Toronto’s favourite west-end haunt features everything from fine dining to dive bars.
Here’s a local tip: Ossington Avenue runs all the way north to Davenport Road, but if your Toronto friends say, “Let’s meet on Ossington for a drink,” they mean the southern stretch, from Dundas Street West southwards to its terminus at Queen Street West. Another insider’s tip: it’s pronounced “OZ-ington” for some reason.
This is Ossington Village (aka just plain Ossington) which fills up on weekend nights—and anytime the weather’s decent—with the hungry and thirsty of Toronto’s west end. Its sheer diversity of bars and eateries has earned it a top spot among the city’s hippest hangout streets since the early 2000s.
Ossington is reachable by streetcar (505 Dundas or 501 Queen), but it might be most fun to head here in a southbound bus (63 Ossington, from Ossington subway station) so you can take in the full vista along the way, hop off at Queen Street West, and then start working your way back up north.
Now for some outsider tips—that is, some recommendations on which Ossington patios allow you to continue enjoying the outdoors.
This friendly neighbourhood dive caters to everyone from locals who appreciate a laid-back, queer-positive spot for a beer to Hollywood celebs (Drew Barrymore once ditched an official after-party of her own movie to head there). Nothing fancy, in the best way—the main entertainment is whoever you’re having a conversation with (or eavesdropping on).
The heated and covered patio is bare bones but the French cuisine is deluxe. Wash down your steak frites and oysters with pickings from a wine list that’s so well curated you can just trust-fall into it.
Every brewery would probably say its beers are flavourful, but Bellwoods isn’t just boasting about its “aromatic hoppy stuff, crisp lagers, barrel aged wild blends and fruit-forward zingers.” It’s true! The flavours are huge! The bites aren’t bad either, so grab a seat on the large sidewalk-facing patio and sample some of Toronto’s best beer.
Vietnamese Torontonians have successfully sold the city on the virtues of pho. The brothy, filling noodle dish is consumed at breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City, but has largely morphed into dinner and post-bar cuisine here in Toronto. Rùa Vàng is a favourite pho joint of locals.
Known to Torontonians for boasting the best Mexican spirits selection in town, lots of jazz performances, and top-notch personnel (order a cocktail, trust us), Reposado also sports an intimate little back patio—it’s a bit of a secret, really. Grab a mezcal and savour by candlelight.