Fantastic al fresco Finds

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By Sean Becker | Photography by Emily Brashier

After a few tantalizingly warm late-winter days, spring will descend upon the city in earnest soon. Spring weather means one thing for metro revelers—party on the patio! Here are three picks for al fresco fun in the sun (or shade).

The Patriarch

Remember that time in high school when your parents went out of town and you had the house all to yourself? No? There’s probably a reason for that. Maybe your parents never left you alone for the weekend. Or maybe they did and you threw such a crazy party that you have absolutely no recollection of what happened.

We’ve heard about these things, but our parents warned us about kids like you. So we told them we were going to the movies and showed up at your house anyway. If you want to recreate those magic, delinquent moments from your youth (or imagine what it would have been like to host an unauthorized and likely illegal house party with no adult supervision), we have the place for you.

The Patriarch in Edmond is a house party waiting to happen six days a week. That’s because…it’s a house. “The house was lived in from 1903 until 2015,” explains General Manager Brad Mullenix. Unlike certain wayward teens, Mullenix was straightforward with his intent upon acquiring the property. “When we purchased it from the last owner, we explained what we wanted to do.” Having received the seller’s blessing, Mullenix had to get the property rezoned for legal partying.

With all the city hurdles cleared, this party was cleared for takeoff. The Patriarch is a craft beer mecca, with 48 taps pouring smaller batch brews of all stripes. More than half are in-state offerings. A handful of wines are always available by the glass or bottle. Designated drivers will appreciate craft sodas courtesy of the local Rocket Fizz franchisee down the street.

A rotating cast of food trucks provide sustenance, and live music in the huge backyard (300+ capacity) draws crowds on weekends from March through the end of summer. Leave the kids at home when you come. The Patriarch is for patrons 21 and over. We won’t tell your parents.

Fat Dog Kitchen & Bar

Remember that time you went out for a drink after work and left the dog at home? Yeah, that doesn’t always end well. Fortunately for you, Fido and your flooring, you can partake with your pooch at any number of places around town. The folks at Fat Dog felt your pain. “The owner always wanted to open a place where you could eat and drink and hang out with your pooch,” says manager Ace Hare.

Check, check and check again. Fat Dog is fabulous and ridiculously reasonable. Only water is on tap, but a kennel full of craft beers in cans and bottles give you plenty of brews from which to choose. And there’s a full bar if you’re in the mood for something with a little more kick. Salty dog, anyone? Regal beagle? Shall we go on?

The menu features classic pub fare, some comfort foods and general crowd-pleasers with a twist. That twist is it’s really good and generously priced—everything is $10 or less. The patio is plenty big with a capacity for well over 100 patrons and pups. Check this one out, and we guarantee it will be a new favorite spot for you and Spot.

16th Street Plaza District

For all its charms, Oklahoma City can be downright charmless. As a sunbelt city hitting its stride after the baby boom, OKC fell in line with countless other mid-size metro areas. Strip malls, suburban shopping centers and cookie-cutter housing developments ripped the charm out of many an urban core. This is by no means an indictment of our fair capital. This kind of thing just seemed to happen almost everywhere over the past 50 years.

Now Oklahomans and others are coming to their senses and realizing that varied and interesting architecture, trees and sidewalks are actually pretty cool and worth preserving. For fans of all these things plus outdoor drinking and dining, the hip Plaza District is a destination point.

Empire Slice House is open late and serves a quality imitation of New York-style pizza. Plus it boasts the largest canned beer selection in the state. That alone is worth a look. Oak & Ore features 36 temperature-controlled taps to tantalize tipplers. Expect your beer to be served in appropriate glassware here, as well. There is a reason they call it a pilsner glass! The small menu is reasonably priced for a trendy part of town.

Not a drinker? Take in a slice of the sublime at Pie Junkie. This from-scratch factory of sweet and savory sensations should be on your can’t miss list of you don’t get to this part of town often. For a complete directory of Plaza District dining destinations, visit plazadistrict.org.

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