Best Patios: Outdoor Dining in Harbor Country

May 8, 2023

Our list of the best patios for outdoor dining in Harbor Country

Dining al fresco is a must during Harbor Country summers. While this list does not cover all the wonderful outdoor dining options in our area, it covers a few of my favorites!


Beer Church claims to have the “Single Greatest Beer Garden mankind has ever contemplated over a beer in the Midwest,” but we’ll leave that up to you to decide. Fit with a wood-fired pizza oven and an outdoor bar, the Beer Church patio in downtown New Buffalo is an iconic stop on your travels. And, their recent expansion to a two-story patio makes it all the easier to snag a table and stay a while! Seating is first-come first-serve.


Nachos and a beer at the Stray Dog Rooftop Bar
Nachos and a beer at the Stray Dog Rooftop Bar

The Stray Dog’s string-light bedazzled rooftop bar (ages 21+) unquestionably provides the best view of Lake Michigan. Situated a stone’s throw from the New Buffalo harbor, sip a drink and grab some nosh while catching a spectacular sunset. The atmosphere is nautical chic, the food is outstanding, and while you’re not required to have a great time, chances are you will. Stray Dog does not take reservations, and you'll likely encounter a wait, so get there early and stroll down to the beach or grab dessert first from Nancy's!






Brewster’s Italian Cafe is to-die-for, whether you’re having drinks, lunch, or dinner. In addition to their semi-upscale dining room, you can dine al fresco under pretty lights and among lots of lovely vegetation; you'll feel like you've been whisked away to Italy. Reservations are recommended - to make a reservation, call (269)-469-3005 or visit their website.


Cafe Gulistan is the place to go for authentic Kurdish dining. Located in Harbert, their cozy outdoor patio sits amid a charming garden, bringing a welcoming and fresh atmosphere. Cafe Gulistan has fantastic vegetarian options and plentiful tastes for all palates. To make a reservation, call (269)-469-6779.


View of Seedz patio with people sitting at various picnic tables shaded by umbrellas
View of Seedz patio with people sitting at various picnic tables shaded by umbrellas

Seedz Brewery’s relaxed, kick-it style patio is a great place for friends to meet up. While they don’t serve food, you are invited to bring your own (we suggest Mario's Pizza, just across the street). Whatever you bring, Seedz has ample brews to pair with apps or dinner. Seedz patio is both kid and dog friendly! They even have their own pup who you’ll see lounging or wandering. Check their calendar for special events and live music!




Just up the street from the Inn is Union Pier Social which is open for lunch & dinner, serves comfort food elevated. Their large, shaded and dog-friendly patio is an oasis on Red Arrow Highway. This is our go-to for a close meal that delivers every time!

Black Currant Bakehouse doesn’t have a dedicated patio, but it is on the way from Garden Grove to the beach. Serving locally roasted coffee and delectable pastries, including vegan options, isn’t their only game...their sandwiches will absolutely inspire a return to the cafe. Pick something up and hit Town Line Beach for a lovely afternoon or head over to Seedz to pair your lunch with a cold beer

View of Greenbush Brewery
Greenbush Brewery and outdoor patio with tables, umbrellas and flowers decorating the fence

Greenbush Brewery in Sawyer is set up for fun. Blanketed in string lights, Greenbush offers sidewalk dining where you can eat from their amazing Southern-inspired menu, and compliment each dish with a delicious beer (they also have wine, cider & NA options). Be sure to check out their incredible deli full of enough cheeses and meats to charm a butcher or cheesemonger. No reservations.

Just across the street from Greenbush in Sawyer, a new bar, Sideyard opens up on June 25! This hip locale has a giant dog-friendly patio, on-site food truck, and yard games (bags, ping pong, foosball) - not to mention their delicious cocktails & boozy slushies. This will be your new go-to for a snack or an evening of guaranteed fun!

And, we must also mention Susan's which is a little more upscale experience than its Sawyer neighbors, offering locally-sourced, contemporary American food. Their interior is beautiful, but their large patio will make for a perfect al fresco evening in downtown Sawyer!