Have you ever talked with a non-Michigander and gotten “the look” when you describe how (beyond) amazing our summers are? It’s as if they think just because we get snow six (okay, sometimes seven) months out of the year that the temperature never reaches a degree past 50. Pshhh!
One of my very favorite things to do when Michigan summers are in full swing is to indulge in some outdoor drinking and dining. When the sun is shining and my shades are on with a breeze blowing and music playing, you will find me sipping on a local craft beer and soaking up all of the surrounding goodness. Over the last few years, the restaurants that reside in downtown Kalamazoo have done a fabulous job of adding outdoor seating. Here are some of my favorites, there’s one for everyone!
A serene and private perch.
Best known for their Spinach Feta Burger and Margaritas, Cosmo’s has a quaint and inviting balcony on the edge of downtown. The outdoor space doesn’t fit more than 20 people and it feels like you are in a little tree house. It’s a great place to go to catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or for date night. Plus, once you’re ready to get the party started, you can head right downstairs to O’Duffy’s for some music, beer, and Irish roots.
In the center of the action.
Part of the Millennium Restaurant Group, Wine Loft is right in the center of the downtown Kalamazoo where the action takes place. Their outdoor seating is just feet away from East Michigan Avenue, so it’s best for people watchers and those who want to socialize throughout the night. You should definitely try their wine (and wine flights), but don’t hesitate to order some food too, it’s just as tasty as the vino.
Backyard barbeques are the best, right? Relazing afternoons, yard games, catchy music, good friends, and good food make for best of the summer. Welcome to Arcadia, a backyard barbeque situated right on the river! Their high top tables, made out of reclaimed barn wood, are complimented with corn hole, a riverside kayak launch, and wide open grassy area to unwind. Plus, their huge garage door windows retract up to make the entire building feel like an outdoor venue.
P.S. You must try the mac n’ cheese!
On top of the world.
This place has the best and farthest seeking view in town! When the weather is just right, the evening chill is refreshing from this height and there are plenty of comfy cozy seating options to make yourself right at home. It’s a great spot to grab a bite and drink with a group of friends before heading down to District Square to get your dance on.
Kid and beer friendly.
On a Friday after work, you can find many families hanging out at Bell’s Beer Garden. Parents can grab a picnic table and chat over a beer while the kids frolic around the garden and entertain themselves. Plus, have you tried Bell’s food? It’s stepping up the bar food standards.
Go ahead, head to downtown Kalamazoo, pick your vibe and soak up that beautiful Michigan summer in outdoor seating – enjoy!