When we’re hot and sweaty we get ripe and ready… for patio season. Brap, brap! Indeed, we’ve suffered through winter and we’re planning on patio-hopping as a new full-time job. With an abundance of patios to choose from, we’re narrowing down the best-of-the-best. If you’re searching by location, check out our Toronto’s Best Patios: King West Edition, Queen West Edition and College Street Edition.
But if you’re looking to distract yourself for an afternoon, consider people watching. Who doesn’t love pulling up a chair on a quaint terrace and watching the beautiful people of Toronto pass by? These patios are all like scenes from Canadian indie flicks, minus the despair of being a Canadian indie flick. Catch us there while we’re catching rays.
The Patio: Michael’s on Simcoe
The Scene: Luxury Lovers
Recently opened, the patio at Michael’s on Simcoe is luxurious, comfortable and conveniently located in the heart of the city. Kiddy corner to the Soho House and Shangri-La, this patio is ideal if you’re looking to sip on a delicious mojito and nosh on a 16oz rib-eye while watching beautiful people coming and going. If TIFF is your thing, you definitely want to head over here for celebrity sightings. Parties last year included Diane Keaton, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Nixon and Morgan Freeman.
The Scene: Bloor Street Bourgeois
La Societe’s tiered patio provides ample views of the Real Housewives of Toronto plastic surgery disasters, traveling tourists, and big spenders and their gold-digging nieces… er… dates. The fact that you can almost (sort of) envision yourself as a tourist in la belle France as you sip champers and cut through your steak frites isn’t a bad reason to occupy a spot at La Societe for a few hours, either.
The Patio: Watermark Irish Pub
The Scene: Waterfront Revellers
While the food and service at Watermark are mediocre at best, this harbourfront institution still boasts one of the best patios for summertime lounging. It’s always surrounded by tourists, too, and we like to play a game of Spot-the-Fanny-Pack while pounding back pints.
The Patio: dBar
The Scene: Toronto’s Hautest
If you’re hitting up dBar’s patio at the Four Seasons Toronto, please come dressed to impress. Known to host celebrities and Toronto’s elite, dBar is the ultimate Yorkville patio for all things luxurious. Their cocktail program is impressive, so be sure to book an entire afternoon if you’re headed there for people watching. You’ll want to try more than one. Guaranteed.
The Scene: Queen Street Indie Elite
The Black Bull’s patio, though laden with mediocre eats and brassy-tasting beer, is a Toronto totem in its own right. It’s one of the earliest patio openings each season, and one of the last to stack the chairs come fall. Best part? You have a front-row seat to some sort of hippie love affair gone wrong just outside the iron gates.
The Patio: Bar Volo
The Scene: Unstable Yonge Street Wanderers
The last time we were at Bar Volo, we sipped on our Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel and had everyone from the disenfranchised to hip-hop pushers and even Instagram follow-backers requesting our attention from the other side of the patio’s fence.
The Patio: Pure Spirits Oyster House and Grill
The Scene: Seafood Junkies
Oysters by the dozen, anyone? Pure Spirits in the Distillery District is where you go to satisfy all those seafood cravings. Because oysters and champagne is always a good idea. Oh, and for those joining Pure Spirits on a Monday, indulge in their all-you-can-eat Mussels. You’re welcome.
The Scene: Leslieville Lifers
Visit the cottage without ever leaving the city at this east-end patio. A white picket fence keeps you at arm’s length from the area’s residents – all slowly sashaying down the Queen East corridor looking at the latest real estate prices and wondering if they should upgrade their humble abodes.
The Patio: Bellwoods Brewery
The Scene: Hipster Chic
The Ossington strip’s prominence was bolstered by Bellwoods Brewery’s opening awhile back (as was Toronto’s craft beer scene). We love to grab one of the brewery’s latest fermentations and sit on the cramped patio while judging all the hipsters’ street style.
The Patio: Destingo
The Scene: Comfortably Casual
With a beautiful patio, Destingo is the destination for those looking for a casual vibe in the heart of Queen West. A large terrace full of sunshine and covered in plush greenery, the vibe on this patio is fun and light-hearted. With innovative Italian fare on the menu, sharing an antipasto plate and a pitcher of sangria makes for the perfect weekend afternoon in the sun.
The Patio: Paralia
The Scene: Beaches Beauty
Undoubtedly one of the best patios in Toronto – and one that went rather unnoticed by city-core imbibers – Paralia’s spacious outdoor section with views of the beach and boardwalk is an homage to the Mediterranean. In the summer’s humidity expect to see glistening bods with sweat-seeping pores – both of the sexcellent and indignant varieties.
The Patio: Churchmouse & Firkin
The Scene: Village Villains
The good ol’ Churchmouse in the Church-Wellesley Village has finally undergone a transformation to the Brit-punk aesthetic most other Firkins in the city have benefitted from (including a patio upgrade). The Village can always be counted on for some interesting characters, all of whom you’ll ogle in disdain while pounding back a pint of cider.
The Patio: Colette
The Scene: King West Royalty
Located in the Thompson Toronto, Colette is perfect for those looking to bring out their inner Parisian. A stellar wine list, carefully mixed cocktails and freshly baked sweets pair perfectly with their intelligently built patio with all chairs facing the street. It’s like they built it for people-watching – especially with all the VIPs at the Thompson Toronto.
The Patio: Earls King Street
The Scene: Financial District Threads
Earls on King has been a favourite patio destination in Toronto ever since opening a few short years ago. Even though it’s a chain restaurant, you can get a unique meal made from scratch alongside a damned fine mojito.
What’s your favourite patio in Toronto to grab a few drinks and people-watch the afternoon away? Comment below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.