9 of the best Ames-area patios for outdoor dining and drinking

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

It's the perfect time of year for hanging out on a patio with great food and a cool drink. We've rounded up some of the best warm-weather, alfresco hangouts in the Ames area.

Wallaby's Bar & Grill, Ames

Wallaby’s Bar & Grill became the first restaurant in Ames to feature a rooftop patio when it built its Somerset location in 2014 after spending 26 years at its west Ames site. Wallaby’s is an Ames icon for sports fans and foodies, with a menu featuring classics like the Wally Dip, a roast beef sandwich with Swiss cheese an au jus; Don’s Okoboji Fish, beer-battered Atlantic cod; grilled cheese, which pairs mozzarella and cheddar along with tomato and avocado on parmesan-crusted marble rye; and its steak sandwich, an open-faced grilled sirloin on sourdough with arugula, crispy onions and horseradish butter. 2733 Stange Road, Ames

Towne Bacon Cheeseburger at West Towne Pub in Ames features crisp apple wood-smoked bacon and can be topped with American, cheddar, provolone or Swiss cheese.

More:Iowa's Best Burger contest reveals Top 10 finalists, eight of which are new contenders

West Towne Pub, Ames

West Towne Pub is the only restaurant or bar in Ames with a patio overlooking water. The large L-shaped patio by the pond offers plenty of outdoor seating. West Towne was recently named in the Top 10 for Iowa’s Best Burger competition. The menu offers classic cheeseburgers and specialty burgers like the One-Eyed Jack, which features a fried egg, bacon, ham and pepper jack cheese on top of the burger, and the Caribbean Burger, where the burger patty is smothered with the pub’s BBQ sauce and topped with mango salsa, melted cheese and bacon. Of course, the menu offers more than burgers with an extensive list of apps, entrees, sandwiches and salads. 4518 Mortensen Road, Suite 108, Ames

Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill doubled the size of its patio late last summer.

Dublin Bay, Ames

Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill doubled the size of its patio late last summer, giving diners more room to spread out and enjoy the outdoors. Dublin Bay is the No. 1 seller of Guinness in Iowa. Dublin Bay's menu offers a selection of American dishes, but its sweet spot is its Irish fare. It serves corned beef and cabbage every day it's open — not just on St. Patrick's Day. Lamb stew is a popular item, with all of the lamb locally sourced from LaVentosa Ranch. Boxty, shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips are among the most popular items. A boxty is a potato pancake stuffed with a Guinness-marinated beef or corned beef, folded like a burrito and covered with gorgonzola cream sauce. 320 S. 16th St., Ames

More:Biggest seller of Guinness in Iowa, Dublin Bay gears up for St. Patrick's Day

Mucky Duck Pub, Ames

The Mucky Duck Pub is a British-style pub in southeast Ames that has doubled the size of its outdoor seating. With occasional live music and Quiz Night every Monday, the Mucky Duck offers a menu that’s a mix of British fare, Indian dishes, American favorites and even a platter of German cuisine. The Duck’s fish and chips is a popular item, featuring battered North Atlantic cod and thick-cut fries. 3100 S. Duff Ave., Ames

Cornbred won the Historic Preservation Award in 2020 after transforming Ames' historic train depot into a BBQ restaurant.

Cornbred, Ames

Cornbred BBQ restaurant in downtown Ames has a big patio area called The Railyard, which seems appropriate for an establishment located in the historic former train depot. The Railyard regularly features live music, with upcoming gigs posted on Cornbred's Facebook page. Cornbred's Barbecue Team has earned more than 250 awards, including 35 grand championships. It's the four-time winner of the Iowa BBQ Team of the Year title. Fridays at 5 p.m., Cornbred celebrates Steak Fry-Yay. It's a little different every week, but it starts with a 14-ounce smoked-then-seared ribeye, served with veggies and side dishes. There's limited availability, similar to the limited supply of Gigantorolls, giant cinnamon rolls sold only during Sunday brunch. 526 Main St., Suite 106, Ames

More:'It’s been pretty crazy': In Ames, Cornbred Barbecue's 'Gigantoroll' is Facebook famous

Aunt Maude's, Ames

Aunt Maude’s has been synonymous with fine dining in Ames since it was founded in 1979. “Although Aunt Maude the person is mythical, we cherish the ideals of her with our casual personal style and delivering hospitality, superb service, and excellent cuisine,” the restaurant’s website states, and it takes that same service to its outdoor patio. Maude’s dynamic menu changes frequently but regularly includes customer favorites, such as truffle french fries, house-made potato chips with roasted red pepper dip, slow-roasted prime rib and tequila chicken fettuccine. 547 Main St., Ames

A patio is an oasis between the two sides of Sweet Caroline's, which features a restaurant and bar on the east side and a private banquet venue on the west.

Sweet Caroline's, Ames

Sweet Caroline’s Kitchen & Cocktails opened in downtown Ames in September 2021, featuring a comfort food menu and a Nashville vibe. The renovation of the historic building created a pocket patio that’s nestled between the interior spaces that hold the restaurant, bar and event venue space. Some of the chef’s specialties include meatloaf, mac and cheese, fried catfish and chicken pot pie. The appetizer menu features hushpuppies, deviled eggs and buttermilk biscuits. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is Caroline’s Famous Fried Chicken. 316 Main St., Ames

More:With a Nashville vibe and comfort food on the menu, Sweet Caroline's opens in downtown Ames

Flight Bar + Grille in Huxley has a dog-friendly patio that overlooks a pond on the north side of town.

Flight Bar + Grille, Huxley

Flight Bar + Grille opened on the north side of Huxley in March has a dog-friendly patio that overlooks a pond. With an airplane theme that’s a nod to the local Ballard’s Bombers sports teams, along with a full menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees, the restaurant offers a variety of fun flights. French fries are served with flight of house-made aioli in flavors like garlic, mustard, black pepper and chipotle. Freshly made tortilla chips are served with a flight of dips, including queso, fresh guacamole, corn salsa and restaurant style salsa. A large selection of drink flights include selections of mimosas, draft beer, rye, bourbon and other spirits. 931 N. Highway 69, Huxley

More:Flight Bar + Grille takes off in Huxley with a focus on from-scratch food and drink recipes

Open Flame Steak House, Gilbert

The Open Flame Steak House & Lounge is a "grill your own steak" restaurant that's been a fixture on Gilbert's Main Street since 1978. The Flame's patio is a lovely choice for diners and occasionally features live music. Despite the grill-your-own theme, customers can opt to have the chef grill their steak for a small extra charge. Steaks are all Iowa-sourced prime cuts of beef, ranging from juicy ribeyes to bacon-wrapped filets. Shrimp, chicken, burgers, mac and cheese and a large selection of salads balance out the menu. The appetizer selections include house-breaded locally grown oyster mushrooms, sourced from Joygrow mushroom farm in Cambridge. 225 Main St., Gilbert

More:Story County-based Joygrow mushrooms' niche market grows during pandemic

Ronna Faaborg covers business and the arts for the Ames Tribune. Reach her at rlawless@gannett.com.