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Best patio dining

Friday, April 4, 2008 | 1:31 p.m. CDT; updated 1:03 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best All-Around Patio

Flat Branch Pub and Brewing

115 S. Fifth St.; 499-0400

Open for 14 years, Flat Branch is known for its in-house brewery. With more than 80 beers to choose from, the pub usually has 10-12 beers on tap at any given time.

The outdoor patio, a local favorite, gets packed when the weather gets warm. Don’t leave without trying the ‘chokes and cheese appetizer.

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; 11 to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Best Breakfast Patio

Ernie’s Cafe and Steak House

1005 E. Walnut St.; 874-7804

A diamond in the rough since 1934, Ernie’s is comfortable and feels like home. Breakfast is the way you like it without burning a hole in your pocket.

Unlimited coffee refills, homemade French toast and waffles, and vegetarian-friendly choices put this diner above the rest.

Seating is limited outside; you may want to get there early.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. daily

Best Franchise Patio

Houlihan’s

2541 Broadway Bluffs Drive; 815-7210

Even if it is a chain restaurant, you feel like you’ve landed in a big city like Chicago.

The jazzy decor inside and on the patio, happy-hour specials and a tasty menu have people coming back for seconds.

Long Island ice tea and martini flights are favorites.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

Best Rooftop Patio

The Forge and Vine

119 S. Seventh St.; 443-6743

The Forge and Vine has a peaceful atmosphere with live music, fresh-squeezed cocktails and comfortable seating.

The terrace is under the radar among places in Columbia with outdoor seating.

The Forge and Vine was the only establishment in 2007 to receive the “Beef Backer” award, which is based on recipes, menu and overall customer satisfaction.

Hours: 11 to 1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday

Best PATIO WITH A VIEW

Boone Tavern

811 E. Walnut St.; 442-5123

The outdoor patio overlooks Columbia’s Courthouse Square with seating for more than 300, a bar and a variety of tables, including one tucked into a gazebo.

Sunday’s Burger Madness, with half-price burgers and happy-hour beer pitchers from 4 to 10 p.m., drives in the crowds.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 to 1:30 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday


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