The summer weather never seems to last long enough, so the people of London have to spend as much time outside as they can, even during dinner. Thankfully, there are plenty of outdoor patios where you can grab a meal and a drink, and enjoy the sun rays before we’re back in the cold of winter with flurries of snow and 4pm sunsets. Generally speaking, there are two types of patios: ones for eating and ones for drinking. Of course, there’s going to be overlap, but often times the emphasis is more heavily placed on one or the other. As such, we have split our list into two sections to reflect which vibe you can expect from the patio that catches your eye.
Best for Drinks
There’s nothing quite like having a drink in the fresh air.
Barney’s is essentially a permanent beer garden in the middle of London, Ontario. The patio on this Richmond Row bar is absolutely massive – they’re licensed to serve over 500 people! The huge space is filled with tables and booths to accommodate their many customers. With two bars, you’ll never have to wait long for a drink! Despite how spacious the patio is, it’s almost always packed on a sunny day in the summer and into the fall, especially once Fanshawe and Western classes are back in session. However, that shouldn’t intimidate anyone from heading over! The atmosphere is irresistible, always buzzing with conversation and laughter. Large trees offer shade, but there are also plenty of spots to sit in the sun, because there’s nothing quite light having a beer in the sunshine. If you’re there after sundown, the patio lights come on, basking patrons in a glow bright enough to see that your pitcher is empty so you can order another one. However, it often does tend to get a bit wilder at this point of the evening, often including live music which may invite some of the less inhibited patrons to dance. The food isn’t exactly gourmet, but after a couple drinks, a massive plate of nachos or the Barney’s Burger and a side of fries will almost always satisfy any hunger building in your stomach. And if our praise isn’t enough, they’ve also won the title of Best Outdoor Patio from the London Free Press multiple times, including in 2018!
The rooftop patio on this Irish pub is absolutely to die for. With a lovely view of downtown London, the patio on top of McCabe’s Irish Pub and Grill is a party destination every day of the week. They’ve got drink and meal deals that switch up every day, from $5 pints of anything on tap on Mondays to half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays. With all these deals, McCabe’s still offers over 15 beers, including the obligatory Irish classic of Guinness, a wide selection of wines, both red and white, and a long list of cocktails and mixed drinks. Labelling themselves as Partytown, the atmosphere at McCabe’s is always electric. Live music a few nights a week, karaoke on Tuesdays, and other events always keep things interesting, on top of the typical excitement of a fantastic patio. McCabe’s has even partnered with FM96, a local radio station, to be the host for a live patio party every Thursday during the summer from 3pm-8pm. There are meal deals and chances to win tickets to London’s biggest shows this summer. If the evening air gets a little too chilly as the fall settles in, the patio is equipped with heaters to keep outdoor patrons cozy while they drink and chat.
The Barking Frog is another Richmond Row establishment with a great patio. With an impressive capacity of 400, you can safely say the the scene is always hopping at the Barking Frog. Bad jokes aside, the Barking Frog’s rooftop patio is the source of many rowdy nights in London, Ontario. The Frog, as many abbreviate it to, is a night club popular with students and local young adults. The vibe is perfect for a younger crowd. Loud and excited, with bangers rattling your molars and booze galore. The Frog is definitely not a low-key type of evening, so have your energy high. If you happen to find yourself there on a Thursday night, you’ll be treated to a snack courtesy the Frog. Previous free food offerings include Domino’s pizza, McDonald’s breakfast, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Who can argue against free food, especially after a drink or three? While this patio might be a little too bombastic for some, it’ll be exactly what other, high energy people are looking for, so know what you’re heading into and you’ll have a great time in the night air!
The Runt Club is a bar connected to Fellini Koolini’s, and is almost the complete opposite of the Barking Frog. The Runt Club is cozy and laidback, a great place to chat with friends, rather than scream and dance, which may be closer to your evening activity preferences. Situated on Albert Street, between Talbot and Richmond, the Runt Club’s 100-seat patio is far enough from the hustle and bustle of Richmond Row to offer a more tranquil experience than many downtown patios. Plenty of trees in and around the patio offer shade, supplemented by umbrellas on some of the tables. The Runt Club has more beers on tap than you could care to count, as well as extensive wine list and a healthy-sized cocktail menu. Picking a drink is either going to be easier because of their wide variety, or harder because you can only pick one of their fantastic options. Well, one at a time, at least. Thanks to its physical connection to Fellini’s, you have access to an extensive menu of Italian food, including pastas, pizzas, and steaks. If you’re not feeling up to a full meal, the menu has many tapas options that you can mix and match to share with the table, or head inside for a moment and serve yourself some free popcorn. Whether you’re there for a drink or a meal, the patio has a welcoming, chill vibe – a safe haven to escape the busyness of downtown without going out of your way.
Best for Food
Let the sun kiss your skin as you grab a bite to eat on these amazing patios.
