The 5 best new patios for drinking

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    David Hawe

    Northern Belle

    913 Dundas West, Toronto, Ontario

    Keeping it in the family, Northwood’s little sister has a prettier, leafier side patio that makes a killer people-watching perch. There are few better spots for perving on pretty boys and girls zipping along Dundas on fancy bikes.

    Specializing in coffee, cocktails and craft beer, Northern Belle jumps on the day-to-night café-bar trend. The coffee is as proper as the beer list, and the selection of vermouth and amari seems to grow with every visit, making this the perfect spot to camp out with a cold brew and a good book or catch up with friends over aperitifs, saison and cheese.

    Its proximity to Bellwoods makes it a top-notch pit stop before or after park sun-lounging sessions, which definitely don’t involve day drinking in public spaces (because that’s illegal, Toronto).

  • 2

    Bar Raval

    505 College St, Toronto, Ontario

    If you still haven’t been to Bar Raval, you have no more excuses. Snag a precious seat on the College street patio or terrace flanking Palmerston or gather round one of the barrels-turned-standing-tables (thank the booze gods for the built-in foot rails) and prepare to eat and drink with abandon. 

    Tall, moderately spiked cocktails like the Rosé Fizz (Croft Pale PX, fresh lemon, sugar, egg white and Peychaud’s bitters topped with rosé cava, $11) and the Last Laugh (Tanqueray, white port, Chartreuse, lime, tonic and soda, $11) are tailored to responsible day drinking or chain sipping after sundown. It’s difficult to visit without scarfing slices of house-made bread slathered with stracciatella and boquerones ($7) or juicy adobo pork sandwiches ($10) washed down with a Spanish Fizz or two (vermouth and soda or cava). 

  • 3

    Mascot Beer Garden

    31 Mercer (3rd floor), Toronto, Ontario

    Though its Mercer Street locale might bring back reruns of clubland nights you wish you had a DeLorean to erase, the brand new Mascot Beer Garden is moving on to what’s hot: craft beer. 

    “We want it to be really laid-back and casual and fun,” says owner Aaron Prothro. Since it might just be the largest patio to open this summer, I peg the chances that Mascot will bring the good times at extremely high.

    Capable of accommodating over 200 people, the massive rooftop space has two tiers set with picnic benches, astroturf, an in-house food trailer and a long bar with its own Mascot brew, daiquiris and Paper Planes on tap. The in-house brewery (helmed by Mike Duggan) should be up and running on the first floor by the end of the month. The grand opening bash is Thursday (June 4), so down some Mascot hefeweizen or check out brunch on a sunny Sunday.

  • 4

    Fat City Blues

    890 College St, Toronto, Ontario

    In the mood to bask in the sunshine, crack crab legs and soak up consecutive French 75s? Cold beer and fried oysters more your style, you say? It’s your lucky month, because the patio at Fat City Blues is in full seasonal swing.

    The best part about hanging out on picnic benches semi-sheltered by leafy, hanging strawberries (other than your chances of being wedged communal-style beside someone cute) is that you won’t miss out on the energy indoors. Strains from a rotating roster of live bands carry through the side doors, providing patio diehards and music lovers with the best of both worlds.

  • 5

    Erin Scholz

    Peter Pan

    373 Queen W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A4

    A Queen West institution for over a century, Peter Pan recently reopened after 11 long months of renovations under the watch of chef Noah Goldberg (the Feasting Room). 

    Toronto’s MO is demolishing the traditional in favour of whatever’s quick and glossy, but Peter Pan’s lovingly updated interior – complete with original tin ceiling and gorgeous deco details – marries old and new into one of the city’s most beautiful rooms.

    But onto June’s hottest topic: the patio. If you can tear yourself away from the best seats in the house (stationed at the bar, naturally), the backyard is more inviting than ever. With umbrellas for shade, pillows and potted plants, it’s a pretty escape in the middle of the city. 

    Sip through bar manger Charlie Lamont’s list of excellent gin-based cocktails like the American Hipster (Aviation gin, fino sherry, grape, apple and absinthe), Key In The Door (Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin, Lillet Blanc, dill, cucumber, apple, bergamot and milk) and three different gin and tonics including the spicy, refreshing Eastern Promises (Bombay Sapphire East, kaffir-lime-infused Lillet, cilantro, mango and Fever Tree tonic), all $12.


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