Toronto Patio Guide: The Beaches
The Beach (or Beaches, whatever) might not strike much appeal to many Torontonians for most of the year, but come May when the weather gets good this eastern end of Queen East makes for an easy retreat from the city core for a game of beach volleyball, a stroll along the boardwalk or some gourmet ice cream at the original Ed's Real Scoop.
If it's the weekend, it's past noon and the sun is shining it usually means it's time to settle in on one of the many neighbourhood patios. Surprisingly there aren't any decent options close to the water (yeah, that's an AVOID call for the monopoly that is Boardwalk Pub), but further north there are a handful of good options where the beer is flowing, the nachos are big and, if you're not there early enough, the tables are hard to come by.
Here's a rundown of 6 of the best patio options in the Beach.
Lion on the Beach
This corner pub has two large patios - one facing south east and the other wedged to the west next to the Body Shop - and was once home to a Dominion Bank. Locals and tourists descend on this neighbourhood favourite for predictable pub fare like homemade shepherd's pie, poutine, fish n chips, nachos and brunch offerings like eggs benny and steak and eggs. The beer menu is mostly British and other European imports so craft beer seekers should head elsewhere. But if a local microbrew isn't a top priority, the size of the patios and atmosphere more than make up for it and there's also live music on weekend afternoons.
On the corner of Beech Avenue on the eastern end of Queen, Quigley's may look the part but isn't just another local pub. The decent sized patio faces southeast where one might dig into a massive plate of nachos, a sandwich, wings or ribs, or perhaps fresh enough seafood like mussels and calamari. There's also an extensive wine list. Hefty portions are the name of the game here which also means a filling Eggs Florentine and good Bloody Mary's for brunch seekers.
The Salty Dog
It might have been just another Beaches pub were it not for their west facing patio - one of the few in the area which means plenty of sun in the afternoon. Seating is limited though - the patio is the smallest of all on this list. Bonus points for having Mill St. on tap.
The Beach Bird
It's hard to miss the huge sign out front advertising their backyard patio. On it, one can indulge in what seems to be a menu spanning at least 3 continents with options like pizza, crab cakes, pad thai, fondue, curry bowls and a Philly cheese steak sandwich.
This massive Irish Pub sits at the corner of Queen and Kingston Road. From the same owner's as The Pour House and Brazen Head, the pub's attraction is definitely it's massive rooftop patio. While it's location is a little removed from the action, it does offer unmatched views of the area and the traditional Irish offerings like Guinness Steak and mushroom pie aren't bad.
Le Papillon on the Park
This second branch of the Papillon opened last year and boasts a much larger space than the original. The second story patio is east facing and seats plenty, even if the views of the neighbouring Tubs and Gee Gage rugby field and Ashbriges Bay pumping station don't exactly complete the postcard perfect look. The summer patio menu isn't huge but does offer traditional French fare like steak frites, French Onion Soup, poutine, pate and Quebecois meat pie.
A special thanks to Bud Light Lime for sponsoring this section. Watch for 19 more neighbourhood patio profiles in the weeks to come.
Lion on the Beach and Quigley's photos by Go Ask Alice on Flickr.
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