New Toronto patios for 2012: Bar Neon
Bar Neon's patio has finally opened after a prolonged battle with the City of Toronto. Of course. Bar Neon owner Niki Tsourounakis tells me the issue was complicated by tenants of 1226 Bloor Street's past, who allegedly operated an illegal patio in the backyard space. Oops. Fortunately, Niki has finally sifted through the paperwork, she is now eager to show off her "little oasis" at Bloor and Dufferin. Here are all the details on Bar Neon's new patio.
Lots of added greenery, hence Niki's goal of creating a little urban oasis. The seating is offered as a mix of lounge chairs and picnic tables, with old shipping crates acting as tables and hanging lights to create an evening glow. Indie/rock/jazz music, but only until 11 p.m., of course. High fences help to create an intimate vibe
Two words: oyster shucking. Niki has repurposed a huge shipping crate sitting at the foot of the patio as an oyster shack of sorts, and is planning to grill fresh oysters right on the patio. No need, in other words, to ever go inside. Summertime will also welcome a fresh menu of traditional Greek eats to go along with its French croque monsieurs and duck confit tostas.
Mill Street Organic, Lemon Tea, Beau's Original, and Blanche De Chambly. You'll find them all flowing freely on tap, priced at $7 per pint. But regulars know there's more to Neon than just its beer. Bourbon cocktails have had newbies swooning since opening, and Niki says the bar is working on a summer punch. Sangria and other patio favourites are available by the glass, but sadly, not in pitchers.
You mean beyond the oysters!? Alright, well Niki says she's working on a central fire pit, which would be great for the odd chilly summer night (though there will also be heat lamps). Fingers crossed for marshmallows.
The patio is out back, so you'll be able to enjoy relative privacy. Bring those neon-rimmed shades, however, since little of the patio is covered. Bar Neon has already garnered a healthy collection of regulars, but I suspect that crowd will flourish once the summer really gets in full swing.
BY THE NUMBERS
Happy hour: Pints are $5 before 8 p.m.
Weekday patio hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Weekend patio hours: Noon to 2 a.m.
Photos by Jesse Milns