Bayfront Grille at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel - Regional cuisine meets breathtaking views at the Bayfront Grille waterfront restaurant. Experience a fresh take on casual dining with creative menu selections. The relaxed hotel eatery offers American fare all day in a scenic setting with a patio & gorgeous views of Presque Isle Bay. BONUS: You can still enjoy dining outside in the winter; yes…winter. During the colder months heated dining igloos dot the Bayfront Grill’s patio. Open daily, year-round.
MUST TRY: Corn & crab chowder and the beautifully plated Cucumber Wrapped Salad. Enjoy it with a Presque Isle Old Fashion cocktail.
Oliver’s Rooftop Restaurant – Located on the 8th floor of the new Hampton Inn & Suites Bayfront Hotel, Oliver’s Rooftop features breathtaking views of Erie’s Bayfront District/Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie while treating their guests to inventive and extraordinary chef-inspired cuisine. Oliver’s is truly a one-of-a-kind culinary destination that pays homage to Erie’s rich maritime history. Oliver’s is named in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry, an American naval commodore, who is most known for his heroic role in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Open year-round.
MUST TRY: Oliver’s Gourmet Burger, complete with bacon jam and Muenster cheese! Their extensive cocktail menu includes fun concoctions such as Walk the Plank, Commodore’s Manhattan and the Erie Tundra.
Rum Runners – Rum Runners has been an Erie waterfront dining staple since 1988. They are the quintessential spot for summertime fun and boast a spectacular viewpoint of Presque Isle Bay. Over the years, they have consistently been voted the “#1 Erie Summertime Hangout” and “Erie’s Best Patio”. Specializing in amazing burgers, salads, sandwiches and of course cocktails! Open seasonally and NOW Open!
MUST TRY: Deb’s Bermuda Shorts Burger and their hugely popular signature drink, the Rum Runner! Can we get one (or four) now, please?
Shoreline Bar & Grille at the Courtyard Bayfront Hotel – The Shoreline Bar & Grille is a unique cocktail bar and eatery inspired by the Great Lakes. Discover a standout selection of localized dishes made with fresh, regional ingredients along with various curated beer/wine/cocktail menu. Enjoy the casual, laid-back atmosphere indoors or head outside to their full-service patio surrounded by lush foliage and views of Presque Isle Bay. Open year-round.
MUST TRY: Gulf shrimp and lump crab roll on toasted brioche with the signature Shoreline Old Fashioned cocktail.
Other Waterfront Outside Dining Recommendations and What to Try
The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern (open seasonally) – Scallyburg Burger with a Presque Isle Pleasure cocktail
JR’s on the Bay/Sloppy Duck Saloon (Open seasonally) Their Coconut Shrimp Mandarin Salad combined with The Sloppy Duck cocktail (think long island ice tea but with orange and pineapple juices) definitely puts you in a summertime mood.
Noosa – (patio opens in June) Located in North East, PA on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, an America’s Byway, this hidden waterfront gem features the Noosa Short Rib Burger that is sooooo worth the drive!
Pier 6 Rooftop Bar & Restaurant (opening this June!)
Smugglers Wharf (temporarily closed. Fingers crossed they re-open soon because their outdoor garden patio is gorgeous!)
Woody’s Backwater BARge & Grill (open seasonally) – Smoked Salmon Salad with a Wobbly Worm cocktail
Calamari’s Squid Row – Established in 1996, Calamari’s is that great neighborhood place you always return to. Mixing big city chic with innovative takes on menu items featuring locally grown ingredients, there’s definitely something for everyone! Their sunny outdoor patio is perfect to enjoy Sunday brunch, happy hour or dinner under the stars. Not into a lot of sun? No worries! Calamari’s patio also has shaded areas.
MUST TRY: The Calamari appetizer (obviously!) and the Filet Croissant Sandwich with Tots. Pair it with one of 150 craft beers in stock.
Molly Brannigan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant – Molly Brannigan’s has been a beloved downtown Erie destination for nearly 20 years. Her warm and welcoming hospitality is rivaled only by her cooking. Expect the finest homemade Irish fare, along with a wee bit of the unexpected, including hand crafted cocktails and fast, fresh lunches. With perfect pours, creative cuisine and modern conveniences, Molly’s welcomes you to experience a true Erie legend.
