Designer Travels: Parking Lot Patios Part 2

Designer Travels: Parking Lot Patios Part 2

The good news: The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced that it would relax some restrictions on outside dining and drinking by allowing restaurants to set up expanded dining in their parking lots.

The bad news:  I would like to see these restaurants create ambience in their new dining areas. We think al fresco dining is so charming and inviting when we travel. Why not bring it home? Please inspire me to leave my house and make me feel special. 


As many of you know, I love to travel.  For two years my daughter lived in Montreal where it is cold and it snows a lot.  As soon as the snow melts, the local restaurants run outside and take over the parking spots in front of their establishments to set up dining areas. Let’s take a look for inspiration. 

Burger Pub in Montreal


Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal is one of my favorite people watching places.  It is ground zero for the Mural Festival in the spring.  This restaurant set up their parking spot dining to reflect the woody, bohemian vibe on the inside.



Shipping Container Patio

This restaurant went all out by converting a shipping container into the ultimate outdoor Saint Laurent experience. The whole setup gets hauled off to storage right before the first snowfall. Note the ADA access ramp!


Coffee Shop Patio

This is downtown Montreal. A coffee shop. The herbs just spill over from plants at the edge of the restaurant onto the sidewalk and then the planters repeat that spillover to border the street dining deck. I love the garden hose coiled and ready for use in-between! Plants and umbrellas provide atmosphere and style in a small space. 

Open Container in Montreal

It is against the law in Montreal to enjoy an adult beverage in public. That is, unless you are eating as well… then you are welcome to drink in public parks. Let’s lobby to get that law here in Virginia!


Let’s keep with the French speaking folks and head over to Normandy, France. 

Next Stop: Deauville

Years ago we were in Deauville for chilly weather. The only seating available for 8 people was outside, so we decided to suck it up and go for it. The weather then took a surprising turn and became warm and people started to gather. The waiters added out two tables and chairs each time a car pulled out of a parking spot. It became an instant street dining experience.



Boston Brewery

I was telling my daughter in Boston about this restaurant patio blog topic and she sent me one to include, too.


It may not be the most luxe design, but the wood tones and kegs are the perfect decor for sipping a cold ale on a sunny afternoon.

Have you tried patio dining in Richmond? Share your favorite patios.


Kathy Corbet Interiors is thrilled to be featured in the upcoming book Inspired Interiors. Browse some of our most beautiful spaces alongside the work of other leading interior designers and start imagining your dream home.