Featuring antique shops, charming restaurants and a popular beachside boardwalk, this enclave is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life.
DANCE A JIG You can’t go wrong with Murphy’s Law. This Beach-area pub boasts hearty Irish fare, a great selection of beer and a spacious rooftop patio. Fill an empty stomach with the Grand Irish Brunch served on Saturdays and Sundays. Open daily. 1702 Queen St. E., 416-690-5516.
HEAR THE ROAR Sip a pint and soak in some sun on one of two big patios at Lion on the Beach. Housed in a former Bank of Toronto building, the Lion is a popular summer spot for big groups during the Beaches International Jazz Festival. Check out Thursday night’s special, the popular—and tasty—baby back ribs. Open daily. 1958 Queen St. E., 416-690-1984.
Also known as Greektown, this enclave is a night owl’s paradise with lively late-night parties, but also upscale boutiques and ethnic cuisine for day birds. Opa!
STUFF OF LEGENDS The meet-‘n’-greet patio at Myth lives up to the restaurant’s legendary name. Nosh on Greek starters like the traditional spanakopita or lamb chops while you watch the place fill up. Make sure to get there early because the patio is usually packed by the time the DJ comes on at 11 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. 417 Danforth Ave., 416-461-8383.
A MOD CLUB Lolita’s Lust is Greektown’s best kept secret. This resto-bar offers a break from the usual with its bohemian-chic atmosphere and unique menu. Sip a pomegranate mojito on the main-level patio as you keep an eye out for celebrities like pop-punkers SUM 41, who have been known to frequent the Chinchilla Lounge upstairs. Open nightly. 513 Danforth Ave., 416-465-1751.
CHURCH AND WELLESLEY
The bustling gay village boasts colourful rainbow flags outside storefronts and is renowned for its socializing on steps and stoops.
LIGHT A FUSE Look no further than the wraparound courtyard of Fuzion for a sleek and sophisticated place to dine. This resto-lounge offers eclectic high-end cuisine and an extensive drinks list. Open daily. 580 Church St., 416-944-9888.
FUN IN DRAG It’s hard to miss Zelda’s colourful and zany patio at the corner of Church and Wellesley. A fun-loving crowd and such creative drinks as the signature Zeldatini make this patio a summer hot spot. Drop by on Saturday nights when a themed dress-up party is on tap. Open daily. 542 Church St., 416-922-2526.
With towering skyscrapers and business people with Blackberries in hand, the hustle and bustle of the city centre is evident here day and night.
A NOBLE TIME In the heart of the Financial District, catch up with friends or co-workers at the Duke of Devon for happy hour. Have a jolly good time while enjoying the authentic pub fare on the large patio. Crowd favourites include the classic fish and chips, but also surprises like the Bombay chicken curry. Monday to Friday. TD Tower, 66 Wellington St. W., 416-642-3853.
VENERABLE VISTA A visit to the exclusive Fifth Social Club is a must-do. Ride the old-fashioned freight elevator five floors to the top and you’ll find a spacious dining lounge and year-round terrace. Reservations are recommended at this upscale spot—it fills up fast, but the spectacular view is worth it. Thursday to Saturday. 225 Richmond St. W., 416-979-3000.
A bustling hub with the hottest nightspots, theatres, restaurants and shops. Theatre marquees and bright lights from the clubs are the hallmark of this district. See a show, grab a drink or hit a club—there’s something to do at all hours of the evening.
ALOHA! Travel through Rockwood Club’s rock- and wood-themed floors to reach the sophisticated Grass Terrace at the top. This rooftop patio is decked out with tiki huts, bamboo walls and, fittingly, grass decor. Call ahead to reserve a cabana, perfect for a group. Open nightly. 31 Mercer St., 416-979-7373.
TREAT YOURSELF Where to start with C-Lounge? A young and hip crowd, cordoned-off VIP cabanas, a rooftop wading pool—need we say more? This sexy spa-bar is the first of its kind in Toronto and has attracted the likes of Paris Hilton and Prince. If you can’t afford to shell out for a fancy cocktail, enjoy $3 drinks on Thursdays. Monday, and Thursday to Saturday. 456 Wellington St. W., 416-260-9393.
KING STREET WEST
This up-and-coming community is sprinkled with townhouses and condos amid fashionable restaurants and artist studios.
SAY CHEESE! A renovated warehouse has never been sexier. Named after 1920s photographer Jules “Brassaï” Halasz, Brassaii Bistro Lounge is minimal-chic in the most photogenic way. Munch on the taro root chips from the bar menu while enjoying a glass from the impressive wine list. Sunday brunch is always a big hit. Open daily. 461 King St. W., 416-598-4730.
