Toronto Patio Guide: Leslieville
Leslieville is close to a perfect patio destination. There are backyard patios, street-front patios, unlicensed coffee swilling patios, patios connected to bars, patios connected to pubs and patios on which to share an almost perfect pizza. Maybe the only problem is that few of the patios are open late meaning Leslieville loses out to neighbourhoods like Parkdale when it comes to the late night patio crawl.
Here's a rundown of 13 of the best patio options in Leslieville.
For non-locals, the allure of Stratengers might be tough to grasp. But this west facing patio is almost perfectly positioned to soak up the afternoon sun. The menu is pub standard but the results are better than you'd think. There's pizza, nachos and Indian inspired fare and the pints are big, cold and cheap enough.
The Ceili Cottage
With white picket fences fronting its north-facing patio, The Ceili Cottage doesn't look like it belongs on Queen St. But that's all part of the appeal of this authentic-enough Irish pub owned by oyster man Patrick McMurray of Starfish fame. A word of advice: skip the overpriced and under-portioned food but go for the cask ale, local microbrews and Irish brew on tap.
Sorry Libretto, but when a patio AND pizza are essential criteria it's worth it to venture off Ossington to this neighbourhood favourite that happens to serve some of the city's tastiest Southern Italian fare as well as sport a cozy north-facing back patio. Wash down some antipasti with a beer, wine or Italian soda.
Found directly across from Jimmy Simpson Park, Joy Bistro has an enviable location. And with two patios - one facing west and the other set back from the street - there are plenty of seating options for those looking to settle down for a cocktail, brunch of a full dinner. Beware: if table cloths scare you off you might want to head elsewhere.
This one year old bar recently added a small streetside patio to the east side of the building. It's as good a spot as any to overhear a strategy session between two t.o.night newspaper staffers (their office is upstairs) and one of their yellow boxes is right there so there's no shortage of reading should your date take an extended bathroom break.
Leslieville's newest bar just officially changed it's name from What Are You Looking At to WAYLABAR, but none of this matters since it's the patio you're here for. Sure, the surroundings might be all concrete, but it's cozier than you'd think. And where else on this stretch of Queen East are you going to find Kronenberg on tap?
This brunch and dinner restaurant has an intimate, north-facing back patio. It shuts down around 10 making it not really suitable for late night cavorting. But it's the food (not the drinks) that's the draw here anyway. On the menu are mid-priced Italian-inspired eats like gnocci, rissotto and their much talked about slow roasted pulled pork.
Okay Okay Diner
The small, east-facing patio directly across the street from Stratengers makes a great option for a weekend brunch where massive pancakes and the Eggs Bernadette are the star attractions. It's open for lunch too but not for dinner so don't plan to come here if your patio plans are during the after-work or evening timeframe. Oh yeah, despite its early closing hours the diner is licensed with Mill St. among its offerings.
Hanoi 3 Seasons
For those wondering why the Queen location of Hanoi 3 seasons charges more money for the same menu items compared to its original location in East Chinatown, look no further than its rent AND the sweet back south-facing patio. Where else besides Golden Turtle are you going to chow down on pho this good under the sun?
Red Rocket Coffee
If beer, wine or full meals aren't on the agenda, the Red Rocket just might have one of the better cafe patios in the city. Grab one of their lattes and watch the streetcars filter in and out of the TTC yard across the street. Bring your binoculars and spy to see if anyone is sleeping.
Set back just slightly from Queen Street, Te Aro's north facing patio is a collection of tables and chairs suitable for fresh as you can get coffee and cashew laced cookies among friends.
Mercury Organic Espresso Bar
Mercury Espresso might have recently remodeled but they didn't touch their small east-facing patio where one might ogle over the exquisite latte art and indulge in some free WiFi.
Tango Palace Coffee Company
It might seem a bit ramshackle, but the patio at Tango Palace is open later than any of the other cafes in this 'hood. During the day there's plenty of shade and a view comprised of squirrels, pigeons and kids playing in Leslie Grove Park.
A special thanks to Bud Light Lime for sponsoring this section. Watch for 16 more neighbourhood patio profiles in the weeks to come.
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