Toronto’s best patios right now
While we’re ever-thankful for the new crop of streetside situations the pandemic gave us, we can’t overlook our tried-and-true patios—the leafy pub spaces into which we plunk ourselves after work and the covered rooftops where we’ve been refuelling for years. These aren’t necessarily new, or particularly fancy, but they’re some of our favourite places to enjoy a drink during alfresco season.
Even Kiefer Sutherland and Bette Midler have paid this Danforth legend a visit. Head out back where patio tables circle a century-old willow tree and order something from the mile-long beer menu—or perhaps one of the city’s best burgers.
A few years back, this brunch favourite turned its back alley into a sweet space to dig into the kitchen’s breakfast stacks, burritos, curry chicken sandwiches and heaping kale salads. The backyard beer garden is a great spot to sip on bottomless coffee or open up a bottle of small-producer wines, like a crunchy, funky rosé.
This east end institution also turned its backyard into a cozy patio, decking it out with all kinds of foliage in the form of potted plants. Expect no-fuss Mediterranean plates: steamed mussels with white wine and cream, baked polenta, stacked eggplant and linguine piled high with shrimp and scallops. It’s excellent second-date material.
This Annex haven has had many identities over the last few decades, but the tented back patio remains packed during weekend brunch with beleaguered locals looking for a morning pick-me-up. That currently comes in the form of fusion (think Manila-meets-Maracaibo) plates for brunch, lunch and later on. There’s chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and sides of cha chien (Vietnamese bologna) and queso frito. More standard brunch offerings include custom bennies and a traditional farmer’s breakfast.
The crowning jewel—literally, it takes up two stories of rooftop space—of this nuovo-Italian culinary mecca is a sprawling space for pasta, spritzes, and obscure Italian wine. Stop in to the grocery space on the bottom for wine, fresh pasta, bread, cured meats, and other nonna-approved offerings, then laze the day away with an eagle’s eye view of the (nearly complete!) Crosstown LRT construction.
This sceney spot a few floors above Millionaire’s Mile is usually made up of a few different sections: the well-heeled sipping sangria, the weary shoppers refuelling with plates of nachos and well-priced pours, or the rowdy New Zealand expats cheering: the spot is a clubhouse for Kiwis. The patio offers various levels of sun exposure, including chiller streetside seats, a covered rooftop and a more sun-soaked top tier.
Year round, Shameful Tiki is an excellent place to hide from the concept of Canada, with its transportive interiors and tropical-minded cocktails. In the summertime, the bar’s little sister in Bloorcourt offers a nautical-themed streetside patio where staff shake and stir up boozy, beachy drinks, like frothy mai tais served in coconut milk cans. Food veers noshable, with a menu that includes jerk patties and tandoori chicken flatbread.
Grape Witches needs little introduction: the west end coven of wine lovers has been curating natural, biodynamic and small-producer wines for years. Their brick-and-mortar shop remains an excellent place to stock your cellar, but now you can stop in and have a glass on their glorious back patio complete with a water feature.
Small-batch brews, snacks like cacio e pepe cauliflower and a retractable roof that rivals the Rogers Centre—Need we say more? Bandit Brewery offers plenty of square footage on this quiet strip of Dundas West.
Call your dates, text the group chat, plan the outing: Paradise Grapevine is an excellent spot for wasting a day or night away. There are plenty of barrels and tables to sit at, a covered roof (lined with grapevines, no less), and a full menu of by-the-glass and bottle-with-corkage options. Charcuterie boards and Spanish-style snacks round out the offerings. Coming soon: a second location on Geary Avenue.
Just a stone’s throw from Woodbine Beach is the Toronto Beach Club, a sprawling lakeside lounge with a focus on hyper-fresh seafood. The menu is decked out with crudos, carpaccios, caviar, and plenty of fritto misto. If you’re less seafood-inclined, there are full aged steaks and whole piri piri chickens, plus plenty of ice-cold cocktails. Swing by on a Sunday for DJs, dancers and bottle service specials. Think Tulum living for the Toronto-bound.
Almost 30 years ago, this Rosedale watering hole set the stage for bars across the country, offering one of the first all-Ontario beer menus in the province. Now, it’s a solid neighbourhood joint: bartenders learn your name, the tap list is decked with the province’s best brews, and the leafy back patio has a colourful parachute covering. Not a beer person? They also offer a secret well-stocked tequila list.
Loop up to the very top of the Broadview Hotel and you’ll be greeted with a 360-degree glass façade plus a patio with the best views of the city’s sunsets. The menu is made up of all sorts of stuff, including full plates at the dinner hour (fish tacos, banh mi) and late-night snacks (kewpie fries, chicken taquitos).
No matter the time of year, Bar Raval’s inside-outside patio is a great respite for drinking through Spain’s repertoire of wines and cocktails. Perch on a stool, snack on some sobrasada, swirl some sherry and watch the hustle and bustle of College Street.
Now that Anthony Rose has said the final eulogies for Big Crow and Rose and Sons, it’s up to Fet Zun and Fat Pasha to pick up the reins. Both have great patios, though Fet Zun’s is particularly fun. Slide into a tent-covered picnic bench (leftover from last summer’s Camp Fet Zun) and dig into falafel, dip into labneh and stick a straw into halvah milkshakes.