Sun. Finally! Now find your haven alfresco? Here are some of the best patios — some quaint, some sprawling — in Central Indiana.
Amy Haneline / IndyStar
Don’t look now, you guys, but spring is finally acting like spring.
On both Thursday and Friday, we should have clear skies and daytime high temperatures near 73 degrees. When the sun goes down, conditions will remain mild and temperatures are only expected to drop as far as the high 60s.
Rain and potential thunderstorms enter the picture Saturday, but the high temperature will continue to hover around 70 degrees.
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But as we all know, Indiana weather loves being unpredictable and doesn’t care what season the calendar says it is. Case in point, this weekend’s dash of spring will be followed with a Monday that’s expected to bring rain, snow and a low temperature of around 32 degrees.
It also coincides with what has been one of the coldest starts to April the city has ever seen.
Still, we have a few days of actual spring weather. As a result, residents and restaurants who love alfresco dining are gearing up to take advantage of the sunshine.
Whitney Watson, assistant manager at Blind Owl Brewery on East 62nd Street, said they have yet to open their activity-packed patio to the general public.
But she hopes that the dry, 70 degree weather will allow them to open this weekend for games of bocce and corn hole.
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“We usually have a season, but it’s been so cold that now it goes day-by-day. It was actually supposed to be open on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “Once we open, as long as it’s not rainy and not cold, we will have the patio open.”
Watson said most of what Blind Owl Brewery uses outdoors is stationary and can handle bad weather days, so the looming threat of snow won’t require them to break anything down once they get it set up.
She added that heaters and fire pits allow them to offer the outdoor experience for as long as they can.
Day-by-day is also the approach taken by The Tap on North Delaware Street. Since its opening, their patio along East New York Street has been a hot spot of happy hour and weekend gatherers.
It’s been so popular that Head Bartender Colin Gregory said crazy weather aside, The Tap’s patio has already been open at least a dozen times this spring, as has relied on their massive fire pits to keep things comfortable for patrons.
“Anytime the weather is nice enough we’ll have it open … we don’t really have a season for it,” he said. “So anytime it’s not raining and above 45 or 50 degrees, we’re good to go. On nice days, the patio will fill up before our indoor dining area.”
But a few days in the 70s isn’t enough for John Barto, owner of Hops and Fire in Greenwood, to go all-in on alfresco dining just yet.
“It’s going to snow this weekend, so tell me what we’re really looking at? This has been the longest four-month winter ever,” Barto said with a laugh. “All my furniture is wooden and hand-made … so it’s vulnerable to weather. So I’m not quite ready yet.”
Barto said under normal circumstances, he would have had his family-friendly and dog-friendly outdoor area open this month to coincide with the start of spring.
As it stands, he said he will likely wait until at least May before he feels confident enough to set it up.
“May is usually a good bet, right around Mother’s Day it’s usually nice enough,” he said. “And yeah, I’d like to have it open now. But if you’re in the restaurant business, you don’t get frustrated my friend. We take it one day at a time.”
Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at (317) 444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.
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