Roof Bar @ The Thompson Hotel
Roof Bar @ The Thompson Hotel
550 Wellington W, at Bathurst, 416-640- 7778, thompsonhotels.com
Though the Thompson's rooftop arguably offers one of the finest vistas, droves of try-hards and scandalously overpriced lacklustre drinks used to dull its allure.
But that was the Thompson of yore. Under the watch of new bar manager and perfect gentleman Brad Gubbins (formerly of SpiritHouse), the rooftop's vibe and cocktail list have undergone a classy transformation. Treat yourself to a signature cocktail while luxuriating on leather couches as afternoon fades to dusk. Check in throughout the summer for seasonal drink updates.
Daily 11 am to 2 am; pool open 7 am to 7 pm. Open to hotel guests, members and residents, but the drinking public can book private tables.
60 Kensington, at Baldwin, 416-546-4536
The chain-link fence has been replaced with warmer wood, but the Market's worst-kept secret is still the city's most unapologetically unique spot to throw back cocktails in the sun. (A kiosk down Augusta sells $5 Ray-Ban knock-offs just in case you forget yours at home.) Seven-dollar cocktails like the Juliet And Romeo (gin, lime, mint, bitters) are on offer daily from cinq à sept, and pop-up BBQs helmed by some of the city's best chefs go down every Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday to Sunday 5:30 pm to 2 am. Closed Monday, holidays. No reservations. Licensed. Cash only.
Bovine Tiki Bar
542 Queen W, at Bathurst, 416-504-4239, bovinesexclub.com
My lush life is now complete: Toronto finally has a legit tiki bar. I'm rubbing on the SPF, sticking hibiscus blossoms behind my ear and never coming home. In keeping with the tiki movement's escapist roots, the Bovine's entrance is easy to sail past without ever knowing there's a rum-tastic treasure on the roof. Find your way up the stairs and enter a sun-drenched dreamland where you can sway to surf rock while soaking up mai tais (rum, curaçao, lime, orgeat, $13) and Spiced Hurricanes (spiced rum, lemon, passion fruit syrup, $13) through comically large bendy straws. When resident drink-smith Charlie Lamont (who designed the list along with Rock Lobster GM Robin Wynne) isn't behind the stick, you may just have your slushy pina colada handed over by a rockabilly princess in fire-engine lipstick and a coconut bra (pinch me). Industry nights every Monday showcase various rum brands via tastings and drink specials.
Daily 4 pm to 2 am. No reservations. Licensed.
335 Queen W, at Beverley, 416-493-2786, thebeverleyhotel.ca
With its rad Nordic-inspired design and exclusive-without-being-douchey vibe, the Beverley's rooftop patio was one of my fave spots to down a few sun-soaked Campari spritzers last summer. Now that veteran cocktailian Aja Sax is running the booze show, I may just check in for the next few months. There are few better perches for sipping warm-weather cocktails like the Old Cuban (Havana Club 7, lime, mint, sugar, sparkling, $14) or Caught In The Rain (cachaça, salted coconut cream, pineapple, pimento dram, $14) than the Beverley's white and wood rooftop oasis. Bonus: the latest outdoor space overlooks Queen for bird's-eye people watching.
Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am to mid- night, Thursday and Friday 11:30 am to 2 am, Saturday 10 am to 2 am, Sunday 10 am to midnight. Weekend brunch to 4 pm. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
Osteria dei Ganzi
504 Jarvis, at Dundonald, 647-348-6520, ganzi.ca
Hedged in greenery, Ganzi's 200-pax patio hugs a regal mansion that once belonged to architect George Horace Gooderham (grandson of whisky baron George Gooderham Sr., founder of T.O.'s first distillery). Cocktails by head bartender João Machado have signature Euro flair - generous goblets of Spanish-style gin tonics tempered with hibiscus, juniper, citrus zest and coriander ($13) will entice you to linger long enough to get a glow on. There's plenty of hearty Italian fare available should you need to dry out.
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5 pm to close. Brunch Sunday 11 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed.