Summer in Toronto always promises a good time, with patois and rooftop bars filled to capacity with thirsty, Vitamin-D starved locals looking to take in as much sun as possible before the temperature drops. So, if you’re visiting, don’t miss out on the party and be sure to hit up one of these hot rooftop addresses.
Stroll King West on a delicious summer’s evening and you can’t help but hear the party above you. On the Valdez rooftop, the guava barbecue wings are on the grill, the guacamole is on the table and the mojitos are in pitchers, all but guaranteeing a great time that’s reminiscent of a Mexican street party. Warm wood paneling and cozy tables keep things casual during the day. In the evening, strung-up bare Edison bulbs add ambience to make Valdez’ rooftop buzz until the late hours of the night.
Park Hyatt Toronto
This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel has delivered one of the hottest rooftop bars in the city for decades. Sitting pretty on the 18th floor of the Yorkville beauty, The Roof Lounge offers a great peek at a city that’s best experienced by night. When it comes to dining, classics done with precision are the name of the culinary game; offerings like jumbo shrimp on ice and the ham and turkey club stand out on the menu. Luckily, the same high standards are applied behind the bar, where you can order artisanal libations like the Ultimate Gin & Tonic (Hendricks Gin, Fever Tree tonic, cucumber, and fresh lime, all served in a Bordeaux glass) or the Neighborhood Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and burnt orange twist essence).
The Spoke Club
At the corner of King West and Portland sits this thriving establishment. In addition to having a reading room, event spaces and gallery, the five-floor members club ($1,000 annually for Toronto residents; $500 yearly for out-of-towners) features a dining room with a varied menu that includes chef Rob Klunder’s traditional winners like steak frites and half-pound prime sirloin burger. Should you be a bit more adventurous, items such as crispy typhoon chicken, spicy salmon maki rolls, or truffle and parmesan popcorn prove the perfect complements to a massive wine list and cocktail menu. Take your glass to the fifth-floor garden-style patio, with its tables and lounge sectionals for relaxing, and you’ll understand why it’s many members’ favorite spot in the building.
With one of the best views of the city’s skyline and of Lake Ontario, Thompson Toronto’s Rooftop Lounge is the place to be if you’re looking to rub elbows with other smartly dressed locals and visitors. Dark banquettes with plush pillows create a cool, contemporary vibe while the infinity pool gives it a South Beach flavor. The cocktail menu features seasonal inspirations, barrel-aged creations and bottle service from the likes of Belvedere and Dom Pérignon. As for snacking in between all the sipping, you’ll find fish tacos and sliders, plus charcuterie and cheese plates.
In the heart of Toronto’s Financial District, the rooftop bar at The Chase plays home to bankers and other professionals settling in for an after-work bite or beverage. The bar offers a great wine list as well as modern cocktails inspired by seasonal ingredients such as the strawberry rhubarb margarita with basil syrup and the rose gin cocktail. The stylish patio provides glass tables with wicker chairs and a few lounge spaces for larger groups (ahem, bottle service). For nibblers, there are fresh oysters, the Pearl Platter (oysters, shrimp, tuna and crab) and flatbreads like the prosciutto with goat cheese. Those with larger appetites will enjoy pappardelle-topped lobster, foie gras-stuffed chicken or black cod.