Cozy meets chic at outdoor drinks and dining spots that don’t stop when the temperature dips. Stay warm outside thanks to smart design, roaring fires, and ultraseasonal winter menus.
Between Igloofest dance parties and Nuit Blanche all-nighter art shows, cold weather is no match for Montrealers’ famed joie de vivre. On the eighth-floor terrace at William Gray hotel, dining below zero is a little easier thanks to clear, heated geodesic domes (reminiscent of the city’s iconic Biosphere structure). Each dome seats four to eight people for dinner all week or weekend brunch. There are six domes, including one on its own mini terrace with an outdoor campfire where guests can make s’mores using house-made marshmallows. The multicourse menu changes throughout the winter, but expect a focus on Quebec ingredients like duck, scallops, beets, and maple syrup. Even the staff uniforms are fiercely local, thanks to made-in-Montreal winter gear manufacturer Pajar. The pop-up runs until March 31, 2024, which, if you know Montreal weather, is right around the last snowstorm of the year.
The rooftop bar and lounge at Toronto’s Ace Hotel, Evangeline, brings the outdoors inside with its floor-to-ceiling windows, earth tones, warm woods, lush plant life, and two giant brick fireplaces, with design by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and interiors care of the brand’s in-house Atelier Ace team. Thanks to outdoor heaters, guests can also step outside onto the wraparound terrace all winter to indulge in views of Toronto’s skyline, including the sunset: the patio faces south and west. It’s perfect for grabbing some fresh air between craft cocktails and small plates (think oysters, tuna tartare, and fresh churros) by chef Patrick Kriss, founder of Michelin-starred Alo and Alobar, and grooving to the regular guest DJs.
With its picture-perfect views and regal reputation, Fairmont Banff Springs is already an iconic winter wonderland, but guests can lean into the spirit of the season with two luxurious outdoor options. The Private Campfire Experience is made for the VIP après-ski crowd, with a hotel-provided “stoker” tending the fire while guests enjoy hot chocolate or cocktails against the snow-capped backdrop. New this year, the Sugar Shack is a pop-up cabin serving maple taffy, hot drinks, and house-made apple pies for refuelling after skating on the nearby Vermillion Lawn ice rink.
In downtown Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the glass-roofed Reflections Terrace lets guests gather outside all year round in the fourth-floor interior courtyard. The ultraseasonal cocktail menu focuses on festive hot and cold drinks, like St-Rémy Mulled Wine and a G&T flavoured with winter herbs and spices, alongside a wine menu showcasing some of the best B.C. bottles. Bar bites are heavy on shareable plates and luxe ingredients, including wagyu beef dumplings, truffle fries, and lobster tacos. Holiday season or not, the mood is distinctly celebratory, with soft sparkling lights and lots of winter greenery. The space can also be booked for 21 people or more (for those who don’t want anyone stepping into their group shots).