Toronto’s best new CaféTO patios

Toronto’s best new CaféTO patios

More Summer Fun

As we start carefully emerging from isolation, seeking fresh air and normalcy along with a drink or two, the city’s restaurants and bars have got our backs. Thanks to the CaféTO program, a host of new patios have popped over the city, giving socially distanced drinkers and diners a range of excellent options, from verdant alleyway cocktail lounges and breezy backyard bars to streetside cafes perfect for people-watching. Some of our favourites go above and beyond the pylon perimeter.

 

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Civil Liberties

With any hope of a real beach vacation down the toilet, craft cocktail spot Civil Liberties has turned its backyard into an oasis, filled with lush greenery and tropical cocktails (including many conjured up in a slushie machine). The nearby Vit Beo is behind the bar’s hot dog–based menu. 878 Bloor St. W., civillibertiesbar.com
 
 

 

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Cry Baby Gallery

Slip down an alley off Dundas West to find Cry Baby Gallery’s cozy back patio, decked out with a wall of jungle plants and custom graffiti from the art-gallery-slash-cocktail-bar’s favourite artists. The potent piña colada and rotating selection of spiked slushies are easy sells. 1468 Dundas St. W., crybabygallery.ca
 
 

 

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Le Phenix

This French pop-up from the Chantecler team has had some of the best takeout during the pandemic, and it continues to pivot, opening up a colourful back patio with plenty of bench seating and oysters by the dozen. Come for the fresh air, stay for tuna crudo, roast duck and creative cocktails. 1263 Queen St. W., lephenixto.com
 
 

 

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Chotto Matte

This massive resto-bar in the Financial District has surrounded its new streetside patio with ferns and greenery, transporting diners to a tropical oasis in the shadow of the CN Tower. The full Nikkei menu is available, including skewers fresh off the Robata grill, bright ceviches and plates of torched sushi. The patio can accommodate a whopping 135 people (at a distance, of course). 161 Bay St., chotto-matte.com/toronto
 
 

 

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Déco

This Junction trattoria has transformed their stretch of Dundas West into a serene sidewalk terrace. Expect standard Italian favourites, like fresh pasta made with imported ingredients. Pair your meal with a glass (or bottle) from the extensive list of Tuscan wines. 2840 Dundas St. W., decotoronto.com
 
 

 

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Venice Beach Bar

This parking lot patio from the Bar Mordecai and Unboxed Market teams doubles down on the California vibes. The space feels refreshingly like a surf shack, where diners wash down fish tacos and street corn with slushie daiquiris and crispy beers as Beach Boys tunes float through the speakers. Bonus fun: cocktails served in petite pool floaties. Find it on the south side of Dundas West, just east of Dovercourt, behind the blue gates. vbbto.com
 
 

 

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Gio Rana’s

Leslieville’s beloved old-school Italian restaurant has brought their intimate atmosphere outdoors, complete with candlelit tables, fairy lights and projected Italian films flickering on a brick wall. It’s dinner and a movie! 1220 Queen St. E., @thenosegios

 

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The Painted Lady

This long-standing rock-and-roll refuge is bringing burlesque dancing, tropical cocktails and vacation vibes to the Ossington strip. Fresh juices and smoothies are the signatures at the Lady’s Juice Joint, but the team is happy to spike them with something stronger if you’re so inclined. 218 Ossington Ave., thepaintedlady.ca
 
 

 

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Clockwork Terrace

Thanks to a recent renovation, the Fairmont Royal York now boasts a handful of stellar cocktail spots. Clockwork has taken it to the streets with a terrace on Front, where frozen cocktails reign. Peckish? A full food menu with a focus on fresh seafood—including Maritime lobster rolls, oysters, and Fogo Island fish and chips—is on offer. 100 Front St. W., clockworktoronto.com
 
 

 

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Midsummer at Alo

Trust the city’s top restaurant to transform a street space on Wellington into a truly spectacular fine-dining experience. The Alo team has managed to completely move the restaurant en plein air, with upscale seating and white-glove service. Dine on chef Patrick Kriss’s 10-course tasting menu under a canopy. 485 Wellington St. W., exploretock.com/alomidsummer
 
 

 

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Il Patio di Eataly

The upscale Italian superstore has filled their stretch of Bay Street with tall hedges and tables under umbrellas. Aperol is the name of the game here, so expect sunny spritzes, along with a new craft-beer menu from Birroteca. 55 Bloor St. W., eataly.ca
 
 

 

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Rendezviews

The people behind the Ballroom and Fifth Social Club have commandeered a massive parking lot in the centre of downtown and filled it to the brim with physically distanced picnic tables. To limit contact, Rendezviews runs on a token system—$10.50 will get you a drink from the Martini, Bacardi or Tito’s bar. Beers and ready-to-drink cocktails are also available, as well as a rotating range of substantial snacks, like barbecued burgers, wraps and wings. 229 Richmond St. W., rendezviews.ca

Know of any other excellent #CafeTO patios? Let us know by emailing food@torontolife.com