With some of the best mountain biking I have ever come across, and outstanding opportunities for cultural expression, Fernie is the perfect destination. The toughest decision is which patio I’m going to sit on at the end of the day. Here are my favourite spots.
To the north-east of Fernie at the upper reaches of the Cedar Valley, The Bear Lodge Patio at Island Lake Lodge provides a stunning panoramic view of the encircling Canadian Rocky Mountains. Take a casual walk around the tranquil lake or enjoy a full-day hike among the native flora and fauna. This patio is the perfect place to enjoy Après-hike or bike, the magnificent view accompanied by a full display of hanging flower baskets and planter boxes bursting with colour. Island Lake has partnered with Fernie Brewing Company to produce “Take A Hike” pilsner, a custom beer to be enjoyed exclusively at Island Lake Lodge.
Nearby, Fernie Alpine Resort offers multiple options for dining. Cirque Restaurant is located at the base of the Elk Chair, and here I can enjoy a full meal or a light snack while savouring breathtaking view Lizard Range and the hub of activities. After a scenic chairlift ride or an adrenaline-filled day of downhill biking, my friends and I like to relive the day on the patio of the Rusty Edge, perfectly situated at the base of the mountain. The view from the patio is stellar, and the food is wholesome and delicious. On Thursdays, a juicy burger and beer combo is only ten bucks. This deal is even sweeter after competing in the Scott Thursday Race Series.
Into town, it's on to Bridge Bistro. The flower-filled deck, heat lamps for cosy evenings, and the sights and sounds of the adjacent river ensure an enjoyable evening before the food even begins to arrive. An inventive and varied menu is sure to satisfy and the well-stocked bar will quench even the biggest thirst. Speaking of thirst be sure to drop by Fernie Distillers, home to amazing craft spirits with a quaint indoor lounge and outdoor patio.
The popular patio at Yamagoya has patrons queuing up in the street from May to September. You are well advised to wear your eating pants at Yamagoya! Stretchy waistbands and loose flowing summer dresses are perfect. The sushi, sashimi, and creative, authentic, Japanese fare is so tasty that by the time you leave, you may well have consumed your weight in fusion rolls and tempura. The swift service will make sure your glass never goes empty and there's even a selection of sake and cocktails to sample. The patio is intimate and sheltered from the wind and the intense sun. Glowing Japanese lanterns and delicious views set the scene for an evening that is sure to go longer than you planned. The view of towering Mt. Fernie is sure to inspire a hike for the next day to walk off any indulgences!
In Fernie’s Historic Downtown the streets are lined with summer patios. My favourites are The Brickhouse, Lunchbox, Loaf, Big Bang Bagels and The Fernie Hotel, but that's only the start - take a walk and find your own special spot; all offer seasonal outdoor space to watch the world go by from. Perfect to sit and relax over lattes or a cool Sauvignon blanc, each location offers up delicious homemade specialities including mouthwatering mussels and fries at the Brickhouse or the Nachos at Infinitea with spiced chickpeas and corn.
And to finish off with my favourite; Nevados. The patio at Nevados is eclectic and welcoming with plenty of laughter, twinkling lights, candles, crisp mountain air, and the best margaritas in town. It’s beautifully decorated with greenery, and surrounded by the chef’s herb garden. Whether enjoying dinner or a quick lunch at the Cantina, Nevados will not disappoint. It is the best place to go after a big day of riding, as the food is always delicious and my favourite FBC beer is on tap, along with a specially-sourced selection of 27 tequilas and mezcals.
Whether you are up on the mountainside or in town, savouring a full 5-course tasting menu, grabbing a quick bite for lunch or catching up over cocktails, patio time in Fernie is always an experience. Catch a glimpse of the true heart of Fernie and leave a little of your own behind.
From content by Elizabeth Hamilton - Local Destination Enthusiast