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Patio season is SO CLOSE: Where and when you can start dining al fresco

Sea Salt's opening is mere days away!

Sea Salt's opening is mere days away! Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune

Spring has sprung!

Well, sort of. The spring equinox has passed, but that doesn’t mean we’re enjoying crocuses and daffodils and radiant sunshine just yet.

But another sign of spring is approaching: the patio opening. Yes, they’re largely weather dependent, but we chatted with the restaurants that have some of the best patios around town to find out when you can begin dining outdoors.

Sea Salt
Oh, to sit outside with the rush of Minnehaha Falls in your ears as you house a giant fish sandwich and sip a cold beer! Wind in your hair, sun on your face, and body not covered in three layers. You’ll be able to do this again beginning March 30. 4825 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; 612-721-8990, seasalteatery.wordpress.com

Meritage
Meritage is planning to open their sidewalk patio on Easter Day -- April 1 -- should the weather allow. Our fingers are crossed that the weather doesn’t play any April Fool’s tricks so we can slurp our oysters in fresh air. 410 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651-222-5670, meritage-stp.com

Fig + Farro
The new vegetarian and vegan comfort food spot is planning to open their patio just as soon as weather permits. With a mix of communal and individual tables, the patio’s debut should make it a lovely and flexible gathering space for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike in Uptown. Keep an eye on social media for updates. 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-208-0609, figandfarro.com

W.A. Frost and Co.
When can you snag a coveted spot on W.A. Frost’s patio? They're taking it day by day, and the staff will start by opening the patio only for lunch service while evenings remain cool. They’ll accept reservations for patio lunches in April, so long as you accept the caveat that your midday springtime feast may need to be moved indoors. 374 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-224-5715, wafrost.com

Hola Arepa
Hola Arepa is taking a measured and realistic approach to their patio opening. The criteria: late April, snow is gone, and it’s above 60 degrees. So keep your thermometers handy, and when the mercury is just right, head over for some arepas and fun cocktails. 3501 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612-345-5583, holaarepa.com

Moscow on the Hill
Tucked away behind Moscow on the Hill’s bar and restaurant is their leafy patio. Insulated from the traffic on Selby Ave., it’s the perfect spot for enjoying a chilly martini and some blini with caviar. Martina at Moscow promises they’ll be the first to open their patio. If it weren’t for the snow earlier in the week, it would be open already. 371 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-1236, moscowonthehill.com

4Bells
While you can dine on 4Bells’ rooftop in any weather thanks to the enclosed dining room, the open-air dining area is purely seasonal. 4Bells will have the furniture out and ready on the rooftop by April 9 should warm weather strike. If that’s too chancy for you, wait until April 30, when the outdoor area will definitely be open. 1610 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis; 612-904-1163, 4bells.com

The Lexington
Ready for a tiki happy hour on a rooftop near bustling Grand Avenue? The Lexington is, too. Whenever the weather is finally ready to cooperate, they’ll announce a heat wave happy hour for their rooftop bar. Stop by for a drink and some Portuguese donuts with coconut dipping sauce. 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-289-4990, thelexmn.com

Aster Cafe
Per a March 18 tweet, Aster Cafe’s patio will be open “in a few weeks.” Major points for posting something constructed to get us excited to sip cocktails and admire the Minneapolis skyline while also playing a little coy. 125 SE Main St., Minneapolis; 612-379-3138, astercafe.com

Louis Ristorante & Bar
The rooftop taverna of Louis Ristorante gives you an expansive view of downtown St. Paul and the river. Starting in mid- to late April, you’ll once again be able to relax on this lovely perch and snack on arancini and bruschetta. 211 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 651-222-3476, cossettas.com

Sandcastle
One of Sandcastle’s recent tweets promised they’re “looking at April with summertime eyes” for their opening. If you want a more detailed opening date, well, it’s all dependent on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. Before opening for the season, Sandcastle has to wait for their water to be turned on. 4955 W. Lake Nokomis Pkwy., Minneapolis; 612-722-5550, sandcastlempls.com

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
The tiki bar’s dockside outdoor lounge will re-open on April 1, just in time for Easter. Before you know it, you -- and perhaps your pup! -- will be chilling on that torch-lit patio, rum drink in hand. 1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-788-9069, psychosuzis.com

Day by Day Cafe
Day by Day Cafe promises their patio will be open for business by Mother’s Day: May 13. However, the patio is often set up and ready to go before then, usually once the snow has all melted. Whether the weather will cooperate remains to be seen, but people are welcome to sit on the patio before Mother’s Day, if they like. 477 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 651-227-0654, daybyday.com

Hi-Lo Diner
Hi-Lo, known for schlepping its shiny diner in from Gibsonia, Pa., just celebrated their second birthday. The Lake Street spot has drawn hungry folks to its chrome decor with hi-tops and fun cocktails -- and a cozy patio, where you could be sitting right now! "We did bring a few tables and chairs out from storage today and will most likely let people sit out weather permitting from here on out," Hi-Lo's Rebekah Cook told us in an email on Wednesday. 4020 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-353-6568, hi-lo-diner.com

Sweeney’s Saloon
Tucked behind this wooden-floored bar is a gem of a patio. Secluded and filled with greenery and sunlight, it’s made for summer happy hours and lingering into the night. And Sweeney’s beat almost everyone to the punch by sort of opening their patio on St. Patrick’s Day. By sort of, we mean that the bar wasn’t open, just the seating area. We’ll have to wait for consistently warmer weather before Sweeney’s lets the outdoor taps flow freely. 96 Dale St. N., St. Paul; 651-221-9157, sweeneyssaloon.com