The enclosed patio at The Continental offers high-backed booths, umbrellas and more to make the summer heat bearable
The scene: The Continental is an East Village staple. The bar and restaurant features great food and top-shelf drinks. We stopped by during lunch to relax on the patio behind the restaurant. At night, the patio hums with people, and on the weekend is full of people taking a break from live music inside. The patio is also, like the rest of The Continental, packed during happy hour, when a big crowd piles in for tapas specials.
What we ordered: A few $5.50 mojitos, one of The Continental's signature drinks. The mojitos are legendary for their crisp, smooth sweetness, and they were the perfect antidote to this hot summer day. We also shared a few small plates: the $6.95 smoky chipotle hummus, the $6.95 garlic mushroom caps and the $8.95 puerco pibil tacos. The tacos had a fun kick (thanks in part to the Patrón tequila in the sauce), but the mushrooms were our favorite. If you stop by during happy hour (4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday), the mushrooms are $4.95. Many other small plates are on special as well.
The view: The patio, which seats about 20, is enclosed on all sides, and features high-backed benches and wide umbrellas, meaning you can get a decent amount of privacy despite being close to your neighbors. It's cozy and quiet, and the umbrellas and high walls mean you can sit outside comfortably even in the middle of an Iowa summer.
Why you should go: The Continental is a great place to catch up with friends, eat good food (especially if you can beat the crowd to grab a booth for happy hour), and have some of the best drinks in town.
Info: 428 E. Locust St., 244-5845
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Food served until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until midnight Friday and Saturday.
Patio highlights: The walled-in patio and large umbrellas mean you can enjoy a meal and drinks comfortably, even in scorching weather.
Best for: A quiet meal with friends during the day, or enjoying nightlife without being crushed in the crowd.