Winter is officially a thing of the past and the weather is (gradually) improving, which means Torontonians are ready to emerge from their winter slumber. Without further ado, some of the city’s top patio destinations:

Top high-end patio:


314 Queen St. W.

Vibe: Think of the South Beach clubs you’ve seen on TV or visited in person, only populated by some of Toronto’s most notable movers and shakers — and maybe even the odd celebrity. The “beautiful people” that make this patio their home-away-from-home in summer enjoy sipping decadent cocktails while discussing their favourite foreign celebrity DJ, their latest plastic surgery or trading numbers of personal trainers.

Clientele: Posh urbanites looking to do business, see or be seen.

Sunburn factor: High, but luckily they have plenty of shaded areas to keep your winter-blanched skin intact.

Odds of running into your boss who has also ditched work early: Medium

Patio where you’re most likely to be caught skipping work by your boss:

The Black Bull

298 Queen St. W.

Vibe: It’s very much a pub inside, but the Bull’s patio is one of the most popular in the downtown core, particularly on weekends and even on sunny weekdays after about 3 p.m. when people bail out of work early to tan and people watch. You won’t find a more casual place to relax over pints, so don your shorts and flip-flops and enjoy.

Clientele: Bay Street suits more interested in pounding beers after work than networking, weekend warriors, Queen Street bohemians and old-timers who made the Black Bull their second home long before it became trendy.

Sunburn factor: High, especially after your third bucket of Coronitas when a general numbness has overtaken your extremities.

Odds of running into your boss who has also ditched work early: Extremely high.

Patio where you’re most likely to lose track of time:

Wayne Gretzky’s

99 Blue Jays Way

Vibe: Gretzky’s patio is sort of like a cottage fantasy gone wild — tons of space, great tanning potential, more comfort than one needs, good tunes and an endless supply of beer and cocktails. Think of it as an oasis in the middle of the city. Just ignore the sound of traffic on the streets below.

Clientele: Professionals (due to its close proximity to the financial district), sports enthusiasts and even quite a few students who all love the Muskoka-in-the-heart-of-the-city ambience.

Sunburn factor: Low.

Odds of running into your boss who has also ditched work early: High, especially if he/she is a sports fan.

Kitchiest patio:

Sutra Tiki Bar

612 College St.

Vibe: Tiki grogs, over-sized cocktails served in very large drinking vessels with straws and large pieces of fruit, and a patio covered in sand — it’s like a Polynesian-themed dream. It’s also a description of Sutra’s very intriguing patio. Not everyone is a fan of theme bars, but this one is really worth a look. Be sure to wear flip-flops on the patio lest your shoes end up filled with sand by the end of the night.

Clientele: Hipsters and those who, on weekends, wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere other than College Street.

Sunburn factor: Low.

Odds of running into your boss who has also ditched work early: Low to medium unless your boss is a fan of funky College Street haunts.

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