With this crazy pandemic sticking around for longer than any of us would like or would have thought it could, I bet many are missing our dining out days. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite places that offer heated patio, igloos, shanties, huts or any other creative set up to keep us comfortable and safe. But before we jump to the list, keep in mind two things:
- Even though areas are covered and/or heated this is still Michigan and this is still winter! So bundle up, bring a blanket and dress in warm layers.
- Not all restaurants have the area or capacity to offer outdoor dining, so please make sure to still support your local favorites by ordering take out.
- Information is taken directly from their website, but I recommend you call in advance to check on availability.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN, lower peninsula
1. Chateau Chantal, Traverse City
As the weather turns colder you may reserve an IGLOO in which to enjoy some wine! The reservation will book an igloo for 2-6 people, but you must purchase the wine choices (you may do so from the website 48-hours before reservation, or when you arrive at the winery.)
Each igloo accommodates 4-6, but their website will say “1-Adult” even though the $20 ticket is for an igloo. (From 11/18/2020-1/15/2021 in compliance with the intent of the Michigan Health code rules we are limiting igloos to a maximum of 6 people)
ALL tasting room visits need to make a reservation in advance to prevent lines, congestion, and to limit interactions. When you arrive at the winery please “check-in” first, then you may ‘pick-up’ your flight or glass at the bar. Once you pick-up your wine they will have an IGLOO ready for you on their patio.
What they will ask of you during these difficult times:
1. When inside please wear a face mask and appropriately social distance.
2. The reservation is for 60 minutes.
3. You may pre-purchase wine or you may purchase wine when you arrive. Choices will include either a 5 oz. glass of wine or a flight of 3-wines (1.5-2 oz ea)
4. Each reservation will also have a $4 service fee per IGLOO which will be given to your server as a tip
5. You will have an opportunity to add food items, bottles of wine to-go, and other products to a ticket when you pick up your wine flight (or glass).
More information: Chateau Chantal
2. Hop Lot, Traverse City
Igloo reservations are recommended and can be scheduled via their social media sites, and hoplotbrewing.com (“Make a Reservation” button)
All igloo guests MUST be from the same household.
Enjoy food and beverage in the wonderfully-delightful, Northern Michigan elements next to a glowing-hot firepit. Minimum of 5 fires on weekends and more firepits coming!
“Our beautiful outdoor space gives us a unique opportunity to far exceed standard social distancing guidelines that will keep both our guests and staff safe and comfortable. We’re excited to bring you this environment, however, some things will not look the same.
We ask that you please read and follow these Beer Garden rules, and encourage you to share them with friends and family that may plan to visit Hop Lot throughout the year.”
More information: Hop Lot
3. Ethanology, Elk Rapids
Yurt Reservations must be made prior to arrival.
When you arrive check in with host.
Reservations are for 75min (1:15) from your reservation time, not your arrival time.
Yurt Reservations will only be taken and granted upon arrival to a single *household of 6 people or less. *Household means a group of people living together in a shared dwelling with common kitchen or bathroom facilities.
When visiting the Distillery you are required to wear a mask when not seated at your table. No exceptions!
No outside beverages. No smoking.
Yurt/cocktail service can ONLY be obtained through using the virtual Bar Waitlist below when you are seated at your Yurt.
Guests are expected to maintain a 6’+ distance from those not in their party.
More information: Ethanology
4. Boyne Valley Vineyards, Petoskey
We will be offering outside service (wine served by the glass) by the firepit (first come, first serve) or in our heated igloos or teepee by reservation only (Friday 2-6, Saturday 12-7 and Sunday 12-5). Igloo rentals are $25 for a 55-minute period. Teepee rental is $75 for a 55-minute period.
We will also be offering curbside service by appointment only.
Please call 231-373-2090 for igloo/teepee reservations, curbside appointments or general inquiries.
Food Available – We currently offer the following:
Cheese and Cracker Plate
Hummus and Naan Bread Bite Plate
More information: Boyne Valley Vineyards
5. Hopscotch Brick Oven, Traverse City
Our outdoor dining is off to a great start and the reservations are filling very quickly. This has been a “learn as we go” experience for us and this weekend Mother Nature presented us with a new challenge! Full service dining in a snow storm! Our staff has been incredibly adaptive and are working so hard. As our demand goes up and the elements pose more challenges we wanted to keep you all posted on a few notes for what to expect when dining with us.
