Have you missed going for the occasional after work beer or cocktail? We sure do!
With patios across Ontario re-opening and employees returning to offices (full time or hybrid), the opportunity for a post-work drink has returned!
These post-work meetups are a great way for people to wind down after a long, stressful day and to catch up with colleagues or friends. Whether it’s the latest company gossip or discussing weekend plans, a post work patio stop is something nearly everyone looks forward to.
Plus, restaurants and patios need our help more than ever after being shuttered for several months. It’s really a win-win: a drink for you and revenue for the restaurant. With this in mind, we polled some Workhaus staff members to get their patio recommendations to have that perfect post-work drink. Other factors included atmosphere, amenities, and their food menu.
Originally from Vancouver, this local favourite migrated to Toronto and brought its outrageously loaded Caesars with it. Located at King and Church, The Score on King has made patio, bar and restaurant culture thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon arrival, you are placed in a socially distanced queue while you wait for your table. The hostess takes your contact information incase of a known positive case at their venue. Tables on the patio and dining room have been arranged so there is a safe distance between you and another party. They have installed partitions between adjacent tables and clear plexiglass along the bar, and in between every two seats.
The staff is incredible! They all wore masks of course, but also are constantly disinfecting and wiping surfaces with the most positive attitude. The Score on King makes watching the game in public as comfortable and fun as possible during these unprecedented times. I cannot recommend it enough.
Arabella Park Beer Bar (affectionately known as just “Arabella”) is located in Kitchener’s trendy Belmont Village and is arguably the most popular bar in Kitchener-Waterloo (don’t @ me). Featuring 18 rotating craft beer and cider taps and a small, yet incredibly diverse menu, Arabella is easily my go-to after work spot for a drink.
After being closed for several months due to the pandemic, Arabella re-opened with a massive, socially distant 4,000 sq. ft patio extension and a number of COVID-19 safety measures including contract tracing, sanitizing stations, and the use of plastic cups vs glass. Payment is only via credit or debit and you must sanitize your hands before handling the payment machine. Plus, if you want to try a beer before ordering, they give you a tiny plastic cup with small garbage containers located beside their massive bar.
You’re bound to find something that floats your boat on Arabella’s wall of beers … make sure you order a side of their famous chip truck fries with malt salt, ketchup, and malt aioli. You won’t regret it.
Murrieta’s is a name that needs no introduction in Calgary. Located in the former Alberta Hotel Building & opened in 2001, the restaurant’s name comes from “Joaquin Murrieta”, the famous gentleman outlaw of California. The atmosphere within blends classic elegance & modern eccentricity effortlessly, just like Joaquin himself. Top it off with spacious lounging & a wicked patio looking right over Stephen Ave & you’ve got a perfect environment.
Bar Noir (Le Petit Dejeuner)
If you haven’t heard of this patio before it’s because this recommendation is an exclusive for a soon-to-open spot in beautiful Old Toronto (King East). Bar Noir is a collaboration by chef Johan Maes, winner of Now magazine’s Best Brunch 2020, and industry veterans Paula and Jeff MacCormack.
Chef Johan has successfully run one of the most well-known brunch spots in downtown Toronto for 19 years and counting. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, he saw the need to keep the doors open past 3 PM and expand into the unexplored night market.
And so, Le Petit Dejeuner welcomes you to Bar Noir – a spot with a local bar feel and an affordable beer menu. The owners intend to capture the history of the location with major rock and roll vibes. And fun fact: the bar was built in the early 1900s for an underground Chicago speakeasy.
Since 1995, Jane Bond has been an Uptown Waterloo staple with incredible vegetarian and vegan food (antojitos, anyone?) that would please even the steadfast carnivore. This offbeat, retro bar has an amazing vibe with an even better beer list consisting of local favourites and hard to find brews (including Willibald and Bellwoods). You can also catch live music most nights and enjoy their kitschy patio in the process.
The JOEY in Eau Claire is another go-to spot in Calgary, and if you ask me it’s the best JOEY in the city. Being located right in the heart of Eau Claire makes this spot a perfect place to kick off a night out, with Prince’s Island footsteps away & plenty of street performers nearby in the summer. The patio is HUGE and has plenty of COVID precautions implemented to ensure a safe dining experience, such as the plexiglass partitions between seats.
As with all JOEY restaurants, the food slightly varies based on location. One of the stand-out items here has to be the Chili Chicken, come for the happy hour & get it on rice!
Yes, we know. It’s the most popular downtown Toronto waterfront restaurant and patio. But, if you’ve ever been on a warm, sunny weekend then you know how amazing Amsterdam BrewHouse is! Plus, they have one of the best patios in the city with breathtaking views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto islands. With plenty of tables, great beer, and a variety of menu options, you really can’t go wrong with this Toronto Waterfront institution.
Guests also have the comfort of knowing that everyone is screened upon arrival and all COVID-related safety procedures are being followed by a large, well trained staff.
Nothing goes together like pizza and beer and the fine folks at King Taps at First Canadian Place have got it down to a science! King Taps offers over 50 beers on tap so you’re guaranteed to find something you like. Plus, their thin crust Neapolitan style pizzas are a must try for any true pizza connoisseur.
Oh, and did we mention the patio? King Taps boasts a two floor patio opening onto bustling King Street West and the surrounding Financial District. While the surrounding towers offer plenty of shade, King Taps provides guests with ample patio umbrellas and heat lamps for those chillier nights in the city.
Do you know what goes well with great drinks and great food? An exceptional view! Located on the roof of the Broadview Hotel, The Rooftop sports breathtaking panoramic views of Toronto. It is also very spacious which allows for plenty of distance between tables along with the standard COVID-19 safety measures.
But it’s really all about the experience at The Rooftop. You’re almost always guaranteed to have a great time with their friendly customer service, impressive drink menu, and a tasty menu with something for everyone. Oh, and did I mention the VIEW?
If you’re okay with a bit of travel for your post-work drink, head over to Ward’s Island and stop by The Riviera for one of the best (and somewhat hidden) patios in Toronto. Formerly known as The Rectory, this patio backs onto Lake Ontario to the south for beautiful views of the lake and Wards Island Beach to the east. Guests can enjoy a healthy variety of beers, wine and mixed drinks as they look out onto the water with that cool island breeze in their hair. As always, all COVID-19 policies will be strictly enforced by staff.
Please be respectful to your patio and restaurant workers as they re-open and learn new processes. There’s never any reason to be rude or disrespectful to your server(s).
And, as always, please enjoy your post-work drinks responsibly.