Summer is in full swing and the patios are packin', so we want to know which public patio is the best. We're not talking about somebody's personal patio, we mean a restaurant or bar's patio. There is only one rule to make note of before nominating your favorite; it must be located in Northern Illinois or Southern Wisconsin.

Start thinking of your favorite spot now because the area is loaded with fantastic patios so narrowing it down to only one could be a challenge.

What makes a patio great?

There are a lot of different reasons some patios may be better than others. The list could get very depth so let's focus on 10 things a patio needs in order to be considered "the best."

  • A great patio should have comfortable seating. The chairs don't necessarily need cushions but the higher the comfort level the better.
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  • Speaking of comfort, a great patio should have plenty of space to move without doing that awkward side-step/squeeze-through when walking to your table.
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  • Another must is for the evening crowd, a great patio has the perfect outdoor lighting. Define that however you wish.
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  • A great patio should give guests a break from the sun if possible. Patio umbrellas are great, awnings are even better.
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  • A great patio makes the dining/drinks experience pleasurable for all guests by controlling the bug situation. Obviously, we're outside so we shouldn't be too upset about an occasional unwanted guest but we also don't want to be chopping at bugs like Mr. Miyagi.
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  • Music is a must on a patio. It doesn't have to be live music but if it is that is great too.
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  • Not all patios can squeeze in a fire pit but if the bar or restaurant can make it happen that is a very good perk to offer guests.
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  • A great patio should have outdoor games off to the side, and a few bags (cornhole) sets should be highly considered.
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  • A great patio should have enough servers to accommodate the number of guests dining outdoors.
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  • Arguably the most important thing for an outdoor patio is an outdoor bar for guests to sit around. If it's Tiki-themed they get bonus points.
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With those factors in mind, it's time to nominate your favorite bar or restaurant patio so we can narrow down the list leading to the number one patio in the 815/608.

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