Hey-o! Look at that sun outside, feel the warm weather, see the trees starting to turn green…guess what time it is? Patio time!
I am pretty sure that nothing gets Torontonians more excited than the start of patio season following the bleak winter months. Except maybe the Leafs finally making the playoffs of course. Wednesday night was my first patio visit of the season and it was glorious (“glorious” said with this intonation). It is so nice to finally be outside and be comfortable.
Here is a run down (in no particular order) of some of my fave patios in the T-dot! Please feel free to add yours in the comments!
What’s not to love about this somewhat hidden Mirvish Village locale? Huge trees, craft beers, delicious food, good service. It’s got it all! This place gets packed pretty much as soon as it opens and stays that way to last call so get there early or plan to wait in line.
Yes I did work here at one point, but no, that does not make me biased. This is the perfect patio to escape the Queen Street noise, imbibe some amazing margaritas, much on some nachos, and take it easy. I continually am shocked to find out how few people know about this gem. They also have some great weekend brunch (complete with Caesars if you are feeling so inclined).
Falling within the group of businesses (including The Red Room, The Green Room, Java House, and Nirvana) with a murky background (you can read this and judge for yourself) Pour Boy is a super cheap place for food and drinks. For the low prices don’t expect anything gourmet but this is one of my go-to spots in The Annex/Koreatown for a pitcher with friends. Remember, cash only!
Maybe because this place is my neighborhood watering hole or maybe because they have one of the best beer selections in town, The Only Cafe is already a favorite of mine in the colder months, however in the summer this patio is just fabulous. When I really think about it I can’t pinpoint why it is so great. The tables and chairs are standard issue cheap plastic, there is some greenery in the form of potted plants but nothing beyond that, and there is no service so regular trips inside are required. Nevertheless I am oh so happy to enjoy it when I can and I think it is due to the vibe. This is a neighborhood bar with lots and lots of regulars so it always has a friendly feel even if it’s your first time there, but just be ready for some of the regulars to start chatting you up…whether you want to engage in the conversation or not. The upstairs is a hostel which also lends itself to some chatty travelers so chances are you won’t stay lonely for long if you are flying solo or in a small group.
The highlight of this patio is the working wood burning fireplace which is perfect for nights that have a bit of chill in the air. The menu is small, but everything I have sampled has been delicious. The same goes for their daily specials. Not a large beer list but I like what they gots!
Although this patio is pretty bare bones with simple stools and community tables, it is a good place to go on busy nights in the Kensington area as it’s a big space and it is almost always possible to snag a seat. It is also a good escape from the indoor portion of the bar which can get quite busy and loud. I have yet to try the Dim Sum here but I have been told it is pretty pretty good.
Don’t be surprised when you are directed to follow a set of stairs going to the basement when you try to reach this roof top patio. You will find your way. The food here is more on the pricey side, but delicious. I keep this patio in my back pocket when I am looking for a nicer dinner with a cocktail or glass of wine.
The interior of this restaurant is a mix of dark woods, red velvets, and vintage mirrors, lamps, and other fine touches that remind me of an Old World bistro. The patio is a very good extension of the same cozy atmosphere complete with lanterns and plants. The food is well-priced and tasty. Although I have not had one in quite some time, I remember their mojitos being particularly delicious and available by the pitcher.
This Kensington Market favorite is best for people watching and catching the last of the sun’s rays on a summer afternoon. This bar is definitely on the no frills side of the spectrum but if you are looking to have a pint in a relaxed but lively atmosphere, this place definitely fits the bill.
For the life of me I cannot find a picture of this patio on the interwebs so I suppose I will have to describe it for you. It is tucked in at the back of the bar between two other buildings so it feels almost like an inner courtyard. The seating is comprised of large hexagonal picnic tables and raised benches with tables. It is not a large patio so again there may be wait times if you come after the 5pm crowd gets outta work during the week or any time on the weekend. This place always has rotating craft beers as well as some solid regular pours so if beer is your game, this may be the patio for you.
Have I missed any of your essentials? If so, please add to the comment section. I would love to discover some new places this summer!