MUST TRY: Potato Leek Soup with an authentic (and huge!) Reuben Sandwich! Pair it with an Irish Kiss or Irish Goodbye cocktail.
The Plymouth Tavern – A long standing tradition in Erie since 1973, people have been meeting at The Plymouth to relax, converse, and be entertained in the heart of downtown for generations. Their menu is packed with classic from-scratch dishes and daily specials incorporating seasonal, local ingredients. From delicious appetizers to tasty salads, inspired entrees to decadent desserts, your meal will be one of a kind. Their beautiful outdoor garden patio is ready for your small gathering or casual meet-up.
MUST TRY: Plymouth Tavern favorite Philly Steak Sandwich with Fries paired with one of their “Cocktails with Toys for Big Girls and Boys”-Plymouth’s Rum Punch. Drinks that come with toys?! We’re in!
Voodoo Brewery – Located on the first floor of the historic Boston Store, Voodoo Brewery has taken their brewing experiences and quirky personalities and wrapped it up into a line of beers and food menu that are fun, flavorful, and thought-provoking. Using garage door style windows that can be opened up during warmer weather makes for a unique indoor/outdoor downtown dining experience.
MUST TRY: Their famous Foodoo Burger paired with a Voodoo Love Child fruited Belgian style Tripel Ale
Other Downtown Outside Dining Recommendations and What to Try
The Brewerie at Union Station – Sit trackside and enjoy an order of Beer Battered Deep Fried Pickles and the smashing Train Wreck Sandwich paired with an Uncle Jackson’s Blond Ale or Hopness Monster IPA
Cloud 9 Wine Bar & Restaurant – Sunday Brunch, Sunday Brunch, Sunday Brunch and Bloody Marys…need we say more!?
Lavery Brewing & Restaurant – Their menu changes frequently but if you get the chance to snag any one of their inventive tacos, you’re winning. Pair it with Dulachan IPA or Asphalt Body Surfer.
U-Pick 6 Tap House – The Anniversary Hand-Crafted Sandwich on an everything bagel is scrumptious! We suggest having it with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Blackberry Porter.
In and Around Town
The Cork 1794 - Get ready for an experience like no other! The Cork features a seamless atmosphere of uncommon style, comfort and service. And of course the food and beverages are expertly crafted to be beautiful, satisfying and truly special. Their delicious menu was painstakingly developed by a talented culinary team, delivering everything you would expect from a high end restaurant. Dine in their outside patio for big-city feel in a modern cozy setting.
MUST TRY: Their menu changes seasonally but one incredible constant is their baked mac n cheese…creamy deliciousness. The truffle fries are good too! Get them both with a Raspberry Fizz, which you can also get to go!
Edinboro Lake Resort Sunset Grill - The only place to enjoy casual lakefront dining and beautiful cabin accommodations right on picturesque Edinboro Lake. The Sunset Grill is open spring through fall, 7 days a week, including holidays! Live music Thursdays through Sundays sets the stage for a perfect meal on the water.
MUST TRY: Jake’s Mistake Panini paired with a shot of locally made Luminary Distilling Limoncello.
Madeline’s Dining & Events – Located in the former Crowley’s on Route 18 in Cranesville and set among beautifully landscaped grounds, Madeline’s is worth the short drive from the City. Full of history, warmth and charm with a modern polished brightness of the wood, ambiance of the lighting and the scenic views give it a rustic yet elegant feel. It's a comfortable space to enjoy a casual meal, date night, party or special event. Madeline’s outdoor dining space is quite expansive. Complete with plenty of patio seating, rolling greens, flowers and a pond, it isn’t uncommon to spot a few deer while enjoying the fresh country air.
MUST TRY: Fig & Pig Sandwich with an appetizer of Reuben Dip, yes please! Try it while sipping Madeline’s signature cocktail – the brightly colorful (and heavy hitting) Firefly!
Oasis Pub & Tiki Bar – Summer is one of the best times to be in Erie and the Oasis Pub & Tiki Bar is just minutes from Presque Isle State Park and Waldameer Park! The Tiki Bar is the largest outdoor area on Erie's west side and is perfect for happy hour or get-togethers big and small for when Erie's weather turns beautiful. They offer daily food and drink specials along with a catering menu and party areas, fruity frozen summer drinks, live acoustics every Friday and Sunday, and fire pits for those chilly Erie evenings. In addition to being open for lunch and dinner, you can also head there on Sundays for a delicious brunch where the options are seemingly endless!
