Toronto patio season preview: House on Parliament
Patio season in Toronto is finally here. And it's about time. After brutal April weather and May rains, the skies have now cleared (at least temporarily) and the vitamin D starved among us can enjoy some pints, food and fun in the long-awaited sun. We all have our patio favourites and we've covered the Toronto patio scene extensively on this site in the past including our best patios in Toronto list, top rooftop patios and numerous neighbourhood patio guides.
This May, in an effort to shine some new light on Toronto patios, we're embarking on a 20 part series where we'll be taking a closer look at some recent patio arrivals in this town - those that have opened in the past 12 months. As the brave soul who's task it is to test out 20 patios, I'll be taking plenty of photos and reporting back on key factors like price, location, line ups, vibe, shade, food and drink and so much more.
To start the series off today I'm taking a closer look at a Cabbagetown pub with a long legacy. The House on Parliament has been an institution in the neighbourhood for some time. Just this year though, they closed up shop, uprooted the place and moved one spot south. So how does their new patio shape up? Let's take a look.
Who goes there
One of the remarkable things about The House on Parliament has always been the diversity of its clientele. Inside you'll find young professionals mixed with low income seniors, new immigrants and everyone in between. It's a hodgepodge of quirk that somehow manages to have a little something for everyone. The prices have inflated a smidgen since the move, but it's still the same friendly welcoming place it has always been.
Grub and libations
A pint of Steamwhistle will run about $7 which is on par with a lot of places around town. Food is a bit pricier with items like a Kobe beef burger itching at the $17 mark. But there is still the standard fare, chicken wings and nachos, which sit at more reasonable price points.
Odds of scoring (a seat)
The patio here is a quaint little 20 seat front deck decorated with flower boxes and lots of wood. The tables are brand new and still have the faint smell of fresh cedar. It's still early in the year so seats aren't at a premium yet but I can guarantee that when the thermostat inches a few notches higher this one will be rammed.
A view to a....
Cabbagetown is a bustling downtown neighbourhood. The patio directly overlooks Parliament street so instead of 'breathtaking" what you get is the hustle of the big city - TTC buses, locals picking up groceries at the Epicure Shop and families on their way to Riverdale Farm.
No umbrellas, no trees, no awning. But it's an east facing patio which means it's pretty much all shade in the late afternoon and evening. Lunch time necessitates 45 and a hat. Anything later and even bathing yourself in coconut oil won't make a difference.
As a place to kick back in the afternoon sun, burn through a pack of Belmonts (yes, smoking is allowed) and get tipsy, this is destination number one in Cabbagetown. That shouldn't surprise anyone though, the former HoP maintained that title for as long as I can remember; the new place only ensures its reign will continue for years to come.
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