Dine in the breeze with these new restaurant patios, terraces and rooftop perches
During the months Michigan weather is not too cold or hot to chill outside, area bar and restaurant patios are popular hangouts.
Guests love to enjoy happy hour al fresco, or dine with a sunny breeze and restaurants, cafes and bars are always trying to improve their patio game. Most notably, Detroit and Royal Oak scored two new rooftop terraces this year with the debut of the Monarch Club and Pinky's, respectively. Both of those, along with spacious deck at Como's Restaurant at Nine Mile and Woodward, are sure to be in-demand seats this season.
Here's the skinny on some of the newly-minted outdoor bar and restaurant spaces to watch for now as we (finally!) enter the warmer months.
Lucky Detroit Coffee & Espresso: Sip Michigan-roasted coffee in this gorgeous space above a barbershop in Corktown. New this season, an open-air patio starts on the second level near the coffee shop and winds down to the street level. Live music is planned for later this season. 2000 Michigan, Second Floor, Detroit. luckydetroit.com.
Empire Kitchen & Cocktails: Located on the ground floor of the Scott apartment building, this restaurant serves American cuisine and craft cocktails. When it opened last May it already had an open air section with garage-style doors, and this year they've added a second patio along Erskine street. 3148 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 315-3131 or empirekitchenandcocktails.com.
Fort Street Galley and Maru: Both located in the Federal Reserve Building at Fort and Shelby, FSG food hall and sushi restaurant Maru share a sunny plaza that sets back just a bit from the Fort street-facing sidewalk. 160 W. Fort, Detroit. (313) 230-0855 or fortstreetgalley.org. (313) 315-3100 or marusushi.com.
Monarch Club: Easily the most talked-about downtown outdoor space in some time, this rooftop bar and lounge is at the top of the 14-story, completely restored Metropolitan Building. There are four terraces with a variety of seating and even some fire pits. The stunning bar serves a small plates menu created by chef Jared Bobkin. 33 John R, Detroit. (313) 306-2400 or monarchclubdetroit.com.
Como's Restaurant: Moving into the suburbs, the highly-anticipated total renovation and return of this longstanding neighborhood pizza joint also means the return of its fun open air patio at the corner of Nine Mile and Woodward. Como's patio is likely to be one of the most sought-after spots for dining this summer. Besides Detroit-style deep dish pizza, the restaurant has a large selection of vegan and gluten-free fare. Expect a full house and party vibe every day or night so long as the weather is agreeable. 22812 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 677-4439 or comosrestaurant.com.
Bobcat Bonnie's Ferndale: The third link in this fun, casual local chain of restaurants, Bobcat Bonnie's has revamped the parking lot-facing patio with new, bright pink picnic tables and a geometric green mural. The fence has been lowered, too, so you can see and be seen while munching loaded tater tots and gourmet burgers. 240 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 677-0158.
Pinky's Rooftop: Formerly Red Fox English Pub, this rooftop patio oversees downtown Royal Oak. The decor has a vintage touch and includes a ton of greenery. The outdoor area seats 44 and a second all-weather patio has room for about another two dozen. The menu is shareable small plates, seafood and fun cocktails like the ice pop, a glass of brut rosé or prosecco with a boozy popsicle stuck in it. Brunch in the sun on weekends with carrot cake French toast or a short rib omelet. 100 S. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 291-6506 or pinkysroyaloak.com.
Mr. B's: While the sidewalk patio isn't new here, it has been re-purposed for the 2019 season and renamed Nitro Cafe. Here, guests can get the same gastropub-style menu that's served inside, but also nitro-frozen cocktails that involve dramatic presentation. 215 S. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 399-0017 or mrbspub.com.
Zao Jun: From the chef and owners behind applauded restaurant Adachi in Birmingham, this casual Pan-Asian restaurant opened just last month in a strip mall in Bloomfield Township. Chef Lloyd Roberts pulls influence from his decades of travel to create a menu that is expansive and interesting with everything from sushi to bao buns to almond boneless chicken. Sit in front of the restaurant in an all-season nook that has garage doors that roll up when the weather is nice. Inside there's also an artful dining room, sushi area seating or belly up to the bar. 6608 Telegraph, Bloomfield Township. (248) 949-9999 or zaojunnewasian.com.
What about my dog?
Many new and established restaurant are advertising that it's OK to bring your pooch to a restaurant so long as the patio has an outside entrance. This is more of a "ask forgiveness, not permission" tactic.
Wayne County Department of Public Services confirms that without a variance from the local health department, non-service animals are not allowed anywhere food is served. (And no businesses, at least in Wayne County, have applied for such variances.)
Transgression of this rule are handled like any other violation of the food laws, which is a progressive enforcement procedure.