Patio guide: The best outdoor spots in Toronto's east end

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr, Creative Commons

The skies are sunny and hot weather is here, which can mean only one thing: The season for summer drinks is upon us.

From happy-hour pints to leisurely nightcaps, patio season is in full effect. On the street, in the back or on the roof — soak in the season by sitting down for a cold one on a hot summer night (or day, we don't judge). Check out our guide to the best boozy things to do outside in Toronto's east end.

CEILI COTTAGE

The patio at Ceili Cottage is one of few in the city that can lay claim to being in use year-round. In spring and summer, the inviting outdoor terrace — complete with white-picket fence and blooming flower boxes —  is Leslieville's quintessential street patio for post-work hangs right through to late-night shenanigans. Come winter, the tables are removed and the space becomes home to a cozy, heated yurt perfect for hunkering down on a cold night. The yurt didn't make an appearance this past winter but we're rooting for its return when the temps dip once again.

1301 Queen St. E
ceilicottage.com

EASTSIDE SOCIAL

The patio at Eastside Social feels like an outdoor living room with wood-on-wood fence and seating and an outdoor fireplace to complete the look. The cozy spot, tucked away at the back of the space, is a chill patio for one-on-one face time over a plate of oysters and a cold pint.

1008 Queen St. E
eastsidesocial.ca

Photo: Dundas and Carlaw

Photo: Dundas and Carlaw

DUNDAS AND CARLAW

Part daytime cafe, part evening bar (or, if you'd like, the other way around), the corner patio space of Dundas and Carlaw that sits back on the southwest corner of its namesake intersection draws heavily from the crowd living in nearby condos. The atmosphere here evolves as the day goes on — from quiet morning solitude to an upbeat vibe (thanks in part to its impressive beer, wine and cocktail menu).

1173 Dundas Street E.
dundasandcarlaw.com

McGUGAN'S

You wouldn't guess it from the street, but the secluded back patio at McGugan's features two levels of outdoor space including a beautifully appointed rooftop deck. High walls make things feel private, while overhead string lights create a glowing ambiance on warm summer evenings. And if it's cool, there are heaters to keep the party going... late — the patio is one of the only in the neighbourhood open all night.

1058 Gerrard St. E
mcgugans.com

Photo: Aft Kitchen + Bar

Photo: Aft Kitchen + Bar

AFT KITCHEN & BAR

Squeezing through the narrow corridor that spills out onto the rear patio at Aft feels, you feel as though you just became in-the-know on a secret spot. The patio feels secluded and it's a lively scene in the evenings with its own outdoor bar pouring drinks and serving up hearty plates of southern comfort food. There's even an outdoor TV for game nights.

686 Queen St. E
aftbar.com

HITCH

The dark, homey interior of Hitch Bar sits in direct contrast to its bright, airy back patio of nearly the same size. Just as laidback on the outside, a tall fence provides seclusion for grabbing a coveted spot at one of several wooden tables furnished with benches that provide plenty of seating to go around.

1216 Queen St. E
hitchlimited.com

Photo: Brooklyn Tavern

Photo: Brooklyn Tavern

BROOKLYN TAVERN

Cozy and secluded, Brooklyn Tavern's backyard patio feels like an in-the-know space that's far removed from the action of Queen East. Lush greenery hangs on the fence and warm lighting brings evenings to life at this Leslieville spot that's just as fitting for after work drinks as Sunday dinner.

1097 Queen St. E
brooklyntavern.ca

STRATENGERS

Dirt-cheap beer and food, plus a casual, neighbourly atmosphere make sitting on Stratengers' sidewalk patio a ritual 'round these parts. There's plenty of room to stretch out, and it's not uncommon to see lively groups on the party train mixed with young families having a bite and the odd pooch laying low. Strats, as it's locally known, is usually the first to open in spring and last to close in the fall, and you can bet that you'll see people holding court under its canopy of trees well before they've budded till long after the leaves are gone.

1130 Queen St. E
stratengers.com

Photo: Murphy's Law

Photo: Murphy's Law

MURPHY'S LAW

A rarity in the east end, the recently renovated Murphy's Law has a three-storey rooftop patio that towers over the corner of Queen and Kingston Road and provides superb sightlines into The Beaches. If heights aren't your thing, the pub also has a popular street-level patio at the entrance as well as a large back patio making for a massive amount of outdoor space. Murph's pulls 24 taps of craft beer and has over 20 bottles in the fridge.

1702 Queen St. E
murphyslaw.ca

LIL' BACI

Overhead sun shades, warm lighting and plenty of pretty flower boxes characterize the large, airy back deck at this local Italian eatery. It's the perfect spot for an al fresco brunch on weekends or to sit outside sharing pizza and sipping wine on a warm summer evening.

892 Queen St. E
lilbaci.com

Photo: Triple A Bar

Photo: Triple A Bar

TRIPLE A BAR

Triple A Bar's newest outpost in East Chinatown serves up cold beer and Texas-style barbecue on its sun-drenched side patio. Hit it up for a quick bite and pint after work (bring your kids) or take it deep into the night. The 30-seat patio is open until 2 a.m. 

598 Gerrard St. E
tripleabar.ca

BARRIO CERVECERIA

With not one but two patios, Barrio is a prime choice to post up for a cold beverage on a hot day. Its sidewalk patio is great for people watching and offers solid views of Jimmie Simpson Park, while its flipside patio, tucked in between it and its neighbour has more of a courtyard lounge feel with brick walls, string lights and cozy seating.

884 Queen St. E

WAYLA BAR

The backyard patio at Leslievill'e What Are You Looking At is charming and initimate. A high wooden fence keeps the space feeling private while wraparound bench seating is padded with colourful cushions and umbrella'd tables. The patio here might be small but it doesn't stop the dancing from heading outdoors on warm nights.

996 Queen St. E
waylabar.ca

Photo: County General

Photo: County General

THE COUNTY GENERAL

A collection of potted flowers hang from the fence of the County General's narrow sidewalk patio. It's small but charming, the espressos are strong and cocktails stronger, and that means spots are highly coveted on sunny days at the stools that line the outdoor bar rail along Boulton.

798 Queen St. E
thecountygeneral.ca

THE DUKE LIVE

The Duke takes a beating for its rough-around-the-edges clientele and wobbly status that straddles the line between being a legit sports/karaoke/live music venue and seedy day bar. But its upgraded garden patio — complete with a gazebo, no less — feels downright luxurious. The massive outdoor space has seating for 100, and features theatre-size wall projection during big sports games. Add in cheap beer, and it's the perfect spot to, well, day drink.

1225 Queen St. E
thedukelive.ca