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Valley Brew serves up ambiance, Delta breeze
Valley Brew in Stockton. - photo by HIME ROMERO

STOCKTON – The patio at Valley Brew during the summertime is fickle. 

If it’s too hot outside then it sits barren – an obstacle between patrons who park along Pacific Avenue and the cozy confines of one of the area’s most unique haunts. 

But get a good Delta breeze and some comfortable temperatures, and the hum of conversation and the clanking of glasses can be heard over the noise of the busy thoroughfare that runs right alongside.

Good food. Good drinks. Good times. A great way to unwind when the stifling Central Valley heat isn’t making walking outdoors an unbearable experience, and a chance to experience the ambiance and the electricity that Bay Area dining establishments tout as their ace in the hole. 

Just because it gets hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk doesn’t mean that there aren’t places worth going to where those eggs fry just as well on the grill. 

Here are a few places worth checking out if outdoor dining or taking advantage of a cool evening are something you’re looking forward to:

• Valley Brewing Company – This place has been a staple of Stockton’s Miracle Mile for years, and features a wide array of sports memorabilia that pays homage to not only sports across the spectrum, but local athletes that have made a huge impact as well. Jerseys from Stockton icons Ed Sprague and Eddie Guardado hang from the rafters. But it’s the outdoor dining patio that helps make it something of a rarity – the kind of place where you and your friends can sit for hours arguing sports and feel like you’re on your back patio at home. Beachfront bars have long capitalized on this ability, but on the right night, Stockton can bottle it as well. 157 W. Adams, Stockton. 209.464.2739

• Harvest Moon Restaurant – Downtown Modesto can be awash in young twentysomethings plowing their way into the trendy bars and nightclubs. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good places to capture a relaxing atmosphere. Located right on I Street in heart of all that goes on, Harvest Moon offers a fine dining atmosphere at affordable prices and provides a bistro-style patio section you’d expect to find in North Beach. It isn’t over the top and it isn’t pretentious. It’s just what you want when you’re looking for something exotic like gumbo while still offering classic fine staples like rack of lamb and stuffed filet mignon. Order an appetizer or a bottle of wine or a beer. Just go. 1213 I Street, Modesto. 209.523.9723

• Garlic Brothers Restaurant and Bar – Tucked right near the confluence of Stockton’s Deep Water Channel and Fourteen Mile Slough, Garlic Brothers offers a riverfront dining and drinking experience that is second to none. The wood fired grill and oven offers a food flavor that’s unique, but it’s the outdoor patio that makes it’s a great evening haunt – enjoying a cold beer while taking in the sights and the sounds of the area’s nautical heritage. 6629 Embarcadero, Stockton. 209.474.6585