When students who spend the summer in London think patio bars, they usually default to Barney's, a massive patio bar right in the heart of downtown. But for anyone interested in trying out something new while still enjoying the fresh air alongside a favourite brew or mixed drink, here are some great options.
Milos' Craft Beer Emporium
This pub has some of the best food in the city such as an in-house ground beef cheeseburger and $16 Wagyu beef steak frites for lunch. Their rotating selection of over 20 craft beers on tap will keep you coming back to check out new options; to make things even better, they let you taste the beers before investing in a pint. At Talbot and Carling St., Milos’ usually has a quieter atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of downtown drunkenness and tomfoolery.
The downside to this pub is the expensive bill at the end of the meal. A small patio and a lack of selection for mixed drinks are also drawbacks.
Lone Star Texas Grill
Here you’ll find a large patio that is partially covered so even if it's raining, it's still possible to enjoy the outdoors. Fire pits, heat lamps and some comfortable couches add atmosphere and comfort to this patio. On Tuesdays you can enjoy (smaller) frozen margaritas for $2.50 a piece.
Unfortunately, a lot of the heat lamps never seem to be working when I visited and service can be slow at times. Drinks can be very inconsistently made, to the point where it can really start to drag on the overall experience.
Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill
Now here's a large patio with (working!) heat lamps and various seating options from tables to bar stools. There's a pretty decent view that overlooks downtown London which is pretty pleasant. And if you’re looking for a snack while drinking they even have a small selection of cheap desserts.
The biggest issues here are the high prices – they offer typical food from a chain restaurant which also can be very inconsistent and often offer extra slow service.
The Early Bird
Probably the best brunch place in the city. Food is cheap, amazing and bountiful (with massive portion sizes). This a great daytime patio to take in the sun while enjoying a good meal (such as their fantastic tacos) – they also have pretty good mixed drinks.
Sadly, this is by no means a nighttime place as it closes by 9 p.m. most nights of the week and 11 p.m. on weekends. It's also pretty far downtown (on Talbot St., south of Kings St.)
Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub
In all likelihood you already know about Molly's. That said, you may have not found your way to its nice patio and for that reason, it deserves a place on this list. Wooden tables and an outdoor bar are features of this patio, with all the usual student-loved beers on tap and bar snacks available.
Apart from the sometimes rowdy student atmosphere (which I’m sure you’re used to if you frequent Richmond Row at night), the biggest problem is the train tracks located right next to the patio, meaning if a train passes by you’ll have to resort to sign language and other hand gestures for as long as five minutes (or more).