TORONTO, JE T’AIME Escape to Paris for an afternoon at Le Sélect Bistro. Enjoy a croissant and a café au lait on the patio as Ella Fitzgerald croons in the background. Or sip a delicious glass of wine in the evening and try your ‘main’ at speaking French with the wait staff. Open daily. 432 Wellington St. W., 416-596-6405.
This hipster haunt boasts an artsy vibe. Lots of java joints and cheap eateries are frequented by students and professors from the nearby University of Toronto campus.
A WINNER EVERY TIME Enjoy the summer weather and the eclectic crowd hanging out on the modest patio of Victory Café. Wash down a spicy veggie samosa with one of the 13 local microbrews offered on tap at this neighbourhood favourite. Open daily. 581 Markham St., 416-516-5787.
DOUBLE THE FUN Who says you can’t have your cake and martini, too? Have a drink on the laid-back patio of Labyrinth Lounge then head next door to Future’s Bakery for some scrumptious desserts. The Lounge’s $4 drinks special on Thursdays draws in a hip student crowd. Future’s Bakery is open daily. 483 Bloor St. W., 416-922-5875; Labyrinth is open nightly. 98 Brunswick Ave., 416-925-7775.
The old European charm overflows here in a slew of popular restaurants and bars.
CIAO BELLA! See and be seen on the patio of Little Italy landmark, Il Gatto Nero. This classic café has been serving espressos and friendly conversation to Torontonians since the 1960s. Open daily. 720 College St., 416-536-3132.
DIPLOMATIC DETOUR Relax during the day and ogle College Street crowds at night on the patio of Café Diplomatico. Affectionately known as ‘The Dip’ by the locals, this Italian restaurant has held court at College and Clinton for 40 years. After you check out the classic food and welcoming atmosphere, you’ll know why. Open daily. 594 College St., 416-534-4637.
This up-and-coming east-end neighbourhood is trendy as a great place for brunch.
OVERJOYED A cozy atmosphere, classy decor and a solid wine list has effortlessly made Joy Bistro a Queen East staple. Open daily. 884 Queen St. E., 416-465-8855.
DANCE FOR TWO Tango Palace Coffee Company offers comfy chairs, a pleasant vibe and vegan-friendly house-made treats. The patio is a great place to read a book, but take heed—you’ll get distracted easily. This java joint is right next to the busy Jones Park, a prime spot for people watching. Open daily. 1156 Queen St. E., 416-465-8085.
Amid cobblestone walkways and designer stores, find chic ladies who lunch and celebrities who hang out at this tony area.
FIFTY ONE AND FUN Conquer your fear of heights at Panorama. This elegant resto-lounge has two rooftop terraces located on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre. The extensive cocktail list and the gorgeous view of Toronto’s skyline are well worth the elevator ride. Open daily. 55 Bloor St. W., 416-967-0000.
COOL AND CLASSY Hemingway’s is a casual and an unpretentious alternative to the trendy and typical Yorkville bars. The third-floor rooftop patio of this upscale pub is a great place to unwind and kick back. Stay cool on a hot summer’s night with the man-made mist and the strong selection of draft beers offered. Open daily. 142 Cumberland St., 416-968-2828.
SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED For one of the most breathtaking views of Toronto, check out the Roof Lounge. This elegant patio on the 18th floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel is a favourite for celebrities and was even used as a setting in Margaret Atwood novel, Cat’s Eye. Sip on a signature martini and you’ll instantly channel James Bond’s ultra-cool attitude. Open daily. 4 Avenue Rd., 416-324-1568.
QUEEN STREET WEST
Bohemian artists mingle with fashionistas and designers at hip bars and boutiques in this neighbourhood.
HIPSTER HAUNT Show off your latest fashion finds at The Drake Hotel’s Sky Yard. This rooftop deck is a happy stomping ground for Toronto’s hip and style savvy. Whether it’s to lounge on the comfy couches, discuss music trivia with likeminded individuals or try the pan-global cuisine, Sky Yard is worth a visit or two…or three… Open daily. 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.
TORO, TORO! One of the best places for people watching in the city is the Black Bull Hotel and Tavern. You’ll find a diverse array of patrons at this watering hole, from lawyers dressed in business suits to leather-clad bikers. Leave snobby attitudes at the door and enjoy the greasy pub fare and cold beer. Open daily. 298 Queen St. W., 416-593-2766.