Here in Denver, and around Colorado, we're still enjoying nearly 80-degree weather, even the first week into November. For other similarly warm and dry climates, like places in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, al fresco dining may carry on through the end of the year. Even New York City has been boasting unseasonably warmer weather, and city dwellers are spending as much time enjoying the outdoors as possible.
As we enter the holiday season, however, a lot of the colder climates are starting to shut down their patios and move all of their dining inside for the winter. Our restaurant consultants, however, like taking notes from our work with Vail Resorts, and we have thoughts on how you can keep your outdoor patios open through the winter. Coming into the holidays especially, guests will enjoy a break from the ordinary, sitting on a cozy patio and taking-in the decor and passersby.
1. Offer extra layers
. Having a basket of warm blankets nearby is the perfect first step in making a winter outdoor patio feel cozy. You'll keep your guests warm, and it adds to the ambiance.
2. Provide warm drinks
. Have a specialized beverage menu just for the outdoor patio experience--hot cocoa, Irish coffee, and hot buttered rum, just for starters.
3. Play up the experience
. String the trees and pergola with twinkle lights; move in pine trees and winter plant life; and frame whatever excitement might be nearby to watch--Christmas decorations, ice skaters, a busy shopping street.
4. Create a firepit or outdoor fireplace
. This will add a lot of warmth to the outdoor patio, not to mention really set the mood.
5. Invest in outdoor heaters
. There are a lot of options for outdoor heaters, and a few scattered about your seating area will keep outdoor guests almost as warm as if they were inside.
6. Bring the outdoors in
. If you simply can't make a winter outdoor space work, consider creating the same ambiance indoors. Bring in the plants, the twinkle lights, and really draw attention to your window spaces.
Does your restaurant's climate allow for extended outdoor dining? Would it if you implemented any of these ideas? For more tips on outdoor and seasonal dining, or for any other questions, contact our restaurant consultants
P.S. 10 Beautiful Restaurant Patios
plus Patio Decorating Ideas
Photo courtesty of Soho House West Hollywood via House and Home.