Local patios are making a comeback

Photo by Darien Funk

As we know, the Kitchener-Waterloo area has been deemed in the “red zone” of Ontario’s colour coding system for COVID-19. With this, restaurants and bars are now reopening for sit down experiences. 

Some of the main changes you’ll notice in our new “red zone” era that affect restaurants are: a maximum of 10 people indoors, alcohol can only be sold from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., restaurants and bars close by 10 p.m., a maximum of four people per table—although I could swear I’ve seen groups of five to six, physical distancing of tables and so on. 

With the first day of spring having just passed, the patio scene has taken over Waterloo. The restaurants and pubs are playing it safe within COVID-19 rules and regulations, but something about seeing a bunch of filled tables on a Friday evening makes you feel like the pandemic is long gone. Take this as you will.

The sunny warm weather is creeping in and people are flooding the sidewalks just to be outside for once! If you’re trying to snag a table for lunch or a quick drink, think again.

This isn’t an advice column but, I will start off by strongly urging you to plan. Your. Nights.

If you thought waiting to get into a bar or restaurant on a Saturday was hard before the pandemic, you are in for a surprise. The wait times could be by the hour. 

A tip to keep in mind is that most places are not doing reservations, it’s a first come first serve basis. So, put your name on a waiting list hours beforehand.

With high-demand patios, perhaps you’ll start opting for an early lunch in uptown rather than a dinner when crowds are at their peak.

Some notable patios uptown open this month are Beertown Public House in Waterloo Town Square, Ethel’s Lounge, Kentucky Bourbon and Barbecue and Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria.

People are craving the food, the company and the atmosphere that they’ve been without for so long.

Uptown Waterloo is known for its charming nightlife appeal and the patios are not disappointing. With twinkle lights of different colours hanging overhead and good music playing, it is hard to not feel happy out there.  

News outlets are speculating a third wave of the virus to emerge in Ontario soon. It’s hard to say whether this patio life we have gotten a glimpse of will last much longer. I suggest taking advantage while you can while staying as safe as possible. Don’t kid yourself, you’ve been dying to change out of your sweats, put some actual clothes on and leave the house for a night. Yes, I am calling you out and telling you the patios are the ideal destination this week.

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