Best Patio (2006)

Ernie's on Banks

Christopher Columbus stands at the south end of Bell Park pointing an index finger toward some trees as if he has made some big discovery. The six-foot sculpture ought to be rotated 90 degrees so Chris can point the way to a place that's really worth discovering, if you haven't already: Ernie's on Banks, which boasts the city's best patio. At first glance, the second-story space, which opens late in the day, isn't anything to crow about: just a few metal tables, plastic chairs and folding umbrellas. But the view of the park -- a quaint, well-shaded square of wooden bridges and running fountains -- imbues it with an irresistible charm and makes it the perfect place to catch a beer and a breeze.

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