You know it’s nearing summer when you look down at your phone during the day and you see the message, “Patio drinks today after work?” Naturally, your response is going to be yes because you’ve worked hard and you deserve to unwind with a cold drink in hand, and a friend or two across the table from you.
So here are 12 fantastic patios across Canada brimming with happy people, great food and satisfying beverages, perfect for when the sun comes out to play.
Black and Blue (Vancouver, BC)
Definitely more of an after-work business crowd, this luxurious steakhouse boasts a spared-no-expense rooftop patio, complete with outdoor sectionals and fire pits. Sip a martini, order a few small bites like the signature mac and cheese sticks, and don’t worry if it starts to rain — this patio has a retractable awning. So if the weather turns, they’ve literally got you covered!
The Chase (Toronto, ON)
Much like Black and Blue, this rooftop patio can be full of the après-work crowd since it’s located in the financial district of Toronto. I’d recommend wearing something a little fancier than a tank top and sandals if you’re planning on enjoying the great weather and downtown views from their impressive patio.
Chill Winston (Vancouver, BC)
Sitting right in the heart of Gastown is one of the best places for people watching in all of Vancouver, and that’s exactly where you’ll find Chill Winston. Grab a seat on this street-front patio, order a beer with some friends and look around to see all walks of life pass you by.
The Drake Hotel Sky Yard (Toronto, ON)
The Drake Hotel is a cool establishment for many different reasons. Their craft cocktails, live music, the 86’d industry event every Monday night, which usually involves something that’s edible (and free)… But the brightly designed rooftop space is especially noteworthy. Aside from just popping up for drinks or food, you can sometimes find DJ dance parties, which are always fun to walk into after a few alcoholic beverages.
Grand Electric (Toronto, ON)
If there’s ever an appropriate time to enjoy tacos, it’s during the summer. Sneak through the main dining room of this Mexican-inspired hot spot on Queen Street West and claim a table on their back patio. Guacamole, fresh tortilla chips and fish tacos doused in hot sauce taste even better in the sun. That’s a fact.
Joe Fortes (Vancouver, BC)
This west coast establishment located on Robson Street is in the business of making sure everyone has a great time. Their main focus on the menu is seafood, so enjoy a tasty prawn cocktail and a classic martini, once you find a spot out on the rooftop dining area, which includes an impressive living green wall and long bar. This is the kind of place where the bartenders might even lean on the bar, look at you and say, “Rough day, eh?” Just say yes — they might take pity on you and give you a free drink.
Le Sainte Elizabeth (Montreal, QC)
There are a ton of quaint outdoor seating areas you can find all over Montreal, but how about a pub with a secret back patio? Who doesn’t love secrets! Alright, so this enclosed space behind the pub may not be off the radar of Montrealers, but for anyone planning a visit, make sure not to let this little enclosed oasis pass you by.
National on 8th (Calgary, AB)
If you’re in the core of Calgary, you’ll easily be able to find a lot of small street-facing patios, but if you want something with decent views and a buzzing atmosphere, National is your stop. There are a few National locations in the city, all of which pride themselves on an extensive craft beer selection (over 50 varieties on tap) and elevated pub fare like House-ground burgers, deep-fried pickles and more.
The Ship and Anchor (Calgary, AB)
If you only have one afternoon in the city and want to spend it on a patio, most Calgarians will tell you that The Ship is the place to be. Here, aside from a lot of sunshine, you’ll find hipsters sitting beside yuppies, a group of rockabillies sitting beside businessmen and yet, everyone seems to get along just fine. Pair that with a great beer selection and some of the best-priced pub fare you can find in Calgary, and you know you’ve got a good time on your hands.
Smack Dab (Kelowna, BC)
Many of the wineries in the Kelowna area boast restaurant patios with great views of Lake Okanagan, but in terms of the city itself, Smack Dab is your best bet for a gorgeous view. They’ve got a great selection of Okanagan wines and microbrews, and the menu is also very family-friendly, making it a great place to go if you’re traveling with kids.
The Spadina Freehouse (Saskatoon, SK)
This popular joint is located just across the street from the famous Delta Bessborough hotel (it looks like a Disney princess castle, more or less) and the Meewasin river paths. It’s always nice sitting out on street-front patio, especially between June 25 and July 5 when the Sask Jazz Festival takes place, where sweet sounds of music drift over from the riverfront.
Tapastry (Winnipeg, MB)
It’s true that most golf clubs have patios looking out onto well-landscaped greenery, but is it true that most golf clubs have great food? Typically, that’s not the case. Tapastry, inside the Niakwa Country Club in Winnipeg, will send you well-crafted plates of food while you enjoy some peace and quiet sitting outside — well, you might still hear a “Fore!” or two, I guess.
The Yard and Flagon (Saskatoon, SK)
This cozy little rooftop patio overlooks Broadway Avenue, a Saskatoon street that’s chock full of boutiques, gourmet food shops, live music venues and more. If you find yourself a little hungover, look to the deep-fried zucchini sticks and mushroom caps for a guaranteed cure.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.