Nothing says “summer in Ottawa” quite like cocktails and an epic sunset. We have to make the most of the season, and with an ever-growing selection of beautiful patios in the city, that’s becoming easier and easier. When it comes to choosing a patio, I’m all about the views and beautiful scenery. I’ve discovered some patios in particular that really fit this requirement – and a couple are new to the city as of this summer! Read on for my favourite Ottawa Patios for sunset views, outdoor vibes, and on the waterfront. Have you been to these patios?
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Ottawa Patios for Summer
La Terrasse – Chateau Laurier
Sunset over the Ottawa locks is a quintessential Ottawa experience. What better way to enjoy it than with a drink in hand? Overlooking the locks and the Ottawa river is La Terrasse. This patio is part of the Chateau Laurier. La Terrasse has delicious food and their own signature cocktails. Come August and the Lac Leamy Fireworks, La Terrasse has some of the best fireworks views in the city and offers a special dinner with a table d’hôte menu representing the country competing that night on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. This is where I bring friends that are visiting Ottawa, because it’s a classic landmark, great views, and cocktails all in one.
Bazille – CF Rideau Centre
Did you know that there’s a park and garden on top of Rideau Centre? This is where you’ll find Bazille, the rooftop terrace patio that is part of Nordstrom. I’ve been to Bazille a few times and always enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, and found the service to be very good. The menu varies by season, and the food is different from restaurants at other Nordstrom locations in North America because the food is locally sourced. I love a seasonal menu, there is always something new and delicious to try. The gardens on the surrounding terrace are maintained year round, to feature tulips in the spring and other flower variations all summer.
Umbrella Bar – Dow’s Lake
New to the Ottawa patios scene this summer is Umbrella Bar. I love the location – Dow’s Lake! It’s fun to have a beautiful patio that isn’t located in the downtown. The setting on Dow’s Lake is lovely and refreshing, and you can stop by after going for a walk, bike, run, or even kayak along Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal. Umbrella Bar has a chic and fun vibe, and is great for small groups or drinks with friends. They serve great snack-style foods like guacamoles and chips, or (my favourite) crab spring rolls.
La Terrasse du Festibière à Zibi
This summer pop-up on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa river keeps the fun of The Gatineau Beerfest going all summer long. It opened back on July 19 (2019) and is open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening until September 29 (2019). La Terrasse Festibière à Zibi features beers from almost 30 microbreweries, on a weekly rotation. They also serve tacos and other food, all with an incredible view of the Ottawa river.
Copper, Spirit, and Sights – Andaz Hotel
The restaurant at the top of the Andaz Hotel quickly gained recognition as one of Ottawa’s best views. It makes my list too! There’s no other public patio in the city with a view quite like that of Copper, Spirits, and Sights. This 16th story patio looks out over the Byward Market, with a view of Parliament in the distance. Go to Copper, Spirits, and Sights on a clear night and watch the sky fade from blue, to yellow, to pink over Ottawa.
Mill Street Brew Pub
Take a step outside the downtown to reach Mill Street Brew Pub, a beautiful restaurant on the Ottawa River. This location is a former grist mill, and brew beers on site that you can’t get anywhere else. The outdoor patio is surrounded by a nice line of trees, so the patio has a secluded nature feel. Add to that the sound of the Ottawa River coursing past Victoria Island, and you’ve got the perfect patio setting.
Bistro – Confederation Park
Please excuse that this isn’t rooftop, or waterfront… but there is a water fountain nearby, and this location is amazing. Completely new to the patio scene is Bistro, a quaint and concealed patio in Confederation Park. It’s operated by Moulin de Provence and serves coffees, cold drinks, beer, and all kinds of waffles. I haven’t actually tried one yet myself, but we’re talking everything from your standard, decked-out-in-fruit breakfast waffles to sandwich-style dinner waffles. One I’m really curious about is the Korean Waffle. This patio is already popular with people who work in the downtown, and it adds so much character to Confederation Park.
Tavern on the Hill – Major’s Hill Park
This beautiful patio is in Major’s Hill Park, right across the National Art Gallery of Canada. The vibe is lively and fun. The counter is walk-up, so find your seats and then go up to the counter to order your drinks. Depending on where you’re sitting, you will have an amazing view of the Parliament Buildings and the Ottawa river below. It’s a beautiful place to be at sunset.
Atari – ByWard Market
I love Atari’s rooftop patio at the intersection of Dalhousie and Clarence Street. That might not sound like the most amazing view as it’s inner city, but it’s surprisingly nice and the rooftop is done up with cute, colourful patio furniture that adds to the great summer vibe. They’ve got a really fun line up of cocktails, from the Bloody Cléopâtra to the Kentucky Kirby. And, as you may have heard, Tuesday night is ladies night!
Aulde Dubliner & Pour House – ByWard Market
The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House is an Ottawa patio that goes from good to great in the summer, mostly because of the flowers. I love it especially because it’s so adequate for a pub with the name “Dubliner.” Dublin pubs are renowned for being covered in flowers so this place reminds me of being in Ireland! While not exactly a rooftop, there is a second story and from that upper level of patio you will have a little slice of patio heaven all to yourself. The flower baskets make this pub feel private, even though it’s technically in a busy area.
Permission obtained from Biotyfulltraveller to use this image.
Les Brasseurs du Temps – Gatineau
This one is technically in Gatineau, but it made the list because it’s very easy to get to from Ottawa. Les Brasseurs du Temps (known as BDT) is on the Gatineau River, with a beautiful waterfront patio for summer. If you love beer, this is the place for you. Order “the clock” to try 12 x 3 ounce servings of all different beers from their own brewery. There’s even a museum underneath the restaurant that goes through the history of beer in Quebec. It’s not small either – the museum is a few stories under and includes photos, artifacts, working equipment, and behind the scenes of beer being made. It was super unexpected and I loved it!
Tavern on the Falls – Rideau Falls
The other tavern in town is Tavern on the Falls, known for it’s location alongside the Rideau Falls. This one is just slightly outside the downtown, towards Rideau Hall. While you can’t see the falls themselves from most seats, you do have an amazing view of the Ottawa river. That bit of ways outside the downtown too also means there’s a nice breeze and a fresh air feeling here, perfect for unwinding after a day at work.