MUST TRY: Sunday Brunch with The Ultimate Bloody Mary complete with shrimp, bacon, hard-boiled egg, salami and more! Can’t make it on Sundays? Go during the week and try their Great White Specialty Flatbread with an appetizer of Fried Cheese Curds.
Sneaky Pete’s - They may only be open for dinner but boy do they bring it! Located just 15 minutes from downtown Erie, step back into days gone by with an intimate setting of beautiful tiffany lamps, Waterford crystal, natural wood burning fireplace and an outdoor deck and patio dining area. Between the fantastic food and creative cocktails, you can’t sneak out, in fact, you’ll most likely roll out after enjoying so much great food and drink!
MUST TRY: Their blackboard menu changes weekly (which is worth checking out!) however their pub menu has impressive standards such as various Imported CharcutERIE Boards and the Mushroom Flatbread. With such an extensive cocktail menu it was really hard to pick a favorite but we went with The Sneaky Pete. You have to try one to figure out what’s in it because they’re too sneaky to tell us!
Other Around Town Outdoor Dining Recommendations (Hungry yet?)
698 Roadhouse – The Roadhouse Triple B Burger
Altered State Distillery – No in-house restaurant however local food trucks flock there frequently.
The Colony Pub & Grille – Pan fried perch – voted Erie’s best!
Donatos Pizza – Try a cauliflower crust pizza with your favorite toppings; you won’t be sorry.
Federal Hill Smokehouse – Smoked meats rule the roost here and on Thursdays it’s all about the beef ribs!
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill (seasonal patio) – Watch the Millcreek Mall hustle and bustle while noshing on ahi tuna tacos and sipping a signature Double Black Diamond Martini.
John Russel Brewing Company – From their wood-fired brick oven; the Chicken Pesto Flatbread is perfect to pair with a pint of Pursue Your Hoppiness.
Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro – This Southern bistro is famous for their sweet and savory Chicken and Waffles and no trip would be complete without a slice of homemade Coconut Cake. Delish!
Pressed - Enjoy your favorite flavored coffee or espresso, tea, baked goods (from Whole Foods Co-op) or a book with good friends!
Quaker Steak & Lube (seasonal) – Known for their wings, both wet and dry, we recommend garlic parmesan for the mild at heart and dusted ghost pepper for the wild at heart.
Samurai Kitchen & Sushi – Fresh and always artfully plated, we suggest the Erie Sunset Roll to enjoy on their outdoor patio and as a bonus when it’s cold outside, they fire up heated igloos to keep you warm.
Sara’s Restaurant – The insanely popular 50’s themed diner just outside the entrance to Presque Isle State Park features Erie’s own Smith’s brand Foot-long Hot Dogs, freshly squeezed Lemonade and the dreamy creamy Orange/Vanilla Twist Cone.
Syd’s Place – The Broiled or Fried Fisherman’s Platter is a great choice when eating at one of Erie’s long-standing seafood favorites.
Underdog BBQ – The restaurant born from the Discovery Channel’s “Undercover Billionaire”, has a 3-meat platter of either brisket, ribs, turkey or pulled pork that will make your mouth water before you even get out of your car.
U Pick 6 Harbor House and U Pick 6 Public House – Located in Harborcreek PA and Southwest Erie (respectively), we think the best route to go either place is an Apple Harvest Salad or a White Truffle Specialty Pizza. Try a pint of Chuck the Night Watchmen Irish Style Stout or Me & Julio Mexican Lager to round out your trip.
Lake Erie Wine Country
Many of our Lake Erie Wine Country partners offer various forms of outdoor seating (not necessarily dining) so that you can enjoy your favorite bottle of wine nestled among the vineyards. Some wineries offer limited food choices or you can bring your own picnic. (pictured: Courtyard Winery Outdoor Patio)
Please check with each individual winery for specifics.
Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing
6 Mile Wine Cellars
21 Brix Winery
Arundel Cellars & Brewing
Johnson Estate Winery LLC
Lakeview Wine Cellars
Penn Shore Vineyards
Presque Isle Wine Cellars
South Shore Wine Company