk? None of the food on the menu is priced over $15 (we checked).
2. Milo’s Tavern and Bocce Garden
If the words, “Bocce Ball” sound like an unfamiliar concept, you’re either not Italian or you’ve never been to Milo’s on the Hill. The outdoor patio can accommodate everyone from a tight knit family to a privately hosted party with no problem. There are open times to play Bocce Ball on the court every day of the week except Sunday and the menu is Italian with a classic take on St. Louis-style pizza, wings and toasted ravs.
Walk around after your meal and really take in the heart of the Hill. Mom & Pop grocery shops, endless pizza and pasta joints and even Gaslight Lounge recording studios are nearby for an immersive cultural experience blending our city’s favorite flavors with the families who have famously staked this area as their own.
3. Schlafly Bottleworks
Schlafly’s Maplewood location is like perfection to those craft beer connoisseurs out there. They’ve been brewing in the Lou for 25 years and support the local scene by hosting live music and other community events. And if you’re not totally over pumpkin flavored everything, we recommend the Pumpkin Ale to satisfy your craving.
Take a seat and the outdoor setting will feel familiar to you, like a family reunion, just with your nearest neighbors. A quick glance at the menu reveals a mix of German culture with American favorites, like the Pork Schnitzel or pretzel sticks. The entrees are pricier than what we’ve seen so far, but the snacks are half that price and you can still eat your fill!
The views in Forest Park never seem to get old, but Boathouse is in a particularly prime setting, overlooking the Post-Dispatch Lake where paddleboats drift lazily by in the late afternoon sun. Not only is it kid-friendly with its proximity to the water and lakeside bar pop-up taco shop, it’s also dog friendly so you don’t have to leave your pooch behind! Boathouse also has a variety of goods on the menu. Whether you fancy seafood or salad, they’ve got you covered.
And after you eat, pick any direction in Forest Park, start walking, and see where the trails take you! Even if you’re a St. Louis native, we can’t emphasize enough times how many free things there are in Forest Park: the St. Louis Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, Jewel Box and more.
5. Billy G’s
Step away from the immediate hustle and bustle of the city for quiet and cozy downtown Kirkwood! Billy G’s across from the train station and adjacent to an old-fashioned candy store, prides itself on being one of the most vibrant Kirkwood scenes. The patio is modern with a rooftop herb and tomato garden, yet still feels inviting with the soft glow of stringing lights and red umbrellas cracked open for that serene shady spot. They feature plenty of local brews and will make accommodations for any dietary restrictions you may have. We can tell they’re big foodies; each chef-inspired dish is created to please any palette.
After your meal, swing by the local Kaldi’s for freshly brewed coffee or pick up some funky dessert at Strange Donuts, as long as they aren’t sold out.