When it comes to summer in Bend, I can’t get enough. I want to be outside all the time, whether I’m floating the river or enjoying a hike.
Once cocktail hour arrives, I’m not ready to go inside yet.
In case you share my urge to soak up every ounce of gorgeous weather Bend offers this time of year—and enjoy a tasty adult beverage while you’re at it—here’s my roundup of where to go and what to swill when you get there.
If it’s beer you crave, the Bend Ale Trail has plenty to offer. When it comes to sipping suds outdoors, I have three clear favorites.
Crux Fermentation Project is Bend’s newest brewery, and their grapefruity Off-leash Session Ale is simply divine. The only way to make it more divine is to enjoy it on Crux’s fabulous outdoor patio. In the daytime, you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views. At night, check out their cool patio lights and toasty fire pit.
The fire-pits at McMenamins Old Saint Francis Pub are another one of my favorite hangouts. Nothing says “summertime” to me more than the pleasure of sipping a Ruby Ale (made with Oregon-grown raspberries!) with my feet propped next to a fire pit and a shared cigar from O’Kanes passed among good friends.
For the best daytime river views & brews, nab a seat on the small back deck at Bend Brewing Company. Their Elk Lake IPA is the brew to choose for summertime sipping, and it tastes even better with a pile of their fried zucchini slices and a lovely view of the Deschutes River meandering through Drake Park.
I’m generally more of a wine or beer girl than a fan of complex cocktails. But there’s something about sipping the perfect summer concoction on a sunny patio that always gets me scanning the cocktail menu.
Anthony’s in Bend’s Old Mill District is one of my favorite summer spots for watching river floaters meander along the lazy Deschutes. Following my own float a few weeks ago, I staked out a spot on the Anthony’s patio, ordered their new Cucumber Cooler, and fell instantly in love. It’s muddled mint and cucumber with gin, St. Germain liqueur, and a little Rose’s lime juice shaken over ice, strained, and served with a bit of soda water and a cucumber garnish. Divine!
Though Astro Lounge in Downtown Bendhas only a handful of outdoor tables, you’d be wise to snag one for happy hour if you can. That’s the best time to order the Italian Stallion for only $5, and enjoy a mix of muddled basil, house-infused basil vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, lemon, and sugar. If you’re sipping with a companion, have him or her order the Cucumber-Lavender Mojo with muddled mint, cucumber, lime, house-infused lavender vodka, and simple syrup. Then sneak a slurp when no one’s looking.
And since I’m apparently on a roll with the cucumber-concocted cocktails, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the outdoor seating at 900 Wall and their tasty Cucumber Martini. Made with cucumber, Thai basil, house-infused lemon vodka, lemon, and dry sake, it’s the perfect warm-weather treat. If you’re arriving early in the evening for happy hour, try to score a seat on the west side of the building so you’ve got a patch of shade. Either way, these cozy little tables on the sidewalk are perfect for people-watching.
The east side of Bend is often overlooked as a tourist Mecca, which is unfortunate. It’s actually a lovely part of the city, with convenient access to budget-friendly hotels like Sleep Inn and Comfort Inn. Within stumbling walking distance of both is The Phoenix Restaurant. Those who remember the spot from when it was Kayo’s Roadhouse five or six years ago will be pleased to know they’ve not only upgraded the old patio, but added a new outdoor seating area right off the dining room.
Either spot makes a lovely place to sit and enjoy a glass of Sangria. Take your pick between Red Sangria (red wine paired with fresh citrus, Bacardi Limon, triple sec, and lemon lime soda) or White Sangria (white wine with fresh apples, triple sec, brandy and ginger ale). Bargain-hunters will enjoy Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. or the special Sunset Menu from 4-5:30 p.m.
Looking to enjoy an alfresco beverage without the need to leave a tip or order food? You’ve got one weekend left to enjoy the Free Summer Sunday concert series at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Bring a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine, and enjoy some tunes from psychedelic rockers The Features. The show starts at 2:30 on Sunday, August 12, and since it happens to be my birthday, I’ll expect each of you to stop by my picnic blanket with a cheery smile and a nice bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Want to truly get away from it all? My gentleman friend and I routinely load a small backpack with a lightweight blanket, a bottle of vino, and an insulated baggie of good cheese from Newport Market. Then we set out on one of our favorite hiking trails for an afternoon of lolling in the sun and swilling wine from cheap plastic glasses. There are plenty of secluded spots to be found along the Deschutes River Trail or one of the Cascade Lakes. To find your own secret site, check out Visit Bend’s hiking page.
So where’s YOUR favorite place for summertime sipping outdoors? Any hotspots I missed? Please share!
And cheers to all of you. Don’t forget the sunscreen.