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How to find a patio in the sky 

Patio guide: This year, the Hot Summer Guide gives you a selection of raised patios around town (and one that floats), when a view is as important as the beverage in your hand.

The Argyle Bar & Grill

The Argyle boasts both the largest rooftop patio in Halifax and unblocked sun access. Bar owner Johnny Demestihas says Thursday nights are his hottest and most happening all summer long, and one look at the rooftop layout explains why: three bars, a lounge chair area and an endless supply of regular chairs and tables makes it a perfect spot for any occasion you can dream up. There are even bathrooms on the rooftop level, eliminating that teetering journey down the stairwell at other rooftops. While The Arygle's sidewalk patio's open every day, its patio in the sky is only open Wednesday to Saturday.

Red Stag Tavern

Sitting atop the Alexander Keith's Brewery, the Red Stag Tavern boasts itself as a prime drinking spot and a historic site. If you walk through the warm glow of the tavern's polished hallways, you'll eventually discover another boast-able item about the Stag: its patio, which is the waterfront's tallest. From opening until about 5pm, it has direct sunlight and, during peak summer hours, it's normally warm enough to stay well after the sun has said goodbye. Be sure to head over after work and start your weekend off right with the Stag's weekly barbecue---servers will grill your steak or shrimp skewer right before your hungry eyes.

Celtic Corner Public House

"It's a long, fabled journey," a friendly server says when leading the way to Celtic Corner's rooftop patio. After multiple stairways and a parking garage, a grey door opens up to the journey's end---and one of the best views of Halifax. A recent renovation has resulted in a multi-levelled patio with double the seating, and the wooden deck gives a backyard party feel. The sun finds itself over the patio all day long, and umbrellas shield patrons from the heat. The servers (and patrons!) swear an ocean breeze keeps the rooftop nicely cool on the hot days. Look across the harbour at everyone else at work.

Coconut Grove

What better place to spend a night out patio drinking than above pizza corner? With post-drinking munchies just a few steps away, Coconut Grove has a sweet spot for its deck in the sky, and this year owner Remo is trying to set up live acoustic shows for Thursday to Saturday nights. No word if that'll happen yet, but keep those tapping fingers crossed. Since mid-June, there's been a barbecue special offered to patio-goers, and the ever-popular deal of two martinis and a cheese plate for 10 bucks is still offered. The hours are 4pm-2am, so this stellar patio can only be enjoyed in the afternoons and evenings.

La Perla

La Perla offers an entirely different patio and dining experience. Where the neighbouring Celtic Corner offers pub fare and a rooftop party-like patio, La Perla specializes in northern Italian cuisine and offers a second-floor, more intimate patio to its diners. Glass walls serve to protect patrons from the wind and from some of the noise from the busy Alderney Drive below, and flower boxes dress up the windows of La Perla's charming brick building. An indoor sound system provides light music, and you can catch the sun's rays until mid-evening---a lovely place for an intimate dinner.

Victor's Bar & Grill

Victor's on Spring Garden, formerly Jon Alan's Luxx, has simplified its quality menu and brought down the prices. With the start of summer, Victor's patio is seeing busy nights all around. While it's mostly just a slab of concrete with patio tables and chairs, long-time owner Victor Fineberg says it's the food and service that keep his customers returning for more. He's planning on revamping the patio to make it more comfortable and patron-friendly within the next few weeks. The deck sees a good amount of sun in the day, but the tall buildings on the Park Lane side of Spring Garden block the patio sun around mid-afternoon.

Minstrels Gastropub

Minstrels just recently opened, but it's jumping into summer with a new patio that'll compete with the Argyle's in terms of capacity. Sitting in the same spot as the old Thirsty Duck's patio, the newly renovated space has rooftop bathrooms and a fully stocked bar, making it a self-sufficient space to eat and drink. Being able to seat almost 200 people, you can bet it's a spacious area, with nothing to block the sun throughout the day. Assistant manager David Drohan is looking to put in firepits, as well as a retractable roof for rainy days. He's also hoping to offer live music in the near future.

Tall Ship Silva

Haligonians can put up the sails and cast away on the Tall Ship Silva in a new way---it's now open as Halifax's only floating patio. Beginning June 20, this cargo ship-turned-tall ship is open for fresh-air lunch breaks (noon-1:30pm), a Maritime siesta (2-3:30pm) and happy hour (4-5:30pm). It has a full cash bar and it's fine if you bring a bag lunch or snack while hopping on board to enjoy the sun. And if it's raining? A full canopy covers the deck, so you're still good to go in typical Halifax weather. Adult tickets are $19.95 plus tax and kiddies are more than welcome to join in the fun.

Dockside at Queen's Wharf, at the foot of Prince, beside Murphy's on the Water, 429-9463, holds 150

Your Father's Moustache

Follow the yellow footprint stickers marked PATIO through the bar and up the stairs and you'll find yourself walking onto one of the most popular rooftops in Halifax. Winner of The Coast's "Best Patio" title for many years, owner Shaun O'Hearn says the 'stache patio's "beauty" is its all-day sun access; asked for a time that the sun disappears, O'Hearn could only shrug his shoulders in sunny defeat. And if the sun isn't warm enough, a combination of eight infrared heaters and additional fire pits keep the restaurant-goers toasty through the chill.

5686 Spring Garden, 423-6766, seats 160


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