Outdoor Bars and Restaurants to Visit this Summer in Toulouse
In Toulouse, you’ll find terraces at bars and restaurants open year-round (with heaters and blankets for those brave souls – or smokers – who want to sit outside in January). However, our hot, sunny summers give rise to a crop of outdoor bars and restaurants that pop up around around Toulouse and nearby towns , allowing Toulousains and visitors alike to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking to the fullest. In this article we’ve got a list of outdoor bars and restaurants in and around Toulouse that you’ll want to visit this summer (including a handy Google map at the bottom!), as well as a guide to the vocabulary of these types of establishments.
Your dictionary for outdoor drinks and dining:
These outdoor dining and drinking pop-ups take several different forms. The borders between these different types of establishments can be blurry, especially in terms of what kind of food is served, so don’t get too hung up on what to call something – just know that these words might be used!
“Une Guinguette” – a “guinguette” (pronounced “ghan-get”) is a difficult word to translate into English. The direct translation, according to Google is “tavern,” but that really doesn’t encompass the whole concept. A guinguette is a seasonal, open air bar/café with a casual setting. Sometimes you can order a fully-cooked meal there, but often any food served will be simple snacks, with the purpose being to accompany drinks instead of having a full sit-down meal. There might also be music and dancing.
“Un Restaurant éphémère” – a “restaurant éphémère” (pronounced “rest-oh-rant eff-em-air”) is just what it sounds like – an ephemeral (or pop-up) restaurant that is only open for a certain period of time. Like the name suggests, you can expect more in the way of food. Obviously, not all pop-up restaurants feature outdoor dining, but it’s pretty much a feature of summertime pop-ups in Toulouse – and many invest heavily in the atmosphere and decor, turning what would already be a pleasant evening outdoors into a uniquely beautiful (and Instagrammable) experience.
“Une Buvette” – a “buvette” (pronounced “boov-ette”) is a small stand where beverages are sold. It can also refer to a snack bar, so sometimes the words “guinguette” and “buvette” are similar enough to be interchangeable. A buvette isn’t necessarily always outside, like a guinguette, but it can be.
Outdoor bars, cafés, and restaurants in Toulouse are usually open May through September or October. It pays to check their website or Facebook page for daily updates, though, because many will close for the day if the weather is bad (one of the hazards of being an outdoor operation). Many of the restaurants require or strongly recommend reservations – especially with capacity limitations due to COVID-19 regulations.
Outdoor bars & cafés in Toulouse
Les Pêcheurs de Sable
Quai de la Daurade, 31000 Toulouse
This unpretentious outdoor café is one of my favorite summertime spots in Toulouse for several reasons – the lovely location in the park at la Daurade makes for not only one of the best sunset-watching opportunities in the city but is also pretty much perfect for any time of day, AND the prices for food and drinks are very reasonable. In addition to wine and beer, they also offer delicious draft cider, freshly-squeezed juices, and unpretentious – but fresh and delicious – food like hummus or charcuterie platters, gazpacho, and more. Order at the counter, then grab a spot under one of their umbrellas on the patio or get your order to go and sit on the grassy bank of La Garonne or on the benches with a view of the playground. Slightly morbid historical note: Les Pêcheurs operates out of a small space built into the walls of the quai where it encircles the park at La Daurade. This space used to be the morgue for the city!
La Buvette A m’en donné
Jardin Raymond VI, 31300 Toulouse
This guinguette is going to be your Left Bank hangout. Located in the Jardin Raymond VI, between the Musée des Abattoirs and the Saint Cyprien side of the Garonne, this no-frills café features a stunning view of the river. Again, food and drink are simple, but reasonably-priced with counter service. There’s also a playground nearby, which makes it a great spot for families.
Le Kiosque du Comptoir Occitan
Place du Salin
This charming little art deco-style kiosk in the Place du Salin serves products from our region of Occitanie – wine, beer, charcuterie, burgers, seafood, cheese, and more. It’s surrounded by rough-hewn tables and chairs that are first-come, first-serve. The gravel surface of the newly-renovated Place du Salin makes for a great space to play pétanque.
La Guinguette de Chouchou
37 Quai de Tounis, 31000 Toulouse
Run by the restaurant group ALLFORYOU; who is also behind La Compagnie Française, Ma Biche sur le Toit, Café Chouchou, and L’Envol Côté Plage (see below), this is definitely a more refined sort of guinguette. With a beautiful location on the Quai de Tunis (east of the Pont Neuf), it’s easy to spend a few hours here watching the boats on the river and sipping a rosé piscine (rosé with ice cubes). Normally, the centerpiece of the guinguette is an impressive floating pontoon decked with lights. However, due to the setbacks dealt by COVID-19 in 2020, we’ll have to content ourselves with brightly-colored quai-side seating this year. Drinks and food are of good quality, but I get the feeling that you are paying a bit more of a premium for the location and the experience than the first two options on our list. That being said, you’re also getting table service and more menu options (you can even order main dishes from the nearby Café Chouchou to be delivered by bike), so I don’t think the prices are unreasonable – just in a different budget class.
Allée Fernand Jourdant, 31400 Toulouse
5 years old, the guinguette takes its name from a decommissioned hydroelectric plant that has been transformed into a pop-up restaurant on the Ile du Ramier, complete with vintage decorations. They’re open for dinner, with also an all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays. Special events like a brocante (antique sale) and an evening with vendors from the Marché Victor Hugo are planned. Check their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/barlacentrale) for updates. I’ve yet to visit, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or drinks. Reservations by telephone: 05.61.73.82.31.
This guinguette is run by a non-profit volunteer association and is in its 9th year of operation. It’s open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings for concerts that are programmed all summer long. There’s also a dance floor for those who like to move with the music. Drinks and food is available, but is cash-only. Check out their website for a list of what’s playing.
