The best Toronto patios for… everything

Dog-friendly? Family-friendly? Family-unfriendly? We’ve got suggestions for every occasion.


It’s May, and you know what that means: everyone in the city is rushing onto a patio, because none of us have yards. Local media, meanwhile, are stuck in their offices, tasked with making the same 20 patios sound interesting all over again. To find out what kind of patio content the people really wanted, I did a quick survey of my Facebook friends and asked for their burning open-air-drinking questions. I can only assume this is a representative sample of the general population’s patio-related concerns. 

Go forth, Torontonians. May your sunburns be few and your pints free of drowned wasps.

What’s a good dog-friendly patio?

A provincial law prevents dogs from being in the same room where food is prepared or served, which means most restaurant owners choose to bump our four-legged friends to outside the railing – though some will put out water bowls, offer treats or let them onto outdoor spaces. A recent fave with my dog-parent pals: Field Trip (3 Westmoreland). 

Dogs are welcome to hang out on their cute fenced-in sidewalk patio and can avail themselves of a bowl of water (and maybe a pat from the staff, if they’re lucky).

Who’s wheelchair accessible?

A little-known option is the back patio at Terroni (57 Adelaide East) – just head right around the back of the building instead of going inside. Other outdoor options include El Catrin (18 Tank House beware those Distillery cobblestones), Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (85 Hanna) and Pizzeria Via Mercanti (87 Elm), which is decked out with automatic door openers inside and out – a nice bonus.

What’s another dog-friendly patio?

Dundas and Carlaw (1173 Dundas East) in Leslieville allows pups on the patio – and they do beer, cocktails and coffee drinks. (Your friend will have to make do with water.)

Okay, but for real, I’m going to need you to give me more places I can take my dog.

These spots all make some kind of allowance for pets: Caplansky’s (356 College), Barque (299 Roncesvalles), Done Right Inn (861 Queen West), Sassafraz (100 Cumberland), the Foggy Dew (803 King West), Bar Wellington (520 Wellington West), Grapefruit Moon (968 Bathurst), Stratengers (1130 Queen East, ) and Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

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David Laurence

The Three Speed’s patio is cozy by day, but it really shines at night.

Who has cute, sparkly lights? Extra points for good beer.

These bars have the biggest patio-o-o / they have patio lan-terns! Burdock (1184 Bloor West) and Bandit Brewery (2125 Dundas West) both serve excellent house-brewed beer under the festive, flattering glow of string lights. Special mention goes to the Three Speed (1163 Bloor West), which is a little shabby by day but romantic by night and boasts a decent 12 craft taps.

Where should I take a date?

Try the Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt (4 Avenue). It’s a classy, old-school cocktail bar 18 storeys above Yorkville, and also, I saw George Stroumboulopoulos there one time. Your date will likely recognize this as an Obvious Move but will appreciate the gesture (and the view) nevertheless.

Where can I play lawn games?

Bar Begonia’s back patio (otherwise known as Madame Boeuf & Flea 252 Dupont) features cornhole, bocce and horseshoes. Pretty soon, it’ll also have a monthly flea market. Neato!

Who has good vegetarian or vegan food?

Check out Cosmic Treats (207 August), Vegetarian Haven (17 Baldwin), Live Raw Food Bar (264 Dupont), and all three Fresh restaurants (147 Spadina, 894 Queen West, 326 Bloor West), with a 100-seat patio at the Trinity Bellwoods location.

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The back patio at Terroni on ­Adelaide is a well-kept secret.

Where are patios with good WiFi so I can get some work done outside?

Full Stop (2948 Dundas West), Fika (28 Kensington) and Northwood (815 Bloor West) are great options.

Who’s got happy hour deals?

No One Writes to the Colonel (460 College) does two-for-one drinks from 5 to 7 daily. Beast (96 Tecumseth) offers $5 drinks from 5 to 7 Wednesday through Saturday. And Farmhouse Tavern (1627 Dupont) has a whack of rolling happy hour offers on Sunday nights, from $3 mimosas to $7 cocktails.

Where are some kid-friendly spots with patios?

Uncle Betty’s (2590 Yonge), Mill Street Brew Pub (21 Tank House) and Maple Leaf Tavern (955 Gerrard East) all offer kids’ menus and have patios you could reasonably access with a (non-double-wide) stroller.

Where can I get a hangover-curing brunch – far, far away from children?

You would be a special kind of masochist to cart a stroller through the interior of Betty’s (240 King East) to get to the back patio or subject yourself to the dive-bar service and your squirmy offspring at the same time. However, childless people can (and should) take this opportunity to feed their gut rot with a beautiful platter of huevos rancheros.

Your obvious west-end media bias is showing! 

Here’s some more great east-end patios: Ceílí Cottage (1301 Queen East), Rooster Coffee House (479 Broadview), F’Amelia (12 Amelia), Eulalie’s Corner Store (1438 Gerrard East), Combine Eatery (162 Danforth), Murphy’s Law (1702 Queen East) and my all-time favourite, Allen’s (143 Danforth please don’t all go there at once).

You didn’t even tell us where all the new places are!

Look for NOW’s list of 2017’s best new patios, coming next month!

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

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