Patio season is upon us, and Banff's vibrant cafés, restaurants and pubs are gearing up to welcome the warmer weather with some epic al fresco dining—Canadian Rockies style. Think farm-to-fork food, local craft beer, creative cocktails and magical mountain views.
The bonus? Downtown's patio scene doubles in size May through September when bustling Banff Ave. transforms into a pedestrian thoroughfare, sprinkled with seasonal tented dining. From sun-drenched rooftop sips and summit sundowners to après-play pints on pop-up patios, here are the top spots to patio hop in Banff.
As its name implies, Farm & Fire is all about field-fresh fare. While the culinary concept is basic—simple, quality ingredients create the best food—the result is fresh, flavourful and deliciously unforgettable. The Elk + Avenue Hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant patio is a local après-favourite for wood-fired, family-style dishes and craft cocktails.
Order advice: Candied salmon flatbread and a glacier martini.
Holding the honour of Banff's oldest pub, the Rose & Crown is best known for its wallet-friendly daily drink specials, casual cuisine and nightly live music. The happening haven also boasts one of Banff Ave.'s best rooftop patios. Snag one of the coveted tables, and you’ll be gifted a great view of Mount Rundle.
Order advice: The colossal Caesar—a dinner-drink duo topped with pickled veggies, beef and chicken sliders, and a pork-belly-wrapped scallop.
Tacos and tequila are always on order at El Patio on Magpie & Stump's rooftop. The vibrant decor and spectacular mural featuring the feminist icon and artist Frida Kahlo bring a taste of the tropics to the quaint Canadian Rockies town. Expect a colourful Mexican fiesta, complete with margaritas, palomas, pina coladas and a wicked view of Cascade Mountain.
Order advice: Chips and guac and tequila pops—to keep you cool on those long summer days.
Pop over to Park Distillery and choose a spot on one of two outdoor patios. The Banff-based spirit producer distills all the small-batch vodka, gin, whisky, and rye used in its restaurant's inventive cocktail lineup. Kick-back on the street-level patio, flowing onto Banff Ave, or head upstairs to the sunny rooftop for a mountain-view table.
Order advice: A Sawback, Park's most popular cocktail, and the wild game bannock.
Grilled steaks and Tony Roma's world-famous smoky-sweet ribs are available street-side at the restaurant's patio on Banff Ave. The Mount Royal Hotel's lobby-level eatery boasts a relaxed vibe and hearty comfort dishes, served outside during Banff's warmer months.
Order advice: The ribs, of course. Go for the slow-cooked brisket sandwich and splurge on the platinum Romarita, made with Patron Silver tequila and Grand Marnier.
Banff Gondola elevates outdoor dining with its next-level Peak Patio. The culinary journey begins with a sky-high scenic ride to the Sulphur Summit. Then it's all about the show-stopping view and—if you time it right—Banff's legendary sunset.
Order advice: Gochujang marinated pork shoulder and fried rice, paired with a glass of Pursuit Rocky Mountain Rosé.
Feeling hungry and craving a cocktail? Start planning your trip to Banff and remember to pack all the patio essentials: sunscreen, sunglasses and a light jacket—it's the Canadian Rockies, after all.