Les Terrasses de l’Atelier
1 Chemin des Étroits, 31400 Toulouse
This guinguette boasts 1 000m2 of terraces with a food court-like setting where you walk around and order from individual stands. The terraces are divided into different sections, each with a different ambiance. The location isn’t easy to get to, as it’s just outside the peripherique (near the Casino Barrière), but you can take advantage of a shuttle that runs from the Carmes metro station every 15 minutes from 7pm until closing (2 € each way). In fact, due to a difficult parking situation for both cars and bicycles, taking the shuttle is recommended. I’ve yet to visit, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or drinks. Reserve online.
Le Ministère des Brasseurs
11 rue Humbert Tomatis, 31200 Toulouse
What do you do when your bar in Toulouse, Le Ministère, is not well-adapted to the health regulations put in place by the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of coronavirus? Why, you open a guinguette outside! Even though Le Ministère has reopened, this guinguette in the Minimes neighborhood is back for the summer of 2021. It features a food truck with burgers and tapas. There are spaces for pétanque (bring your own balls), as well as beer pong (hey, we are a university town, after all…).
La Guinguette d’Odyssud
Parc du Ritouret 31700 Blagnac
This guinguette is the extension of the Bistrot des Artistes at the multidisciplinary cultural center Odyssud in Blagnac and benefits from a beautiful lakeside setting. There is a lunch menu of the day, as well as an evening menu with tapas and several main dishes. Enjoy live music on the weekends and afterwork DJs.
Outdoor pop-up restaurants in Toulouse
Le Canaille Club
55 Avenue Louis Breguet, 31400 Toulouse
The Canaille Club has been open each summer since 2016, however they changed their location in 2019 from Saint-Michel to the Montaudran neighborhood, a 10 minute walk from Halle de la Machine, which gives them more room to spread out. And spread out they do with over 2 000m2 of terraces! The site features many different types of seating, several petanque courts, as well as a kids’ corner with games and a movie screen where kids can have fun while their parents relax nearby (just ask to reserve a table near the “coin enfant”). In terms of food, they have themed kiosks spaced around the site where you can order cheese, charcuterie, fish, meat, dessert, and more. I’ve yet to visit, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or drinks. Reserve online.
62 Route de Gaure, 31130 Balma
If you want an outdoor dining experience a bit removed from the bustle of the city, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect location than Flon-Flon. The outdoor restaurant sets up in the summertime on the grounds of a private chateau in Balma (north of Toulouse), the main floor of which you have to walk through to reach the seating area. The ambiance here is truly stunning, with a beautiful arrangement of tables for dining and more relaxed seating for lounging with your friends. You’re treated to a beautiful sunset view of Toulouse and then lights that have been wired through the ground come on and you can complete your evening in their glow. Reserve online. Disclosure: I had the pleasure of being a guest at Flon-Flon for a media event in July 2020. These opinions are my own and I only write about things that I love.
L’Envol Côté Plage
32 Avenue Jean René Lagasse, 31130 Balma
Run by the restaurant group ALLFORYOU (see La Guinguette de Chouchou above), the name translates to “The Flight Beach-side,” which pretty much says it all. Because it’s located at the Aérodrome Toulouse – Lasbordes in Balma, you might see small planes flying overhead, leading you to imagine you’ve hitched a ride to a tropical island. The atmosphere here is beachy to the max, with even a sandy area to lounge around. This pop-up has been happening for 13 years, so it’s well-established and has a restaurant (lunch and dinner), a lounge space, the aforementioned “beach” area (starting at 5pm), and even hosts DJs and live music for dancing until 2am. I’ve yet to visit, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or drinks. Reserve online.
2 Impasse du Pont Saint-Michel, 31400 Toulouse
You can find this pop-up restaurant specializing in seafood right on the lock (“l’ecluse”) next to the Pont Saint-Michel and the beautiful park that is now on the northern tip of the Île du Ramier. Notably, they serve both lunch and dinner. I’ve yet to visit, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food or drinks. Reserve online.
Chemin des Canelles, 31320 Castanet-Tolosan
This outdoor restaurant has opened for the second year on the grounds of Le Mas des Canelles, an event space in Castanet-Tolosan that sits on the Canal du Midi. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit – but with names behind it like Maison Garcia, Fromagerie Betty, the Fat Cat, and more – it promises to be good! Google says it’s a 45 minute bike ride along the Canal from Toulouse, so it would be a good workout for your dinner.
7 Place Lange, 31300 Toulouse
Another entry in the pop-up restaurant scene in Toulouse (not to be confused with Racine Café near Saint-Aubin) benefits from a location right at the foot of the Ferris wheel that is installed every summer on the Port Viguerie. The owners, however, are no stranger to the Toulouse restaurant scene, having owned a restaurant on the Place Saint Etienne together, as well as being chosen to have a stand in the new food court at the Halles de la Cité that is currently under works. They serve seafood, shellfish, grilled meats and some “healthy” options like protein bowls and fresh juice. Grab lunch, dinner, or even a post-Ferris wheel drink, as they’re open until midnight during the week and 1am on weekends. Reserve by phone at 06 45 43 78 92.
Hans’l & Bretz’l Biergarten
15 chemin de Périac, 31840 Aussone
This authentic Bavarian-style outdoor beer garden restaurant is located on the outskirts of Toulouse near the Aéroscopia air museum and the new MEETT convention center. They serve all sorts of German culinary specialties, as well as beer, and have a children’s play area. Open Thursday – Saturday evenings and Fridays for lunch. Note: closed August 2 – 16 for summer holidays. Reserve online.
Do you have a favorite outdoor bar, café, or restaurant that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this article, check out our list of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning restaurants in Toulouse.