*Outdoor dining is by reservation
Please call 231-252-4718 we do not take online reservations
*Reservations are one hour
*We do not take requests for specific dwellings (we have to move things around based on group sizes and times)
*Please dress for the elements! Our spaces are all heated but we encourage dressing warm.
*Rental fees are $10 for your hour and will be added to your bill.
*PLEASE remember to be patient and kind. This is new to all of us and we are working very hard to make sure we can offer our services.
And most important, TIP GENEROSLY! This is a very hard time for restaurant employees and we like to offer our business to those that appreciate the efforts we are putting forth!
More information: Hopscotch
6.Little Traverse Inn, Traverse City
The Ice Shanty Village is open. We can’t wait to share it with you.
We have 3 of our beautiful winter dining areas open this evening and will have all 5 tomorrow. For those that would rather we are still doing carry out. Call us for carry out or to reserve a shanty at 231-228-2560 and enjoy some great food, fine ale and good cheer.
More information: Little Traverse Inn
other options in northern michigan
- Iron Fish Distillery // 14234 Dzuibanek Rd., Thompsonville
- Glen Arbor Wines // 5873 S. Lake St., Glen Arbor
- French Valley Vineyard // 3655 S. French Rd., Cedar
- Taproot Cider House // 300 East Front St., Traverse City
- West Bay Beach Resort // 615 E. Front St., Traverse City
- Traverse City Whiskey // 201 E. 14th St., Traverse City
- Robby’s Mexican & Spanish Cuisine // 1796 S. Garfield Ave., Traverse City
- Left Foot Charley // 806 Red Dr. Suite 100, Traverse City
- The Workshop Brewing Company // 221 Garland St., Traverse City
- Bier’s Inwood Brewery // 17959 Ferry Rd., Charlevoix
- Pallete Bistro // 321 Bay St., Petoskey
- Roast & Toast // 309 E. Lake St., Petoskey
- WaterFire Vineyards // 12180 Sutter Road, Kewadin
metro detroit & Ann Arbor
1. Mint 29 Dearborn
Upscale fusion steakhouse and seafood offering igloo dining, each with their own heater and a $150 minimum requirement.
Reserve your Igloo today at 313-438-0507, seats are limited.
More information: Mint29
2. Royal Oak Brewery
And then there were FOUR.
We now have four Igloos available for reservation. We are booked solid until December 26th. Give us a call Wed – Sun from 3 PM to 8 PM if you want to book! We’re already filling slots in early 2021!
Our outdoor patio biergarten is open, weather permitting on a first come, first served basis during our business hours and we are always offering curbside carry out during those times as well.
Our hours at this time are
Mon – Tue: Closed
Wed, Thu, Sun: 3 PM – 8 PM
Fri, Sat: 3 PM – 10 PM
The Masked Brew Crew
More information: Royal Oak Brewery
3. Watermark Bar and Grille, St. Claire Shores
We can’t wait to host your private party in our waterfront igloos! We just have a few important terms and conditions for you to read through before your visit.
Booked at the manager’s discretion
Private Igloo bookings are for a maximum of 6 guests.
If you are simply running late for your reservation, please let us know. Letting us know does not mean that we can extend your reservation time.
Please note that your table is booked from the time your booking begins, not your arrival time. Parties arriving late will nevertheless need to adhere to the above booking times.
Igloos are reserved for an hour and a half and will be strictly adhered to. We want to be courteous to others that have made reservations.
The full Watermark bar and grille menu is available.
A 20% service charge will be added to your final bill.
Food and beverage spending minimum
Two people $100
Four people $200
Six people $300
More information: Watermark
4. Tavern at Tina’s, macomb
Enjoy a private dining experience inside our warm and cozy igloos! Igloo accommodates up to 8 diners comfortably. They also offer Ice Shanties, private tent-like dining.
More information: Tavern At Tina’s
5. Lake Inn Food & Spirits, Lapeer
Igloo Booking & Reservation Policies:
All reservations must be booked online on our website; no phone reservations will be taken.
There is a $150.00 minimum food and beverage spend for Monday-Thursday bookings and a $200.00 minimum spend for Friday-Sunday bookings (note: gratuity is not included toward minimum).
Up to 10 guests per igloo maximum, no exceptions.
Strict 2-hour time limit. We reserve 15 minutes of your 2-hour reservation to prepare the igloo.
