Locating a Toronto patio for after-work cocktails should be easy. Who wants to spend precious sun-soaking time roaming around trying to find the perfect bar to unwind during the summer. If you’re in Liberty Village, you may want to check out the breezy William’s Landing. Otherwise, here’s the scoop on the hottest patios in Toronto.
If you’re headed to or from a Toronto FC game or just looking for a huge patio to chill, the Brazen Head patio is the crown of Liberty Village. The Irish pub has three large patios, one of which has an unobstructed view of the CN Tower. Not surprisingly, the patios are jam packed all summer long. The vibe is friendly, but the service can suffer when busy. The pub food menu is fairly well priced, with high marks for the sweet potato fries and chicken wings and passing marks for its burgers.
The Keg at York
The Keg at York patio, 165 York Street, 416-703-1773, has such an established clientele that it is able to withstand the challenge of new bars opening up in the King and University area. This Toronto patio is a blast on Thursday evenings due to the crowds that cluster around the stand-up bar that runs alongside tables. It’s best to stand near the bar or score a two-seater table and stools nearby if you want to mingle. Nibblies such as the nachos or Keg prime rib sliders are always good. You may have to wait inside for up to 45 minutes if you don’t get there pronto at 5 p.m.
Bier Markt on The Esplanade
Approaching the patio at the Bier Markt on the Esplanade, you may mistake it for a European bistro due to its border of hanging flowers, matching umbrellas, and location in a historic building. Arguably one of Toronto’s prettiest patios, the Bier Markt is a busy spot for lunch or after work. Boasting one of the most extensive beer selections in town, the Bier Markt sells 100 brands of beer from 24 countries. The food can be hit and miss, although the mussels are a sure thing. Get there before 5 p.m. for a table on the patio.
The Black Bull
The Black Bull patio at 298 Queen Street West (at Peter St.), 416-593-2766, is about the farthest thing removed from the vibe in the Financial District. If you are looking for laid back and casual, you’ve found it. This Toronto legacy bar attracts hipsters, artists, wannabes, bikers, and yes, even the corporate crowd to its glorious west-facing patio. Draft beer is the drink de jour here (read unpretentious) so dress down accordingly. Service can be spotty, however, when the patio is buzzing. Due to its stellar location right in the centre of Queen Street West, this Toronto patio starts getting busy as early as 4 p.m. so you may find yourself in line if you arrive at 5 p.m.
Against the Grain Urban Tavern at 25 Dockside Drive on Corus Quay, 647-344-1562, and is getting a nod for best Toronto patio due to its size and magnificent view of Lake Ontario. This patio has success written all over it, situated as it is in Toronto’s next hot real estate hub. After-work drink specials include $5 Rolling Rock on Tuesdays, and $5 Stella Artois on Fridays. Against the Grain also sells a wide selection of draught beer from Canada, Germany, England, and Belgium. There is a definite youthful vibe here as reflected on the menu, which includes standard pub fare and stone oven-baked pizzas at prices that are anti-King-and-Bay.