It’s officially patio season, which means that long, leisurely afternoons can (read: should) be spent al fresco in Cowichan. Whether you’re sipping on local wines or tucking into a farm-to-fork meal at one of the many fantastic local restaurants, there are outdoor spaces abound to enjoy it all. Here’s the roundup:
Red Arrow Brewing – Duncan
Red Arrow is a locally-owned microbrewery located on the south end of Duncan. You can’t miss the big red building – and you shouldn’t. They offer tastings, flights, growler fills, tours, and all sorts of beer-related goodies. Sip a flight or a pint on their patio and make sure to fill up a growler to take home with you, too.
Lion Rampant Scottish Pub – Maple Bay
Located waterfront in picturesque Maple Bay, the Lion Rampant Scottish Pub is the place to go for Scottish and Canadian pub fare, craft beers, scotch whiskey, and a fantastic view. They offer daily specials and live music on Fridays.
Averill Creek Vineyard – Duncan
With amazing views of their vineyard and Cowichan Bay, the patio at Averill Creek Vineyard is a really nice spot to enjoy a wine tasting with friends. If you’re hungry, you can choose from their small selection of local charcuterie, or bring your own picnic! They also have a lovely garden that you can explore at your own pace.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery – Cobble Hill
Open, airy, romantic and elegant. These are all words we’d use to describe the stunning tasting room and patio at Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Spend an afternoon soaking in the views of Cobble Hill while sipping on ortega and enjoying one of the finest charcuterie plates you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Willow Street Cafe – Chemainus
Soak up the sun on a beautiful patio in the heart of charming Chemainus. The Willow Street Cafe is a great place to enjoy a low-key outdoor lunch, and perhaps some people watching. Make sure to take a stroll through town afterward and check out the famous Chemainus Murals.
Genoa Bay Cafe – Genoa Bay
Also right on the water, the patio at Genoa Bay Cafe includes unobstructed views of Mount Tzouhalem and colourful floating homes. They’ve just released a new seasonal menu with lots of great ocean-inspired dishes; we recommend you try the mussels.
Craig Street Rooftop – Duncan
A hidden gem of sorts, the rooftop at Craig Street Brew Pub is a place where locals gather to soak up the sun and enjoy pints of craft beer. Although it’s in the centre of downtown Duncan, you’ll feel like you’re a world away.
Maya Norte – Ladysmith
If you’re looking for a romantic date spot in Ladysmith, Maya Norte is a wonderful choice. Ask for a table on their secluded, tucked away patio at the back of the restaurant, and dine on authentic tapas-style cuisine while sipping on ice-cold margaritas under strands of twinkling lights.
Sawmill Taphouse – Chemainus
Pacific Northwest craft beers, wood-fired pizzas, authentic farm-to-table tapas and a sunny patio. You kind of can’t go wrong at Sawmill Taphouse. Grab a few share plates and a flight of beer any day of the week, or check out their weekend brunch menu for a perfect start to the day.
Ramada Duncan – Duncan
High on the list of “hidden gems” in Cowichan is the courtyard at the Ramada Duncan. You may have dined at The Old Fork, which is fantastic, and we highly recommend that this summer, you take full advantage of their secluded courtyard, where picnic benches await with big umbrellas for shade, should you want it.
Rock Cod Cafe – Cowichan Bay
The beloved Rock Cod Cafe in Cowichan Bay is a stellar place to grab a plate of fish and chips in a casual, seaside atmosphere. They’re a family friendly restaurant and their menu features many fresh, 100% sustainable seafood dishes that are inspired by the catch of the day.
Bridgeman’s Bistro – Mill Bay
Another waterfront eatery, Bridgeman’s Bistro is literally on the water at Mill Bay. Its expansive patio overlooks Mill Bay Marina, so you’ll be treated to unobstructed views across the Saanich Inlet toward Brentwood Bay. With outdoor heaters and strands of twinkling lights, it’s a great place to lounge with friends and family long after the sun goes down.
The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar – Duncan
For share plates, a curated wine list and creative, handmade cocktails, look no further than The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar. Visit on a Wednesday for a bowl of their house-made pasta paired with a glass of Cowichan wine, or head over on a Thursday for a special on mussels and local craft beer. Their patio space opens out onto a quaint cobblestone square with a European feel.
Pizzeria Prima Strada – Cobble Hill
Wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with fresh, super high-quality toppings, a glass of wine or a pink of cold craft beer or cider, followed by house-made gelato. Literal perfection on a summer’s afternoon, especially when enjoyed on Pizzeria Prima Strada’s glorious Cobble Hill patio.
Riot Brewing – Chemainus
With a reputation that precedes them, Riot Brewing is known for serving up tasty craft beers with lots of attitude. An exuberant, fun-loving team and a family-friendly environment (read: non-alcoholic beverage choices and lots of board games) makes the patio at Riot Brewing a great place to spend a sunny afternoon or evening in Chemainus. You can even order food to be delivered from nearby restaurants, or bring your own picnic.
Jake’s at the Lake – Cowichan Lake
If you’re planning to hop in a tube for a float on Cowichan Lake this summer, you’ll want to stop in at Jake’s at the Lake for a bite to eat afterward. They’re located right above the famous Tube Shack, overlooking Cowichan Lake and Cowichan River, and offer locally-sourced, homemade dishes with celiac-friendly options and great desserts.
Merridale Cidery & Distillery – Cobble Hill
BC’s oldest craft cidery and one of the first craft distilleries in the region, a visit to Merridale can (and should) include a leisurely stroll through the orchard, a cider tasting, and a farm-to-fork meal at their Farmhouse Eatery. Head there during the week for lunch on the expansive, covered patio, or book a table for Sunday Pizza Night every Sunday all though the summer season.