Hemingway’s has been been a Toronto bar institution for decades. Despite its literary name, this is a party spot packed with multiple levels of patios that are known for being open year round, heated and covered in the winter and misted in the summer.
This place is more likely to pluck the heartstrings of Kiwis than book lovers (it actually has nothing to do with Ernest Hemingway) as it’s owned by a pair of them, Martin McSkimming and Daimin Bodnar.
It’s decorated with road signs from New Zealand, kiwi-bird-themed items and framed jerseys from an Australian football club they sponsor.
The patios have different names like McSheep, a nickname of Martin’s, and Shotover, a river in New Zealand.
The upper patio is, of course, fully equipped with its own tin-roofed bar.
All cocktails are $10, a great price point for the area.
A Beachcomber is breezy and easy-drinking, made with tequila, lime juice, and Chambord which gives it a tartness and pink colour, shaken and topped with slightly spicy ginger beer over ice, garnished with a lime wedge.
A punchy mojito muddles rum with brown sugar, lime, mint and simple syrup and tops it with thirst-quenching soda.
Among the offerings of import and craft beer there are rotating seasonal choices like 9% pinot noir Shiny cider that combines a gal’s two favourite things, cider and wine.
Nachos ($16) come in a shareable pile, topped with melted cheddar and mozzarella that’s more on the crispy side than gooey, and loaded with tomatoes, green onions, peppers, olives, jalapenos, served with the usual sour cream, guac and salsa.
A salmon salad is surprisingly tasty, though it does clock in at $18. But you do get nice big, cooked, flaky salmon filets on top of your bed of baby spinach with a pleasing combo of mango, cubed avocado, strawberry and tomato tossed in a wasabi, lemon, olive oil and rice vinegar dressing.
They’re known for their New Zealand lamb burger ($15), a grilled ground New Zealand spring lamb patty on a toasted egg bun with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, along with goat cheese and mint jelly for something slightly different.
The place brings together the vibes of Yorkville past and present.
It’s as much a meeting spot at the end of the day for workers dressed to the nines as it is for Yorkville locals who have been here forever, shoppers or students. Leave pretension at the door and get ready for outdoor bar fun.