Cancellations must be made via phone at least 48 hours before reservation time. No show or failure to cancel without 48-hour notice will result in a $150.00 cancellation fee.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
More information: Lake Inn Lapeer
6. EastEats, Detroit
Join us for Detroit’s freshest socially-distanced outdoor dining experience! Serving small fusion plates with eastern inspiration! Bring your own adult beverages. Large parties 4+ preferred! Limited small party reservations available, add yourself to our waitlist to be notified of openings.
Our domes are heated, rolling you right in to the winter season.
Feel free to bring a blanket. We promise you won’t need it.
More information: EastEats
7. Detroit Fleat, Ferndale
Join Detroit Fleat this season as we transform our amazing patio into a winter wonderland with six cozy, heated igloos perfect for socially distanced dining.
We are taking every measure possible to ensure our igloos are safe by thoroughly cleaning, sanitizing & equipping each with a HEPA filtration space heater.
Our team has curated exciting offerings to enhance your igloo dining experience -from a Hot Cocoa Bar to S’mores Kits to a Beer Barge- making your gathering one-of-a-kind!
More information: Detroit Fleat
8. Blake farms, almont
Only 1 ticket is needed to for your entire group (1 ticket=1 igloo)
All reservations must be made online, reservations cannot be made over the phone.
Advance reservations are required
Igloos seat up to 10 guests, as long as they are from the same household.
All reservations are for a 2-hour time period
A $50 deposit per igloo is required to reserve your spot.
There is a minimum $150 food and drink spend the day of your visit.
A 15% gratuity will be applied to your total bill, we welcome you to add additional gratuity as you feel necessary.
Cancellations must be made via email at least 48 hours in advance. No show or failure to cancel without 48-hour’s notice will result in a $50 fee.
We reserve the right to cancel your reservation due to inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances
Guests will be able to enjoy the regular Tasting Room menu, and full drink menu inside the Igloos.
Each igloo is heated and decorated.
Igloos will be fully sanitized between each reservation and have 30 minutes to air out.
More information: Blake Farms
9. Bobcat Bonnie's, Wyandotte
Before you book, there are a few things you should know. Due to high demand, we have moved all of our reservations online and it is NOT possible to book your reservation over the phone. Please do not call the restaurant to book your igloo.
The igloos are roughly 12′ in diameter and made from durable, weather resistant materials. They come fully furnished and decorated with a large round table and seating for up to 6 guests. In addition to our great food and service, we have available for sale a blanket (or you can bring your own) and we will provide a small heater to help maintain a comfortable temperature in the igloo.
Although the igloos are resistant to weather, they are not impervious to mother nature. If weather becomes a concern or makes conditions unfavorable for service or safety, we will cancel your reservation and notify you as soon as possible. Space and times for igloos are LIMITED. All reservations are for seating groups up to 6 persons. The maximum amount of time allotted for guests is 90 minutes. We ask that you please be prompt and respect the time limits in place so that we may accommodate our other guests. If you are running late- that will cut into your dining time as the igloos are booked at specific times, back to back.
Deposit to hold is $50
More information: Bobcat Bonnie’s
10. Clarkston Union, Clarkston
This is the kind of legit food that you’re not going to find at those places with proprietary birthday songs. No. There’s nothing in the Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen that isn’t thoroughly real. The oak. The pews. The stained glass. The beers. The dressings. The tattoos on the servers (you do not want to try to rub one off). It’s all about delivering the real, the coarse and the authentic in a world that is often only packaged to deliver food as honest as this. It started as a promise to dish out the kind of handcrafted grub that you’d have expected to find on main street back in the day when parking lots had horse posts in them.
More information: Clarkston Union
11. Honcho Latin Street Food and Coffee, clarksto1
When you’re named after a term American soldiers brought back from the Pacific theater in WWII but sounds straight out of a spaghetti western; you’re bound to be a bit twisted. The Honcho kitchen is exactly that: Latin food that speaks with an Asian accent but lives here on Main Street. Spicy, funky, streety, whatever it is … It’s at home at Honcho.
More information: Honcho
12. the white horse inn, metamora
Couldn’t end this Metro Detroit list without mentioning one of my very favorite restaurants in the area!
The White Horse Inn invites you to dine outdoors this winter in our heated igloos. The unique experience, which we will offer October 27 through February 28, accommodates up to 10 guests and requires advance reservations.
There is a $250 minimum food and beverage purchase required. Gratuity is not included in minimum.
Strict 2-hour reservation. We reserve 15 minutes of your 2-hour reservation to prepare the igloo.
There is a non-refundable $5 online booking fee.
More information: The White Horse Inn