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Best Patios in Prairie du Chien

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

Enjoy food and drinks on Prairie's best patios (& decks)!

Being the vibrant river town that it is, Prairie du Chien attracts a lot of sun-loving, fresh-air seeking folks, and there are no shortage of outdoor dining and socializing options to chill or keep the party going. Whether you're tying up or driving in, here are some of our favorite spots for eats and drinks with great patio vibes:

Spring Lake Inn Patio
Spring lake Inn Patio

1. Backwater Bar & Grill

This newest addition to the Prairie bar and restaurant scene has been very well received. Described as a "Small town bar with big city energy", the Backwater features a huge rooftop wrap-around deck overlooking (as the name suggests) the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The restaurant's exterior walls include rolling garage doors that are kept open in nice weather, lending the feel of being outside throughout the whole place. The deck is filled with comfortable chill seating, firepits and umbrellas, with plenty of room for standing if you're in the mood.

The Backwater has a nice selection of beer on tap and a full bar and serves upscale "bar food" like flatbread pizzas, giant pretzels, burgers and the like. If you visit on the weekends, the chances of catching live music in the evenings are high. Check out live music schedules here.

2. The Winneshiek Bar & Grill

Head a few miles North of town by car or boat to the popular and playful, Winneshiek Bar, Grill and Marina (aka "The Winnie" ) for a more direct river experience. The river vibe is strong at the Winnie with a steady stream of boats coming in and out of the marina; you can perch on the huge deck overlooking the marina to watch the river traffic all day long. The place has a carefree, nautical rustic feel throughout, and is the type of place Spongebob and Jimmy Buffet would meet for a drink. The deck features a large indoor/outdoor bar (frozen slushie drinks available!) with seating in the shade or the sun depending on your mood (or sunburn level). The Winnie's menu is informal and consists of appetizer baskets, wings, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. All the food is great and reasonably priced. Try the Stuffed Shrimp Sliders!

3. Spring Lake Inn

Located just North of town on Hwy 35, you'll find the little gem known as the Spring Lake Inn. On top of the place being cute as a button, Spring Lake has a carefully thought out menu featuring local beef, steaks, smoked meats , seafood, sandwiches, burgers and appetizers. Whether you're in the mood for some drinks, appetizers and maybe some live music, or a more formal dinner, Spring Lake offers the best of both worlds. Chef specials and desserts on the daily. Try their peel and eat shrimp, it's so good!

4. The Depot

The Depot is another unique option for river views with or without a boat. Tie up docks are located just across the street at Lawler Park, or drive across the bridge to St. Feriole Island to grab food and drinks at this historic Train Depot pub. The Depot features a full bar and serves a solid menu of Wisconsin favorites like brats, burgers, fried fish, and chips. Indoor and outdoor seating with lots of tables and a beautiful view of the park and the Mississippi river.

6. The Nauti Marina & Big Buoys Bar

We can't talk about patio eats without including Big Buoys Bar, just over the river in McGregor, IA. Right off the main channel, Big Buoys has a large boat dock if you want to tie up from the river and plenty of parking if you're coming from the street. The establishment is under new ownership this year, and their website states they plan to have a steady stream of rotating food trucks available for patrons. Big Buoys has a big deck with plenty of tables and umbrellas, signature cocktails and a great view of the busy river.

5. The Sawmill Saloon Beer Garden

The Beer Garden has been a great addition to the long-standing favorite Sawmill Saloon. Tucked between two historic brick buildings, the beer garden has tables & seating peppered across the large space. An outdoor bar is stocked on busy summer nights, and the patio serves as stomping grounds for many bands throughout the summer. No food is served at the Sawmill, but feel free to wander down the block to Pete's hamburger Stand and enjoy the food in the Garden.

6. The Crooked Oar

Drive to or dock at the Crooked Oar to enjoy weekly food specials, a full indoor bar and an outdoor tiki bar overlooking the Greymore Lake area of the Mississippi River. The Crooked Oar is a popular stopping spot for boaters and the many neighboring campgrounds with action all day and night during the summer.

Watch the Crooked Oar's calendar for live music and entertainment. To find the Crooked Oar, head North out of town along the river, past the Winneshiek on your left!

6. The Blackhawk

The Blackhawk in downtown Prairie du Chien has a little something for everyone. The huge oval indoor bar, decorated with nostalgic beer memorabilia, serves a full lineup of beer, wine and specialty cocktails for enjoyment in or outside. Outside, you'll find a large gated patio that draws live music performances all summer long. Meet up with friends for a few drinks, appetizers or more in the heart of Prairie du Chien's downtown river district. The Blackhawk opens at 3 on Fridays and 11 on Saturdays.

Stay at the Corner Cottage

Corner Cottage Vacation Rental in Prairie du Chien

After a full day of golf at one (or more) of the many options in Prairie du Chien, head back to the Corner Cottage Vacation Rental, conveniently located just one block from Prairie's downtown River District. This mid-century modern, four bedroom home comfortably sleeps nine guests and features a private patio with plenty of off-street parking for your vehicles and boat.


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