The 15 best Toronto patios of all time

We scoured the city from east to west, and these restaurants and watering holes boast the best outdoor spaces in town — bar none


Le Select 

My foolproof fast-track route to contentment: spending an afternoon on the Le Select patio gulping rosé de Provence and low-key spying on passersby and their dogs. It’ll soothe the soul. Go full-on French and pull your bent-wood bistro seats snugly side by side before diving deep into the patio’s ultimate accessory: a famously kick-ass wine list that boasts over 1,000 labels. SP

432 Wellington West, at Spadina, 416-596-6405, leselect.com

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Bellwoods

The second the first crocuses push up through the frigid winter ground, beer lovers make a beeline for Bellwoods. The white picket fence wrapping the patio offers those waiting in line for a spot a teasing glimpse of what might be the west end’s hottest strip of patio real estate. The proximity to the park from which it takes its name is a pretty big draw, but the thing that makes beer geeks line up – at the patio or at the bottle shop next door – is the promise of getting a taste of limited-run brews like their now-iconic Jelly King sours. NM

124 Ossington, at Argyle, bellwoodsbrewery.com

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Drake Sky Yard

The Drake Hotel has gone from upstart west-side hot spot to bona fide food, art and retail institution over the past decade, but its rooftop deck remains a reliable magnet for west-end partygoers. The Drake has a knack for constant reinvention, and nowhere is that seen more clearly than the Sky Yard, which gets a makeover every year courtesy of a local artist. The menu offerings are also ever-changing, but you can count on whatever you get – particularly the cocktails – to be on point. NM

1150 Queen West, at Beaconsfield, 416-531-5042, thedrake.ca

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David Laurence

Allen’s

Making your way through the candlelit interior of Allen’s and laying eyes on that serene patio for the first time is, at this point, an east-end rite of passage. Though the hearty eats and massive Scotch selection lure diners from near and far over the winter, the backyard deck is Allen’s biggest draw in the summertime, with benches built around spreading willow trees, twinkling string lights and an outdoor grill that turns out a summer-only menu of Ontario and PEI beef, char-grilled veggies with goat cheese and scallops with peach-jalapeno slaw. NM

143 Danforth, at Broadview, 416-463-3086, allens.to

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Cadillac Lounge

Long, long ago, in a time well before Vegandale was a horrid seed in a marketing hive mind, the Cadillac set up shop on west-west Queen West. (Hyperbole aside, the Caddy opened in 2000, which genuinely feels a world away from Parkdale du jour.) The crown jewel of this T.O. honky-tonk – which services brunch, singles events, concerts, charity fundraisers and everything in between – is a glorious 250-person patio that lights up after dusk. It’s frills-free, with un-inflated beer prices and an outdoor pool table. Owner Sam Grosso recently announced the business has been sold (apparently, for real this time), so be sure to enjoy it while you can. SP 

1296 Queen West, at Brock, 416-536-7717, cadillaclounge.com

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Ronnie’s Local 069

At Ronnie’s, don’t expect the bartender to know your name, but do know that ordering a fancy cocktail (or anything other than a basic mixed drink) will result in a suspicious stare and a perpetually empty glass. Do, however, feel free to BYO snacks, drink too many beers, get into spontaneous debates with the randoms crammed onto the same picnic bench and ultimately linger way longer than intended. (Pro tip: avoid making post-Ronnie’s plans until you’re actually there, because you might say “screw it” and stay all night.) Ronnie’s is a standard-bearer of classic Kensington – a flagrantly un-bougie, artsy, gritty, punky, perfect place to meet in the Market. SP

69 Nassau, at Augusta, 416-340-1110

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Natalia Manzocco

Bairrada Churrasqueira

Bairrada resembles a hundred other Torontonian churrasqueiras from the street, but its massive 250-seat garden patio – complete with flower gardens, a fountain and towering old trees – skyrockets this family-run resto’s cultural clout to the status of summer icon. It’s the perfect spot for large, ravenous parties of diners to chow down on platters of Portuguese chicken washed down with vinho verde. Psst – whole spit-roasted suckling pigs can be ordered in advance. SP

1000 College, at Sheridan, 416-539-8239, bairrada.ca

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MICHAEL WATIER

Amsterdam BrewHouse

Sure, there are less-corporate places to down suds al fresco in Toronto – but Amsterdam’s waterfront brew pub has a lot of major points in its favour. There’s ample room for you and your buds (complete with Muskoka chairs and patio umbrellas), relative proximity to major downtown destinations like the Rogers Centre, and one heck of a house tap list populated with seasonal limited-edition Amsterdam draughts brewed on-site. Oh, yeah – and there’s a stunning, unobscured view of Lake Ontario that’s fuelled countless summer afternoons of sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time. NM

