Patio-sitting, cider-sipping, craft beer-savouring and people-watching are all part of STC’s downtown culture. Whether stopping in for a swift pint after work or spending a leisurely afternoon with friends, there are plenty of patios to choose from—all pouring the best of Niagara’s craft beverages. St. Catharines has the fastest-growing craft beer scene in Niagara, and the patios are on point! From streetside café style, and secret al fresco picnic tables to covered decks, beer gardens and more. Here is a roundup of a few to try:
West St. Paul Street is becoming known amongst craft beer lovers with two craft breweries within a stone’s throw. Cold Break Brewing and nearby neighbour, Decew Falls Brewing Company offer patio pints, flights and seasonal menus. Decew Falls Brewing Company opened their doors in early 2023 and have not looked back. Both patios are popular with locals and visitors enjoying the cycle routes around Niagara.
With a nod to traditional German lager, combined with a lighter alcohol content, Decew’s North Street lager is perfect for hot, sunny afternoons. Cold Break’s Left Turn light lager is crisp and refreshing without the bitterness thanks to the extra time spent maturing. (Something we should all aim for.)
Cold Break Brewing opened before the world shut down. Where most might have faltered under the circumstances, they’ve created something extra special, thanks to their commitment to quality brewing, their sense of community and their onsite kitchen partner, Righteous Monger. The patio and taproom is open 6 days a week, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate their popularity as well as games nights and a few cornhole boards ready and waiting on the patio!
Historic St. Paul Street is home to Niagara’s oldest craft brew pub, The Merchant Ale House. “The Merch”, to the locals, is considered the pioneer of craft brewing in St. Catharines, since owners John, James and Iain first opened their doors in 1999. The popular cozy pub is a functional brewery and the main floor tanks are not just for show! In recent years, channeling a hidden speakeasy style, they opened up the back of their pub to create the coolest outdoor drinking and dining emporium. Every day is a good day to enjoy fan favourite, Blueberry Wheat beer. It’s lighter on alcohol than many craft brews, made fresh and served with real blueberries. Full Sails is a flavour-packed easy drinking summer wheat beer with notes of citrus and spice. With an average of 6 to 8 brews on tap, a flight is the perfect way to discover the Merch.
After a pint of Full Sails it seems appropriate to head towards the lake for the next Niagara Ale Trail patio adventure. Lock Street Brewery in Port Dalhousie offers a variety of al fresco options, and with a wide selection of nautical inspired brews on tap and carry out options, the choices are endless. Feeling like a Jealous Mistress? Also known as their English honey brown ale which has been popular since the brewery opened in 2016. Or raise a glass to Port’s shipbuilding past with an Industrial Pale Ale, featuring distinct citrus and hop flavours. When the sun is
shining, the street-side Eurostyle patio is the place to be. With an additional upper deck, as well as the City’s largest biergarten, Lock Street is a popular haven for beach goers, cyclists and those who enjoy waterfront walks and a relaxed atmosphere. For the nautical types, boat parking is available nearby via Dalhousie Yacht Club
From the cool drinks to chill vibes, the urban streetscapes of downtown to beachy Port Dalhousie, remember—when the sun is shining, come early and stay late! Cheers to springtime, sunshine, sipping and celebrating all things craft!
Sip & See: Sip the Rubie, a seasonal strawberry rhubarb sour at the Merchant Ale House. Sip & See: Squeeze into summer with Cold Break’s new citrusy Lakeside Grapefruit Seltzer!
This light tasting citrus seltzer will be sure to quench your thirst on those hot summer days. Sip & See: Sip the new Harbourfront Hefeweizen at Lock Street Brewing Co., a traditional German-style wheat beer with notes of sweet banana and spicy clove. Sip & See: Live music Saturdays at Decew Falls Brewing Co. from 7.30 – 10.30 pm weekly. Bring your friends, family, and dog (patio only).
Local’s Love: Downtown Farmers Market, music in the square Saturdays from May – October during market hours.
Local’s Love: The annual Quench Craft Beer Festival, Niagara’s premier craft beer festival, featuring 25 of Ontario’s best producers, returns to Downtown St. Catharines on June 18.
Local’s Love: The craft beer scene is growing in the newly revitalized downtown, complete with fantastic arts and entertainment venues and foodie-approved dining options.
Local’s Love: Cicada Music & Arts Festival – Sept 31-Oct 1 – get your tickets today