Here's where you can enjoy a winter patio in the Ottawa area
Some bars and restaurants take the drinks outside as Omicron rages
When the recent COVID-19 lockdown hit, Cheshire Cat Pub owner Dustin Therrien knew what he had to do.
Therrien brought in a bunch of firewood, installed five fire pits, hauled out 20 Muskoka chairs and draped them with faux furs to create an "après-ski style setup" outside his Carp bar and restaurant.
He's one of a number of Ottawa-area restaurant owners who've taken those sorts of steps to stay open and also comply with Ontario's current pandemic restrictions.
"We had people here last night [and] we had to last-call them! You'd think people would be too cold, and they were right here until the end," Therrien told CBC Radio's All In A Day earlier this month.
"They had a great time. They said it was a lot better than sitting at home and looking at our screens."
WATCH | Winter patios draw people tired of being 'penned up' at home
No indoor dining until Jan. 31
Under Ontario's current rules, indoor dining is off-limits until Jan. 31, when food establishments will be able to once again welcome diners inside — but only at 50 per cent capacity.
Out in Findlay Creek, Hunter's Public House built a stable-like structure earlier in the pandemic with five tables, each equipped with heat lamps and separated by plexiglass, plus a fire pit.
Operating a winter patio has allowed the restaurant to both embrace the cold temperatures and avoid letting workers go, said owner Charles MacInnis.
"We tried to make it feel like a chalet [or a] cottage," he said. "The fire pit, we have a lot of spruce trees around it. All the booths have spruce and pine in the booth. It's just a feeling of warmth."
WATCH | Some restaurants turn to winter patios to stay open during restrictions
Our patio map
So with indoor dining not yet resumed — and since even when it does, people may be wary about eating in an enclosed space — we're putting together this map of Ottawa-area bars and restaurants that are serving folks outdoors.
Do you know of one we can add? Send us an email and some proof the establishment is indeed serving folks outdoors — a social media post, a statement on their website, a photo of yourself braving the elements — and we'll include it.
And given winter's uncertainties, it's probably still worth checking with the restaurants themselves before heading out, in case they're temporarily closed due to an extreme cold spell or an impending storm.
Note: For the best experience, view the map on a desktop computer.
With files from Sandra Abma