Patio season is here!
We've got the best outdoor seating in Champaign Covered.
We have all waited long enough for this moment, so let’s skip the preamble and just get down to the goods. Below you will find the best patios in Champaign central business districts. From daytime cafes to late night beer gardens, there are plenty of outdoor dining and drinking options for you to frequent all season or all year for some!
All businesses listed are proud members of the Champaign Center Partnership! Support businesses who support Champaign’s downtown, midtown, and campustown neighborhoods.
Located on the north side of downtown, Bentley’s Pub lends itself to being neighborhood spot with cozy atmosphere. Bentley’s also features craft beer and delicious house-infused cocktails. Sip their signature “White Lie” coffee and tequila infusion in the back outdoor terrace! Despite the towering office and condo buildings nearby, it’s easy to forget that you’re downtown when you’re out on the patio. In the summer, you can catch live music and DJs.
In the center of downtown is where you can find Big Grove Tavern and their incredible heated patio. With a vast array of seats amongst gorgeous plants and flowers, their patio invokes the perfect atmosphere to host weekday lunches, share a bottle of wine on a date night or sip on a house made Bloody Mary during their legendary brunch. Choose from a wide selection of craft cocktails to pair perfectly with Chef Parada’s creative, evolving and unique menu And of course with that prime spot in the heart of downtown, Big Grove Tavern is a great spot to enjoy Friday Night Live all summer.
The Blind Pig Brewery beer garden is tucked beneath the sprawling iron archway that proclaims its name. The ivy-covered walls and alluring glow from the outdoor lighting remind you that you are in one of the raddest breweries in the county. The English pub aesthetic inside and iconic patio pair well with a unique selection of locally-brewed beer. Trial the newest seasonal brews or fall back to the popular mainstays like the U of IPA, Columbia Street Coffee Stout, or Blue Pils.
But wait, there’s more! A stone’s throw away, it’s easy to find yourself at Blind Pig Co., fondly known as Big Pig. It’s a sure bet that you’ll run into a friend or neighbor sitting on the patio or at the bar any day or night. Sample an extensive list of guest draft beer or enjoy a refreshing cocktail like a classic Jameson and ginger.
Outside food welcome!
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind java experience, take a jaunt over to Campustown and check out BrewLab Coffee. This locally owned coffee shop boasts a wide selection of artisanal coffees, pour over teas and craft sodas. Their quaint front patio offers a sunny escape from the hustle and bustle of Green while still keeping in tune with all of the campus action. With whiteboard covered walls begging to be doodled on and an after hours venue space, this little coffeeshop serves as more than just a place to get your caffeine fix but as a creatively inspired meeting place for all.
When you are in need of cozy spot to regroup after a stressful week, Café Kopi will gladly keep a spot open for you. As a steadfast spot in downtown Champaign for the past 22 years, it is safe to say they are always ready to serve their patrons with open arms. With accurate claims of the best Chai tea in town and a delicious array of bakery treats, their tranquil front porch is perfect for writing your next academic paper or meeting with colleagues. Kopi is a one-of-kind place that always comes to mind when you think of downtown Champaign.
Esquire Lounge is the most welcoming establishment in downtown Champaign, epitomized in part by their bustling patios. You will always find a familiar face on the plaza next to Chester Street. The awnings on Walnut Street provide ample cover from the sun and rain (and the cold later in the season thanks to the heaters). Grab a pitcher of beer, an iconic bleu pear pizza, or their famous pineapple margarita infusion so you truly enjoy your time in downtown. In fact, everything is top-notch here that you won’t ever want to go home.
Smack dab in the middle of Champaign’s downtown is where you will now find Farren’s Pub and Eatery. Within the last few years this one time “hidden gem” relocated on to the main stage of Walnut and is now receiving the avid attention it has always deserved. With an out-of-this-world selection of upscale burgers and culinary favorites, an extensive list of draft beers and cocktails, and a popular patio that keeps in line with the downtown social scene, this locally owned taste house is a must visit whenever you are in the neighborhood.
Hamilton Walker’s is a classy American steakhouse with specialty cocktails and a retro vibe in a circa-1880s building. Their front patio seating next to lush flower planters offers prime views of Neil Street and a great vantage point to take in the vibrant atmosphere of Downtown Champaign. During the summer months, this swanky establishment makes a great spot to catch all the acts during Friday Night Live!
You’re in for a treat when you visit the new and improved KAM’S in campustown because while it doesn’t have a patio, it does have a 2nd floor balcony called 2nd Chances! That’s why they’re on the list. This west of campus bar features plenty of drinks typical of any university bar. For UIUC Alumni, check out the memorabilia and signs from bygone campus bars over the years and earn some history credits.
Outside food welcome!
KoFusion is the right place correct destination when cravings hit. Luckily, KoFusion has a couple locations around town; however, their downtown spot has fresh and modern décor extending out to their back patio granting their patrons a gorgeous location to enjoy a beautiful cityscape while biting into their seriously must-try Chicago Roll.
Most university towns have that one bar where all the action happens and with a name as appropriate as Legends, we have one too. This Illini tradition serves as the number one sports bar on the block with a fleet of TVs broadcasting the daily sports games, a menu of delectable American-style grub, and a hardy beer and cocktail selection to wash it down. Add in the pool room and covered patio and you’ve got yourself a spot for all things — wait for it — LEGENDARY.
Booze, books, coffee, and baked goods are the key words for describing Literary and Hopscotch Bakery. This genius little one-stop-shop has all the makings of a hipster’s haven minus the pretentious reputation. With a quaint little patio in the heart of downtown, this is one of those places where you start off the day with a latte and the morning paper, then somehow find yourself still there making your way through your second malt flight discussing Sally Rooney novel adaptations with a friend. 10 out of 10, would recommend. Catch tunes during Friday Night Live here.
It should be criminal to fill the downtown with mouthwatering smells of southern comfort food like those that emanate from Neil St. Blues. With a soul food and southern style menu boasting dishes that must be mixed with a little Louisiana magic to account for how delicious they are, we definitely wouldn’t blame you for ordering multiple items for one meal (leftovers are a thing for a reason)! The cherry on top of the delicious noms you can score from this place is it’s fun and upbeat atmosphere that frequently carries out on to its intimate patio when the weather is right. When you choose to eat at Neil St. Blues you are basically guaranteeing yourself a good time.
Experience 28 pour-your-own taps featuring beers, ciders, meads, and wines… all poured by you, one ounce at a time! You’ll be delighted once you make your way through their mini arcade and find yourself on their gorgeous back patio. Stocked with various outdoor “yard games” and ample seating, this barfly’s dream host’s a rockin’ selection of musical acts steadily when the weather permits. This popular porch also makes the perfect location to dance to the tunes during Friday Night Live.
Outside food welcome!
You will be sorely mistaken if you try to equate Punch! Bar and Lounge with any other ordinary hotel bar. Visiting Punch is like attending a mixology masterclass with new seasonal menus and creative craft cocktails. A visit to their stylish patio, located amongst the many other downtown hot spots, provides the perfect place to see and be seen. Remember to visit for happy hour and order an appetizer to share.
Spending a lazy summer day in the south sipping a cold one sounds pretty amazing. When you visit Watson’s Shack and Rail, you may start speaking with a Southern twang. With their delicious old style fried chicken, infamous roster of alcoholic slushies and hot sauces that rival the southern heat – the view from the patio seems more apt to be overlooking Broadway in Nashville than Neil Street in Champaign, but we don’t mind.