245 Queens Quay West, at Lower Simcoe, 416-504-1020, amsterdambeer.com

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Natalia Manzocco

Cold Tea

After a decade’s worth of word of mouth, it’s safe to say Cold Tea, nestled in the back of a Kensington strip mall, is Toronto’s most poorly kept secret. But even after that long walk down the hallway and past the red light illuminating the bar’s front door, knowing that there’s a hidden back patio waiting for you is like finding a false bottom in a treasure chest. Like the interior, which now boasts a sleek, space-age look, the backyard received a makeover in recent years, trading the chintzy plastic tablecloths for a tiled mural and splashes of colour. It’s still one of the hottest hangouts in Kensington, as proven by the wall-to-wall crowds it draws for its weekend BBQ bashes. NM

60 Kensington, at Baldwin, 416-546-4536, @coldteabar

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The Pilot

Yorkville has its share of patios that could just have easily elbowed their way onto this list – from heavy-hitters like Hemingway’s and Sassafraz to newbies like Bar Reyna – but at the end of the day, 70-plus years in Yorkville must mean this neighbourhood pub is doing something right. Though it technically didn’t open until 1993, the Flight Deck, which has since been fully kitted out with a retractable roof and heaters, has become an institution in its own right, offering a sunny perch for kicking back with a pint. In one of Toronto’s most rarefied neighbourhoods, it’s a comfortable, democratic oasis. NM

22 Cumberland, at Yonge, 416-923-5716, thepilot.ca

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NATALIA MANZOCCO

Bovine Sex Club

Sure, the Black Bull might be the de facto iconic patio of the greater Queen and Spadina region, but when it really comes down to it, are there any non-patio reasons people go there? Real patio pros head the extra couple blocks west to the Bovine, where the forbidding punk-junkyard exterior hides a dark stairwell that leads to – surprise! – one of the cutest, sunniest little rooftop patios in town, done up with a thatched roof, a plant wall and honest-to-goodness fresh flowers on the tables. There’s even a tropical-themed menu featuring fish tacos, pineapple burgers and signature tiki cocktails like (in true hard-rock dirtbag fashion) a Mai Tai spiked with Jager. Ruining your goth cred was never so delicious. NM

542 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-504-4239, bovinesexclub.com

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Terroni 

You’re either unaware of the original Terroni’s glorious back patio, or you’ve been committed to it for years. Finding this discreet oasis does feel a bit like a treasure hunt: You journey down a narrow hallway and burst into this sugo-scented pizza paradise sheltered by leafy old trees and a big fence that lets you gulp your Lambrusco in relative peace. (Also worthy options: the backyard at the Adelaide location and Bar Centrale’s rooftop.) SP

720 Queen West, at Manning, 416-504-0320, terroni.com

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Eugen Sakhnenko

Broadview Hotel

This town is flush with reliable rooftop hangouts – give my regards to Gusto, remember me to Pauper’s Pub – but none have made as rapid or as dramatic an impact on the local scene as the Broadview. (Given its location inside a 127-year-old heritage building, though, maybe the Broadview doesn’t quite qualify as an overnight success.) The seventh-floor rooftop deck spans from a windowed enclosure with panoramic views of the city to a plant-dotted outdoor terrace to a stunning private dining room. If it’s somehow too crowded up there, you can bask in the glow of the Broadview’s now-iconic neon sign on a smaller second-floor patio. NM

Read more: The Broadview Hotel is now open: in photos

106 Broadview, at Queen, 416-362-8439, thebroadviewhotel.ca

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NATALIA MANZOCCO

Madame Boeuf

Bar Begonia may have flipped to make way for Anthony Rose’s newest project, the Israeli-inspired Fet Zun, but the capacious Madame Boeuf lives on in the backyard. Madame’s weekend flea market has been permanently scratched, leaving more room to kick back on picnic benches, toss a few beanbags and gorge on cheeseburgers, crinkle fries and spiked slushies. It’s the new kid on the block compared to Rose’s other joints – including Big Crow and Fat Pasha, both home to solid patios in their own right – but the easy summer cookout vibes make Madame an instant classic. SP

252 Dupont, at Spadina, 647-352-3337, madameboeuf.com

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Burdock

The patio at Burdock’s perma-packed side patio, like pretty much everything Burdock touches, is simultaneously slick, homey and idiosyncratic. Assorted tables, bench nooks and stools separated by plants and decorative grasses lend a healthy dose of dynamism since who in their right mind wants to sip weird beer in a basic space? The thoughtful design details are fully integrated – you can even choose to exit through the bottle shop. SP

1184 Bloor West, at Pauline, 416-546-4033, burdockto.com

See also:

Toronto’s best new patios 2019

Toronto’s best rooftop patios

Toronto’s best hidden patios

The best Toronto patios for … everything

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