GTPulse: Where To Dine, Drink Outdoors This Season

The night before Thanksgiving used to be a bigger holiday for me than Thanksgiving itself. My friends and I would go from one bar to another, with no care for the mounting hangover we were building to deal with the next day. This time last year throngs filled the U&i, Dillingers, Bradys, and other TC staples to turn the autumnal holiday of overindulgence into a two-night ordeal. I squished myself between other bar patrons, happy to battle for a vodka soda all in the name of the biggest bar night of the year. This year, it’s easy to understand that being shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers isn’t a good idea. While indoor dining and drinking are on hold, some local bars and restaurants are offering outdoor solutions for you and those closest to you to enjoy. If you need to get out, these are where to do it.

Hopscotch Brick Oven and Taproom, Traverse City, MI

Known for brick over pizza, smoked meats, and small plates, this taproom is particularly sweet on craft beer and Scotch whisky. Located just before Four Mile on 31, they recently started offering heated outdoor dining in igloos and Hop Houses by reservation. Call for a reservation at 231-252-4718. They’re open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.


The Little Fleet, Traverse City, MI

With the food trucks in hibernation, this local favorite has used the extra space for an outside heated tent and the Yurt that’s put up every year. The Yurt is available to be rented out for private gatherings that follow indoor party limit restrictions. With seasonal cocktails, local brews, and Happy’s tacos, there’s a lot to love. If you can’t make it in, they’ve just rolled out a delivery service that offers all of their food and drinks. Email jess@thelittlefleet for private Yurt bookings.


Traverse City Whiskey Co., Traverse City, MI

I can’t go a bar shift without getting a request for using at least one of TC Whiskey’s spirits. Although they’re beloved for their bourbons, a new gin they’ve just unveiled, Northern Style Gin, has charmed the tastebuds of more than a few. They have igloos and outdoor space available to enjoy a cocktail or a few, with cold and hot options available. They’re open noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday Noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Happy Hour is Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Ironfish Distillery, Thompsonville, MI

Ironfish has come prepared to fight the winter blues with Base Camp. “Our tasting room is very small, so reestablishing limited capacity indoor service wasn’t an option for us”, said Iron Fish Partner, Sarah Anderson. “ These past 9 months have been all about reinventing how we can have the best outdoor service for guests. Base Camp Iron Fish is our latest effort to do just that, and we think it is going to be an absolute blast.” The waterproof, heated tents are available for parties four to six to reserve. To accommodate all, each reservation lasts for 90 minutes. Food and beverages will be ordered through a service window and brought out to guests. Live music and guest chef pop-up events are scheduled throughout the season. Reservations can be made through Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, they’re open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Hop Lot Brewing Co., Suttons Bay, MI

An establishment before its time. This brewery has been offering outdoor igloos to patrons long before COVID came to ravage our health and social lives. All igloos must be reserved through with members of the same household occupying one. With cozy outdoor fireplaces and fairy lights all around, they’ve got the ambiance thing down.  They’re open every day from noon to 8 p.m.


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Categories: GTPulse