The true pinnacle of a Saskatchewan summer boils down to a single activity: patio-hopping. There is no activity that says summertime quite as succinctly as happily bouncing around from venue to venue, reasonably buzzed, in pursuit of new friends, cold beer and a seat where the sun isn’t shining directly in your eyes.
To assist you in your quest for the perfect summer afternoon, here is a list compiling the best patio haunts that Saskatoon has to offer.
First up is the Irish favourite, O’Shea’s Pub. It has perhaps the nicest all around patio in Saskatoon. In spite of a rather gloomy interior, O’Shea’s patio features a nice view, an open, modern layout and great company. The upper floor tends to be filled with college students and has a laid-back vibe that makes it perfect for hanging out with friends.
Next on the list is another downtown classic, Hudsons. Although it is part of a chain restaurant and bar, Hudsons Canadian Tap House holds a special place in the hearts of many students. Seemingly immune to popular trends, Hudsons is frequently packed to capacity and often has a respectable line outside. Last year, Hudsons expanded and renovated their patio to include bench-style seating, allowing for easy and widespread socializing. Hudsons has been and will remain a staple for Saskatoon’s college crowd.
Speaking of chain restaurants, Earls also has an exquisite patio. It offers a unique style, even from other establishments of the same name. The Earls patio, despite being in the centre of downtown, is generally quite peaceful and features huge amounts of greenery, which is a beautiful addition to an already beautiful patio. Particularly, Earls has a certain aged feel to it, because it was built in what was once an early-1900s bread factory. This feeling is frequently lost in bars that undergo continual renovations. It really makes Earls stand out in a crowded bar scene.
Broadway’s own Yard and Flagon is frequently referenced as having one of Saskatoon’s finest patios. Historically, it has lived up to its reputation. The Yard features lovely staff, a modern feel and a quiet atmosphere. The Yard is also noted for its exceptional food and has a great location in the centre of Broadway. This makes it the ideal place for an impromptu walking pub crawl. Make sure to arrive at a reasonable time, as there is limited seating. You will surely enjoy it!
The Canadian Brewhouse is a frequent choice for both University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic students alike, and it features a large, modern patio. Additionally, the Brewhouse is a popular location for various pre-parties, whether it is for a concert or just an average Longbranch Thursday. This makes it an ideal location for socializing with people outside of your normal circles.
Finally, there is always Louis’ Pub. Louis’, above all, holds a special place in the hearts and minds of U of S students. While the Loft has great natural lighting, the Pub basement features an excellent restaurant and a stellar patio. It’s the first place to go to relax after a round of difficult finals. Louis’ will forever be a central feature of university drinking.
While a good patio is never a bad thing, ultimately, it’s not the venue that makes for a good time. Sunshine and liquor are certainly important, but it’s the company that makes memories. Call your old friends or make some new ones, and any patio can be the highlight of your summer, whether it’s on a beachfront or in a back yard. We’ll most likely see you out there. Cheers!
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff