Take it outside

Wichitans flock to outdoor seating for their dining and drinking pleasure

Story and photography by Joe Stumpe

Joe Worrel entertains at Morts, a perennial patio favorite.

Joe Worrel entertains at Morts, a perennial patio favorite.

If there's one thing that Wichitans love more than eating and drinking, it's eating and drinking outdoors.

That's evident in the explosion of patio seating at local bars and restaurants. There is, of course, one more contributing factor: the no- smoking law that the Kansas Legislature approved two years ago.

The law made it almost mandatory for nightclubs and bars, that wanted to compete, to provide an outdoor area where smoking is permitted, or in some cases to make an existing patio suitable for year-round use. But that just fed a trend that's been underway here for years.

Here's a look at some of the city's coolest patios. And please don't get upset if we fail to mention your own favorite al fresco spot  there are way too many great ones to list them all.

Old town

The city's renovated warehouse district led the way when it comes to patios. The patio at Mort's Cigar Bar, where live music is now featured seven days a week in good weather, has topped many lists of best patio compiled by local media through the years. But two other nightspots  the Pumphouse and Oeno Wine Bar, are honing in on the action, having doubled the size of their patios and upped their musical offerings this year. Then there's the Brickyard, another prominent music venue where the open-air patio is the bar. Rock Island and Heroes are other clubs with patios, while Club Indigo uses its roof as a way for patrons to enjoy the night sky. The area's newest bar  Joe's Old Town Bar & Grill  made sure to put in a patio that's quickly become a favorite spot for people watching.

Many of the area's restaurants feature patios as well, from Larkspur to Uptown Bistro, Sabor, Hana Cafe and Old Chicago, the last four all located on Old Town Square.

East

The patio at Ya Ya's Eurobistro in Bradley Fair has been a place to see and be seen for years, with dining and dancing to live bands. Just around the corner, Newport Grill sports a gorgeous lakefront patio that they've also started to use for music and dining.

In the Waterfront, Chester's Chophouse is another restaurant that offers fine dining on a lakefront, covered patio. Further east, the Hereford House patio at Terradyne Country Club might furnish the most gorgeous view of all, looking out onto the lush golf course. In Andover, Timbuktu's patio has long been a favorite place for cold beer and burgers.

West

West-side bars and restaurants haven't been left out when it comes to outdoor dining. Granite City Brewery has recently started offering live entertainment along with its food and microbrews on its patio (as is the eastside Granite City). Other New Market Square establishments with patios include Aviva Pizza and On The Border.

Elsewhere

And of course there are great patios elsewhere around the city.

Tanya's Soup Kitchen recently added a handsome pergola-topped patio, Ziggy's Pizza in College Hill boasts a lovely shaded patio and the Garage Bar and Grill in Delano hosts music on its patio. Also in Delano, the Shamrock Lounge, holder of the city's oldest liquor license, has over the past couple of years put in a large, comfortable patio for special events and everyday use.

Add up all the city's outdoor options and you'll see why going out in Wichita often means just that.

 
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