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Summer Patio Series 2010

Summer was on the horizon when I started this blog and what better excuse to grab a drink and get started on my tan then to make my own list of Toronto patios. Nothing beats a good patio and there are amazing ones all over the city – casual, fancy, convenient – and everyone will have their favorites. These are just the ones that I’ve visited and of course my own take on why I do or don’t like them! Suggestions are ALWAYS welcome!

– probably one of my most favorite places to hang out in Yorkville and a go-to choice when I know I’m looking for a nice place to grab a drink and some eats with friends. You can always count on this place to be PACKED with people and a great mix of music coming from either the patio itself or the venues around the place. Although sometimes the really high heels and short skirts that make an appearance every now and then throws me off.

Hemmingway’s – definitely more of an after work vibe here but also a great place that is ALWAYS crowded and if you’re lucky enough to score a spot on their multi-level (and heated in the wintertime) patio then you’re in for a good night with some interesting people who are not shy to start up a random convo 🙂

The Roof (The Hyatt) – offers probably one of the NICEST views of the city but definitely not the vibe that a 20/30 something would be looking for. Its on the smaller side for one and I swear the décor and ambience comes straight out of Country House and Home

The Sky Lounge (Intercontinental) – not a roof top patio and can be missed since you have to go through Proof Vodka Bar to get to it. Nice and quaint but not one of my faves.

Panorama – another great spot to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. Been there a few times for various occasions and although the vibe is definitely more on the chill side, its a great place to stop in for a few drinks or meet up with friends to catch up.

The Brazen Head Pub
– probably one of the BIGGEST patio’s I’ve been to this summer with three floors and featuring traditional and non-traditional pub fare. Great spot in Liberty Village but not much else around there unless you have plans for dinner at another restaurant.

Ultra – LOVE LOVE LOVE. This is one of those patios where you can grab a quick drink after work, relax in their cabanas and take in the Miami-esque atmosphere. Alternatively, you can get decked out and enjoy a warm summer night on the weekend taking in the view…and I’m not talking about the city view 😉 Ultra has also done a great job of featuring something special on each night of the week. I have yet to venture out to Lobster Mondays! Added bonus is that you could go there for drinks after work and then stay there for the night! I still haven’t seen a busy crowd on a weekday…

Oasis – Located at the top of Wayne Gretzky’s resteraunt this is a great after work spot! It offers the hustle and bustle of the business crowd but doesn’t look like your typical patio. Cushioned seating, huge umbrellas, a waterfall, couches and a pyramid like structure in the middle where you can sit on all different levels. I just love the view from the top…of a bar that is 😉 Not really the kind of place that you could spend the whole night at but definitely a way to maximize the last few hours of sunshine. I’ve only ever visited on a weekday and it was close to empty on Saturday afernoon. Would love to know what a Saturday night is like!

The Black Bull – after a busy and long day of shopping of Queen Street what better spot to grab a drink and engage in some people watching then the Black Bull. If you’re lucky enough to grab a spot on this huge corner patio then you’re definitely in for some interesting sights and possibly even celebrity sightings.

Brassaii – officially calling this the chameleon of all venues since its so many things wrapped in one. I haven’t had a chance to spend too much time on the patio, unfortunately because it’s not a rooftop there’s no view and because Brassaii is basically in an alley there really is nothing to watch except for the people who are on the patio itself.

The Spoke Club – if you’re fortunate enough to have VIP access or know someone who does (thanks LF) then you’re instore to experience one of the more exclusive patios in the city. The rooftop offers a stellar view of the King West strip and there’s a huge raised picnic bench if you’re enjoying some of their grub. There’s an abundance of couches and table seating and an indoor area where you can get away from the colder temperatures but not have to forfeit the view. Although because of the “shi shi foo foo” crowd you’re probably not going to engage in much conversation with people besides the ones you came with.

Spice Route – definitely one of the more tropical themed patios and although its said to be 2000 sq feet, it gets so packed that you feel like its about 600! The area is somewhat narrow but is adorned with mostly cabana style banquette booths and couch seating. There’s also apparently a koi pond which I’ve never come across….FYI – the bathrooms at Spice Route also made the North American Top 10.

South of Temperance – been here on two different Fridays now and have NOT been disappointed. This busy and massive (apparantly the biggest patio in the city) is located at Yonge/Adelaide and hence the name, South of Temperence Street. The patio area IS huge and the best part of this patio is how lively the atmosphere and people are. You’re more than likely to start up a random conversation in this place and the energy, 90’s tunes and poutine will keep you going well into the night. Definitely one of my faves of this summer. Looking to check it out on a Thursday before the summer ends.

The Scotland Yard
– stumbled upon this place by accident actually because the line up at the Bier Markt was too long and much to our surprise, Thursday nights are $5 martini nights. Their patio is right out on the Esplanade but is surrounded with gardens and plants so you can’t realllly people watch. You can however enjoy an intimate setting with someone special or take in one too many martini’s before stumbling on to your next adventure.

The Bier Markt – one of the staples in this area, the Bier Markt is defintely one of those places where you can’t NOT have a good time. This upscale but casual spot is always noisy and busy inside and the crowd is a mix of businessmen and women, students, locals, and anyone who’s just out to try out one of the 100 brands of beer. Live music can be enjoyed on Thursday-Saturday nights and the poutine is HIGHLY reccomended.

The Boiler House
– the Distillery District is known for their patios, as soon as you enter the area, the last thing you want to do is sit inside. With the cobblestone paths and live music playing in the center square it really provides the idea atmosphere for a casual evening or lazy afternoon. The Boiler House is by far one of my favourite in the area largely due to the decor and the feeling that you’re on some tropical island. The cabana beds, couches and flowing curtains make it impossible to want to leave. Would love to know if this places get rowdier on a weekend night.

The Drake – been there to get my dance on numerous times but still haven’t ventured out on to the patio
Origin – been trying to get there for dinner and to check out the patio
Amber – the Yorkville options are diminishing but this one is still on the list


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