Grab a spot on the patio at Dolcetto, a casual Italian spot in London’s Talbot Village. After all, the phrase “dining alfresco” does come from Italy, meaning “in the cool air.” While Ontario’s air might not exactly be cool, it is still excellent patio weather! Don’t just take our word for it, Dolcetto was selected as one of the top 100 patios in Canada by Open Tables! And it’s hard to disagree. On lovely summer days, one of the walls of Dolcetto opens up completely to give the entire restaurant a breath of fresh air. So even if you’re inside, you can still enjoy the outdoor vibes, without the risk of getting a sunburn. The menu at Dolcetto is inspired by two things: fresh ingredients and passion. Describing themselves as “rustic yet refined,” the team at Dolcetto, led by Chef Julie, have created a menu beholden to Italian tradition – fresh, simple, and delicious. No matter where you’re seated, at Dolcetto, you’ll get the fresh air, dining as though you’re truly in Italy.
The Black Trumpet is a lovely little restaurant that you’ve probably walked past a thousand times and potentially didn’t even realize it. Found on Richmond Row, just across from St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Black Trumpet has a little secret – a patio oasis hidden at the rear of the building. Their globally-inspired menu ranges from Japanese to Mexican, even dabbling in Jamaican cuisine with their jerk hen. They also have a small vegan menu, including jackfruit tacos and the famous Beyond Meat burger. Their wine list is one of the longest we’ve seen on this, but their staff is more than ready to help you pick the right beverage to align with your meal and your palate. Their patio is styled as an intimate Indonesian-style garden. An abundance of greenery surrounds the tables, so you truly feel the embrace of nature as you dine alfresco. The foliage allows the patio to be very private, both from the outside world, despite being in the middle of downtown, and from other tables. The Black Trumpet is refined without feeling stuffy and unwelcoming. The staff are attentive without rushing you, and knowledgeable about the menu, the garden patio is gorgeously maintained, and of course, the food is to die for. The modern, effortlessly cool vibe is perfect for a business lunch to meet with an important client or an evening out with your special someone.
The rooftop patio on the downtown London location of Jack Astor’s is fantastic. Two stories above the street with a view looking down Richmond Row, it’s truly wonderful and adds to the dining experience. If you’ve been to a Jack Astor’s before, you know what to expect food and drink-wise. It’s an eclectic mix of pub food and other various cuisines that is designed to satisfy the widest range of customers. Their drink menu is similarly diverse, offering an array of beers, wines, and cocktails that will satisfy basically any drinker in the place. The Jack Astor’s patio technically has a capacity for 250 customers, but they have seating for a much more reasonable number. They offer a variety of table sizes for bigger or smaller parties. Even the most massive groups are easily accommodated on the patio with long bench-style tables. On the hottest days, don’t fear being out in the sun. Relax under the shade of their umbrellas and their lovely addition of misting fans placed strategically around the patio, which offer sporadic showers of light, cooling mist to keep you comfortable – don’t worry, it’s not enough water to ruin your clothes or your makeup. Jack Astor’s is perfect for any group, whether you’re a family enjoying a dinner out or a group of friends going out for a couple drinks.
Bertoldi’s Trattoria is a traditional Italian restaurant in the Neapolitan style. Using traditional recipes and techniques, like only fresh ingredients and wood oven pizza, Bertoldi’s has been a go-to for pastas and pizzas in downtown London for years. Bertoldi’s sports a rooftop patio with an abundance of seating. Enjoy a lunch in the sun or dinner in the glow of patio lights strung over the tables. Hanging planters adorn the outside edge of the patio overlooking downtown London. You can find all of your Italian favourites at Bertoldis. Fresh pastas, pizzas, and either chicken or veal parmigiana are just a few classic Italian dishes you can find on their menu. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian dinner without a bottle of wine, so of course their wine list is long enough to make you go cross-eyed. You can imagine you’re really in Italy as you sit on the Bertoldi’s rooftop patio, basking in the sun’s warmth with a glass of wine in your hand and a plate of fresh pasta in front of you.
Crossings Pub & Eatery has one of the most spacious patios on this list – an advantage of being in the far reaches of Hyde Park where space is plentiful, unlike downtown. The pub says they get their name because they are where good food and friends cross paths. And with a menu like theirs on a patio this beautiful, we’re inclined to agree. The vibe is positive, yet relaxed, giving you the opportunity to connect with the people, whether they be friends or family, at your table. Their massive patio is encircled with greenery, so you get the true feeling of the great outdoors with your meal. Bask in the warmth of the sun or grab a seat under an umbrella, whichever you find the most comfortable. No matter what, you’ll end up with a lovely view of the London sunset. Crossings has a diverse menu, from fine dining to pub grub. A crowd favourite is the Dirty Burger, a classic beef patty topped with caramelized onions, bacon, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli. Or you could go a little more refined with a dish like the Maple Bourbon Salmon. Of course, their drink menu is also impressive, a plethora of beers, wines, and mixed drinks to pick from, but that typically isn’t the main attraction to Crossings. Crossings is great for a chill evening with some great food and even better company in the sun.