TORONTO QUEER (AND QUEER-ISH) PATIO GUIDE 2022
August 16, 2022
March 30, 2023
From East to West, a comprehensive guide of queer and queer-friendlyh patios across the city!
* Full disclosure, we haven't updated this list since last summer, and sadly a few of these locations have closed their doors. We'll be renovating this article in spring 2023!*
The best queer (queer-ish) patios in Toronto let us not only enjoy the great outdoors but do so in super-cute settings – often with unique cocktail and beer selections, and impressive wine lists for all price points – where we’re free to be who we wanna be, with the added bonus of other queers to cheers.
From east to west, we tested each patio listed below, its beverages, seatings, and service, and recommend every one of them. Sometimes it feels like Toronto does everything in its power to keep us from sitting outside with a pint, which is why we’re so thankful these spots pushed through and exist!
This list is (mostly) made up of spots with licensed patios, and doesn’t include temporatay street patio spots.
Happy sipping, sissies!
// THE VILLAGE
506 Church Street
If we gave away awards, Boutique would get a massive trophy for Best People Watching on Church Street. No joke, this small but mighty double-decker patio has cocktail tables and stools for peering out at everyone walking up and down the strip. They’re super friendly inside, serve you right at your table, and make some fun cocktails too.
457 Church Street
All the way up on top of the dirty bird is a big ol’ nest, also called the rooftop deck. It holds about a hundred people and plays host to summer Sunday afternoon barbecues. While there are rarely parties outside, there is porn on the HD screens, loads of bench space for seating, and cocktail tables for leaning. It’s open during the evening land into the wee hours of the morning.
508 Church Street
All the way past the drag shows, plastic cups, and mysteriously dark dancefloor at Crews is a substantial back patio with lots of seating and its own tiki-style bar. There’s no music outside, but who needs it! There is plenty of T being spilled all over the wooden space, and one step inside brings you right back to the stage area for shows.
425 Church Street
One of the first queer spots on the strip, Hair of the Dog is another cute date spot or place to gather a small-ish group for pints. The food is good, too, so show up hungry, but it’s the lovely vine-covered wall and trellises that will put a spell on you. One of our favourite pubs on the street, it’s another great spot to watch folks crawling up into the Village, it’s dog friendly, but mostly it’s a little tucked-away gem for a low-key hangout.
Church and Maitland
We’re grouping these three together because they are kind of the trifecta of patios at the Church and Maitland intersection. Garage is great because it’s right on the street, with bonus drag shows. Churchmouse is very cute, quaint, and cozy, with a big beer selection, and O’Grady’s is a huge, sprawling spot with streetside viewing, a huge back patio zone for large groups, and pint specials. Keep a close eye on your bill at at O’Grady’s as they notoriously are so busy things often get mixed up.
553 Church Street
It’s tiny, it’s secret, but it’s one of the best patios in the Village. Tucked away behind Smith in the back alley is their adorable outdoor space, with cozy seating, cute cocktail options, and twinkling lights in the evening. This is a great one for a date or a small group of squirrel friends. They are only open Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
// WEST END
1304 King St West
King Street! It’s true! This one’s west of Dufferin near Spencer and tucked inside, at the back with adorable seating and tables. The snacks at this spot are super good, and though this isn’t officially queer bar, any queer person in Parkdale most likey knows and loves this lil’ spot.
1226 Bloor Street West
A Bloor West retreat worth the journey, Bar Neon is a queer-owned spot for absolutely delicious food (oysters!) and fun drinks, all available out back on their lovely patio. A mix of big tables and a ledge with benches, this spot attracts a mixed but cool crowd. Their yummy drinks will keep you around for longer than you might have expected, and a bonus: they celebrate pretty much every holiday and love baseball.
Enter through the back alley for the full experience.
13 Ossington Avenue
Sweaty Betty’s is the spot that made Ossington Ave what it is today. The anchor of this über-trendy West End strip is now run and owned by May Brand. The tiny spot is now all hers (along with her lovely bar staff) – and now, all ours! The very green, very cozy back patio will cast a garden spell on you, and you’ll never want to leave the comfort of its benches and vines. Raccoons often take naps on the covered ceiling, and if you can’t fit out back, take several seats out front - you’ll most likely catch a wild drag show from some of the city’s best!
841 Bloor St West
With locations on Bloor Street West and a new spot up on Geary (!!!), this wine bar creates their very own product, are so lovely, and have a team overflowing with queer royalty (hiiii Rizz , Maria and Vidal!). Their secret back patio is vine-covered, quite, cute and their wine selection is super interesting. They also have a happy hour from 5-6, and a bi-monthly Queer Wine Night.
2125 Dundas St West
Another queer-ish recommend from us, Bandit brews their own beer, has super cute glasses and a bumpin’ patio! Like, it’s full all the time. It’s gently covered, there are trees, picnic tables and lots of straight-young-Roncy-dad-baseball-league-trade to look at. The fries are yummy, and hot tip!… if you can’t get a spot, go grab a seat at the almost-secret patio at Blue Bird across the street. Also not queer, but SUPER friendly and lovely.
597 College St
OK, this queer-ish spot gets top marks for vibe, décor, cute service staff and really yummy cocktails. Their patio will transport you out of Toronto and somewhere in France. This is a great date night. The back patio fills up fast, but waiting inside with a drink isn’t so bad, it’s très chic as well.
// EAST END
1042 Queen Street East
Home of the Queer Beer Night summer series, this gorgeous Queen East brewery isn’t queer-owned but clearly supportive of the game. It’s a super friendly spot, and a great spot for a dinner date. The menu is yummy.
600 Gerrard St E
It doesn’t get more inclusive, welcoming, friendly, nerdy and nice as this far east haunt. Farside isn’t an official queer bar, and doesn’t have an “official patio” - it’s only seasonal on the sidewalk - but we wanted to give them a shout out because the east end needs some love and they are so great.
454 Parliament Street
A Cabbagetown favourite, this casual dining spot has a patio out front for sidewalk viewing and vibes and another off the back of the second floor for something a little more private. Though the space is a huge, comfortable old Victorian house, their outdoor spaces are done just right, and the beer/wine selection is stellar.
1062 Gerrard St East
Lezzie owned and operated, Lavender Menace has a rooftop patio, special queer events and a colourful cocktail list. They host rooftop patio DJ nights, and are queer-woman focused, so please be respectful of that when going into the space. We don’t have many of them in the city.
RORSCHACH BREWING CO.
1001 Eastern Ave
What is this?! A rooftop patio! Yes! Their very own special brews, pizza, snacks and following… this queer-operated brewery is great for a night out before a show at the nearby History, post-beach, or just to go somewhere new. This spot isn’t queer-owned but they are proudly queer-operated.
// WAY UP NORTH
11 St Clair Ave W
An unexpected addition to our list (to our surprise as well), but Shennanigans is a major rooftop patio players in the city. (special mention to OMGBLOG for introducing us to this one) It’s right at the corner of St. Clair and Yonge, and hosts the Gay Ultimate Frisbee post-game nights on Tuesdays during the summer and is a sprawwwwling spot to watch some post-office work trade. Not an official gay bar, but the servers work hard, the pub-style food is good and the north-of-Bloor laid-back vibe is cute.
All photos taken from the Instgram and Facebook accounts of these fine establishments. If we missed any of your faves, let us know!
Main image taken from Refined Society.