Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #7. Patios aren’t just for summer
1 Ceili Cottage’s giant plastic-wrapped yurt is low on curb appeal, but inside, the 35-seat rotunda is steamy and intimate. The latticework walls that support the colourful, intricately painted roof spokes are insulated with swaths of sheep’s wool. Servers deliver heaping plates of comfort food (bangers and mash, say, or mac and cheese with ludicrous quantities of double-smoked bacon) and hot toddies to candlelit tables while patrons rifle through crates of classic ’70s vinyl and play DJ on the old RadioShack turntable. 1301 Queen St. E., 416-406-1301.
2 Overhead heaters and ultra-modern slate outdoor fireplaces keep Mill Street’s Beer Hall toasty. Cuddle up with a cup of house-made bierschnapps or mulled Wit, Belgian wheat beer steeped with warming winter spices. 21 Tank House Ln., 416-681-0338.
3 The winter theme for the Drake Hotel’s rooftop patio is ice fishing, with mini-huts for two dotting the space, and rum cocktails to warm your cockles. 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.
4 At Big Crow, Anthony Rose serves grilled meat and smoky beans in a modern sugar shack with wood-fire smell from the grill. 176 Dupont St., 647-748-3287.
5 Midtown’s best winter haven is David Sidhu’s party-centric Playa Cabana Hacienda. The heated upper deck is enclosed with pine walls, and staff deliver pitchers of cinnamon-spiced sangria. 14 Dupont St., 647-352-6030.