Toronto Patio Guide: The Distillery District
The Distillery District might be overrun with tourists on a summer weekend but you could still do a lot worse than hanging out on one of the many patios in the area. It is called the Distillery for a reason which means there's plenty of beer and other spirits to be consumed here, along with what seems like an overabundance of Italian food options to help balance out the booze. A teetotaler or on a cleanse? There's at least a few spots where snacking on some biscotti and a cappuccino won't feel out of place.
Here's a rundown of 9 of the best patio options in the Distillery District.
Pure Spirits Oyster House
This east facing patio is the largest in the area and easily requires a bit of waiting time on a Sunday afternoon. Full menu service is offered for most of the day, switching to a skimpier patio-only menu later in the evening. Monday means all you can eat mussels but watch for weekend specials like $1 oysters that wash down well with a Blanche de Chambly, PBR or something from their extensive wine list.
Mill St. Brew Pub
This north facing patio seats less than 40 so it'll definitely fill up fast when bathed in the afternoon sun. Go here if in the mood for some pub food like their popular nachos, lobster grilled cheese or veggie burger with melted brie. Bonus: they not surprisingly have the largest selection of Mill St. in the city with over 10 varieties on tap from their organic lager to coffee porter.
Nestled between Brick Street Bakery and the Boiler House, Archeo has probably the most secluded patio in the area. This is a good bet if sharing some pizza, sweet potato fries or antipasto is on the agenda. There are also twelve wines offered by the glass and an external bar so there's no need to wander far for a refill.
The Boiler House
This plush, south-facing patio feels more South Beach than south of Front street and except for Sundays it's generally only open after 5pm. But if lounging in a cabana type setting holds more appeal than the picnic and metal tables and chairs featured at other spots on this list than this is the place to be.
Tappo Wine Bar
Directly across from Balzac's, Tappo Wine Bar is more of a place to settle in for an Italian inspired dinner than a snack and a drink. Offerings like tortellini alla vodka and prices in the $20-$30 range usually means most of the people hanging out here are likely to be from south of the border than south of Bloor.
Found in Distillery Lane, this south facing patio has four picnic tables and a dozen or so tables and chairs. It's a good option for those looking to get a bit removed from the heart of the action or if in the mood for a pizza, panino or light lunch. Weekends mean brunch and the occasional BBQ on the patio. Don't go here looking to get drunk though as featured drinks are more of the caffeine laced variety.
The Distillery Market
Just down the lane from Cafe Uno, The Distillery Market is the new name for the cafe and grocery store once known as Fresh & Wild. The latter couldn't cut it in this 'hood so the place changed hands earlier this year and is now owned by the same people who run the Distillery. Good news is that they expect to get a liquor license later this month which means that the tables and chairs scattered out front will see more than just consumption of coffee, milk, juice and other beverages currently sold inside.
For those looking for a break from the beer-swillers, Balzac's has a narrow, west-facing patio that soaks up the afternoon sun. It's a good spot to recharge on a cookie or an Americano and comment on the small dogs walking by. Things can get kinda crowded though when there's an event in the main square.
Brick Street Bakery
I can't leave out the 12 tables nestled in front of the neighbourhood's favourite bakery. If it's lunchtime, a pit stop here for a sandwich or a baked treat is almost a must.
A special thanks to Bud Light Lime for sponsoring this section. Watch for 18 more neighbourhood patio profiles in the weeks to come.
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