ST. LOUIS — With the summer season here and record-breaking gas prices, some diners might be looking for options that will make you feel like you’ve left St. Louis without the mileage.
We gathered up a list of some of the area’s patios that will transport you to a different state of mind without the long journey.
Broadway Oyster Bar – Downtown St. Louis
Step through the front door of Broadway Oyster Bar, and we’re talking immediate teleportation to New Orleans. The dim lighting and Cajun menu bring you all the charm of a Bourbon Street haunt, and that vibe continues onto their patio with live music seven nights a week. Built in the 1840s, their building now has two outdoor patios. Enclosed and heated during the winter, the space opens when the temperatures rise.
Address: 736 S. Broadway Street, St. Louis, MO 63102
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. – 3 a.m. Kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday
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The Golden Hoosier – South St. Louis
This South Kingshighway restaurant feels a little like a fancy mountain cabin inside with taxidermy kitschy portraits of folks like Dolly Parton. But step outside and The Golden Hoosier's back patio will bring back all your best summer camp memories. Wooden décor and hand painted signs make you feel like Smokey the Bear might be behind the bar at any moment. The menu gussies up the backyard burger with toppings like garlic cream cheese and bacon on the Alpine burger and blackberry compote and feta on the Chuck Berry.
Address: 3707 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63109
Hours: Open 4–11 p.m. Monday–Thursday; 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday
Edera – Central West End, St. Louis
When Scape closed in the Central West End a couple years ago, it took one of the best secluded patios with it. Edera brought the patio back with an Italian menu with nightly gelato offerings. The menu is small but Yelp readers hype the pizza and appetizers.
Address: 48 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63108
Hours: 5-9 p.m. Monday–Thursday; closes at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
Defiance Ridge Vineyard – Defiance, MO
There’s a reason the venue hosts about 80 weddings every summer on their rolling hills. The patio overlooking Defiance Ridge’s vineyard will make you feel like you’re raising a glass in California. Like any tasting room, the winery offers wine and mimosa flights with souvenir glasses. Find a favorite and you can buy their wine on-site to take home. The kitchen’s lunch menu features about a dozen craft sandwiches with dinner entrees topping out at $25.
Address: 2711 S. Missouri 94, Defiance, MO 63341
Hours: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily with a later 9 p.m. close on Thursdays
Aerie’s Resort – Grafton, IL
The Grafton destination claims their property has “The Best View in the Midwest,” and it’s the only location that can actually transport you with a $10 daily unlimited Skytour. Riders can choose between an open-chair ski lift-style double seat or an enclosed gondola cabin up to the hilltop restaurant that might remind some visitors of a small town mountain town along the East Coast. Aerie’s has breathtaking views, a 30-foot bar, and a wide deck while you try some of the wines they make locally. The menu includes a charcuterie board for grazing and flatbread pizza, sandwiches and salads for larger meals.
Address: Catch the Skytour at 3 W. Clinton, Grafton, IL 62037. The hilltop resort is in the 600 block of Timber Ridge Road.
Hours: Skytour rides start daily at 11:45 a.m.; The Winery at Aerie's Resort opens at noon daily and closes at 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
Ethyl’s Smokehouse and Saloon – O’Fallon, MO
A food establishment of some sort or another since 1926, Ethyl’s smokehouse could easily fit in with any Gulf Coast beach town. The menu covers all the staples of a Southern smokehouse with sand volleyball courts out back to leave a little sun on your skin and sand between your toes.
Address: 8505 Veterans Memorial Pkwy, O'Fallon, MO 63366
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday with a midnight closing time on Sunday
Have any more ideas? Contact reporter Sara Machi at firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on Facebook and Twitter.