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Oh Yes, Patio Season Has Arrived

Yep, it's true. Being out this evening, you could just smell patio season in the air... a scent one could more specifically describe as: beer, fries and cigarettes, quite frankly. The warm weather and long weekend looks to be the ultimate patio kick-off event -- at least, for those not practicing Good Friday fasts.

After indulging in some fried pub fare (seen here) at Pauper's in the Annex, I thought a blogTO refresher course in quintessential Toronto patios was in order.

Now, this is not an exaustive list -- just a few main spots. Feel free to add on your favourites in the comment thread.

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Pauper's Pub (539 Bloor W just E of Bathurst) - This Annex favourite draws in a pretty mixed crowd, from arty Bloor Cinema Images Fest sell-out turn-aways to boisterous-til-the-bitter-end Leaf fans. They've got a patio on the Albany Ave side facing the Second Cup patio (if that's more your style) and a fantastic rooftop patio as well. While the rooftop wasn't open tonight for some reason (boo!) I'm sure it will be soon, as they had people walking in, realizing it was closed, and leaving the place altogether. Ouch.

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Heading south, we get to Kensington Market, home to many a cozy patio along Augusta Ave. One cute spot is Embassy (223 Augusta Ave), serving up cheap and fresh food (how could it not be, with the surrounding marketplace?) and a number of interesting local beers.

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Further south and into the Queen West Soho neck of the woods, you can't miss the Rivoli patio, packed to the iron fencing regardless of the time, it seems. The Rivoli (334 Queen W, W of Spadina) is likely to grow even more popular this year with the demise of a couple nearby patios along that strip. Lots of variety here in terms of drinks, but expect to shell out a few bucks for a bite to eat. Might be worth it for the entertainment of watching folks on Queen West.

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Also set to take in the overflow of patio-goers along Queen West is the quintessential Toronto patio - the Black Bull Tavern (298 Queen W at Soho). Accomodating the crowds won't be a problem of course, 'cause they have what might be the biggest darn patio in town. Quantity over quality? That depends on what you're having, but if you're in the market for a standard pitcher to share with friends and lots of loud company, Black Bull is the way to go. All that said, even with the monster patio (which I realize I haven't fit into the frame in this shot, sorry!) there is still usually a lineup down the street, so be patient.


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