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Pushing Patio Season: Bar Lupulus and Chances R

By Zachary Resnick and Alison Larabie Chase on October 29, 2021

Welcome to Pushing Patio Season, a new seasonal column to help Apt613 readers find amazing patios that stay open even when it’s a little cold or rainy. We know many people aren’t ready to head back to indoor dining just yet, so once a week until the snow flies, we’ll recommend patios that are heated and/or covered, with fun ambiance and picturesque views (or at least some top-notch people-watching) and of course, serving delicious food and drinks. Got a suggestion for a patio? Hit us up at editors@apt613.ca.


Chances R: Cozy patio brunch and more

I’m old enough to remember the old Chances R restaurant, which stood in the same spot at Woodroffe and Baseline before the College Square mall was built. Though that first iteration was great, the new one is better in many ways, not the least of which is the immense covered patio that wraps around the outside of the curved building. It’s delightful in summer, with plenty of shade from the hot sun, but in spring and fall when temperatures are cooler, it’s protected by vinyl walls and warmed with ceiling-mounted heaters. It’s the ideal spot to enjoy semi-outdoor brunch, even on a chilly and damp fall day.

 

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The present-day Chances R serves a short all-day breakfast menu every day of the week, alongside its regular menu of comfort-food favourites like lasagna, chicken parmesan, souvlaki, ribs, and fish and chips, but on weekends they pull out all the stops for their extensive brunch menu: Four variations on eggs benedict, five fancy omelettes, pancakes, French toast, and even a couple of modernist takes like balsamic-glazed avocado toast and a steel-cut oat power bowl. Of course, they also offer the usual breakfast combos with eggs, meats, carbs and coffee. My go-to order is the Texan omelette, filled with guacamole, salsa, and goat cheese. But no matter what you order, always get the home fries—they’re legendary here, properly crisped and seasoned real potatoes and onions.

Accessibility note: The restaurant’s entrance is wheelchair-accessible, as are the main-floor washrooms. The patio is accessed via a door in the bar area but is level with no step up or down.  

 

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Bar Lupulus: Back garden patio oasis

Last weekend, we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday. He’s an easy guy to plan for: He loves good food and craft beer. With that in mind, our destination almost picked itself. So off we went to Bar Lupulus. They market their outdoor seating as a “back garden patio oasis” and I find no fault in that description. Tucked away behind the restaurant is a cozy area, each table with its own umbrella and twinkling lights. The heaters are well-spaced so the chill never crept in, but you weren’t sweating, either. Lots of greenery and wood give the space a real arboreal vibe, making you forget that mere moments before, you were stepping in from the noise and bustle of Wellington St.

While Lupulus’ selection of beer is near-unrivalled, don’t worry if you’re not a hop-head. Their natural wine list is well-curated and their cocktails are cheeky and expertly crafted. Chef Lewis Robinson, formerly of Bar Laurel, has taken over the kitchen and produces smart, tasty dishes with interesting ingredients. Of particular note was the kampachi crudo, the raw fish cool and firm, accented by ginger oil, pumpkin seeds, and habanada peppers. Don’t sleep on the charcoal-grilled octopus, either. This dish reminded me of sunny days in Spain. The octo was smoky and tender, the potatoes and leeks moreish, and the green romesco sauce and delicate wild rose vinaigrette brought everything together into a plate I’m still tasting days after.

Accessibility note: The patio is accessed through the restaurant, which is accessible from the street. There is one wheelchair accessible washroom on the same floor, with two more washrooms downstairs.

 

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