When summer finally hits Denver, there’s just one thing you’ve gotta do... see all of these outdoor movies. Oh, and spend as much time outdoors as possible, preferably at bars or restaurants with sweet patios. But which one?! Probably one of the 32 best outdoor drinking destinations in Denver, which we’ve helpfully ranked for you below:
32. The Pioneer
This neighborhood place in south Denver should be your go-to spot for intense Denver sunshine and $3.50 margaritas. The patio around this DU watering hole offers plenty of space that makes competing for seats with college kids a little easier, especially if you show up at 3pm for the start of happy hour and avoid the riff raff.
31. Cold Crush
The drinkery in the RiNo neighborhood prides itself on a few things it does best: creative art installations, innuendo-heavy menu items, and the importance of fresh air. The sizable side patio offers up quality seating for those who need a break from the whomp-whomp the DJs are spinning on the inside.
30. Kaos Pizzeria
The patio at Kaos Pizzeria is molto bene! Meaning it's Italy incarnate with its lush vine-adorned walkways, cobblestone paths, and patio kitchen that fills the air with aromas of fresh baked Neapolitan-style pizzas. More than 30 different styles of classic Italian pizza grace the menu from prosciutto to Margherita and a local brew list from Odell, Left Hand, and Prost doesn’t hurt the atmosphere either.
Vita is the type of place that makes you wish you had 50+ friends. Its patio offers the space for such social groups and a bar program that is sure to please any and everyone. Grab a classic Manhattan or martini from the conveniently placed patio bar that’s mere steps away from just about any seat.
28. Forest Room 5
The patio at Forest Room 5 is as much as a wild life refuge as it is an outdoor seating area. There are fire pits, babbling brooks, and secluded tree-lined alcoves that make your forget you are actually in the Lo-Hi.
27. Star Bar
One of Downtown Denver’s best dive bars, Star Bar has a decent patio artfully hidden from view of the passing public. Grab a beer from its killer rotating beer list and head through the back door to experience urban drinking at its finest. When the nights are really going, a patio bar opens up for easy-access drinking.
Hidden high above Broadway is Yazoo Barbeque Company's upstairs patio. High walls control the bustle of the streets below but allow for plenty of sunlight to shine down on your BBQ-stained face. The space is even equipped with a full bar that few are even aware of!
25. Agave Taco Bar
Agave Taco Bar in the Wash Park area has its patio as priority number one. It offers up as much seating outside as it does inside and it's all furnished in appropriate cantina décor.
24. Tavern Uptown
Tavern Uptown offers up one of the largest patios in Uptown and enough TVs and sports packages to make watching the game anywhere else unnecessary. Cold pints of beer and bar fare are what you can expect and a landscaped back patio offers up an environment that makes drinking outside while kind of being inside so enjoyable.
The polished dive bar in Uptown Denver is as pretty on the outside as it is on the inside. The patio is hidden from all but a single door on the back wall that opens into a quality outdoor space with an ever-changing graffitied wall supplied by a local artist. It conveys a space for deep thinkers and passionate light beer drinkers.
22. The Thin Man
The Thin Man is a drinker’s bar and the patio makes it an outdoor drinker's bar. The space is large and the seating doesn’t get fancier than a ripped out backseat from a van. But once you pass through one of the most stylish dive bars in Denver, you actually prefer it that way.
When the brewers at OMF opened, they knew they had to have a quality and intense patio that was on par with their quality and hoppy-flavored beers. Just off to the side of the main entrance, the patio at OMF unapologetically offers no shade so all that skin-searing Colorado sun can beat down upon your brow. It’s actually quite nice.
20. The Populist
Strolling by the Populist, one can't help but want to be on its patio. With a modern and industrial design at its heart, it invokes all the best parts of the RiNo district. It could also be its Colorful Ranch Beef Burgers or sausage and cavatelli that everyone is eating. Whatever the case may be, you desperately want an invite to that party.
Getting on the patio at Tamayo is the start of a good time. The Latin-heavy menu -- artfully commanded by Richard Sandoval and featuring items like Pepito Steak Wraps -- will put the spice in your life and the breeze of a calm Denver wind will cool you down. Order up some Mercado Margs that use passion fruit purees and you will probably never leave.
18. The Matchbox
RiNo is already one of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods to eat and drink in and The Matchbox on Larimer is one of the “drink-in” places. It also happens to have a great patio that is large enough to hold a party and seclude you from the throngs of people who are spending their evenings in the area.
Vine Street Pub kind of has it all. It could be its fine selection of burgers or even finer selection of house brews, but it’s really its patios that steal the show. The front offers a space to kick up the feet and the side allows for yard games and mingling room.
This place is on fire! Ahooo! Ignite! is a burger bar that does not mess around when it comes to patio seating. The front patio is going to be fine and all, but it’s the party happening upstairs that’s the desired destination. Outfitted with a full bar and the ability to order up some beefy deliciousness, Ignite! is how any sane person would want to spend their evenings.
If this South Pearl resto seems homey, it's because it used to be, in fact, a residential home that was retro-fitted to “house” a low-down-cuisine-style restaurant. Along with major changes to the entire place, front, side, and rooftop patios were added, making all its pure cane sugar drinks come with a side of fresh air.
14. World of Beer
Immediately known for the amount of beer this place has (duh!), World of Beer also boasts a pretty amazing patio located in the middle of the City Set area of Glendale. While you are more than welcomed to have a Corona and lime, you are encouraged to try literally any one of the thousands of other brews it has like the recently tapped Green Flash Belgian Coast IPA.
If you are going to throw “Big Backyard” into your name you better be packing some serious real estate in the rear. When you grab a cold one from one of its 12 rotating taps and maybe order up a round of fried mushrooms, make your way to the back and bear witness to one of the largest outdoor areas in the city. Gibby’s Big Backyard in Aurora not only has ample seating but it also has two sand volleyball courts for all your bump, set, and spike needs.
The only thing you probably wish you had after eating one of Illegal Pete’s rather large burritos is more room for your expanding waistline, which is probably what they had in mind when they opened their South Broadway location a couple years ago. The patio is massive and offers up tables galore for you and your buds to gorge, regret, and repeat.
Pouring tasty suds and having one of the most pet-friendly patios in Denver is a winning combo for the guests of DBC. The always-busy and popular brewery is inspired by German beer gardens with large community tables to encourage... um, “community”? If that doesn’t start conversations, let your four-legged wingman work it's magic while you knock back some Sun Drenched Ale and get drenched in sun.
10. My Brother’s Bar
The well-known “oldest bar” in Denver slings one of the best, greasiest burgers you can find anywhere and also has one of the most charming patios in Denver. High fences and rich vegetations offer solitude as you wash down bison burgers with pints of local brews and maybe discuss a Kerouac novel (that you’ve definitely read).
When you get a seat at Steuben’s* you should be happy, but when you get a patio seat, you should be ecstatic. The side patio it offers is pretty much the epitome of restaurant patios and the front seating area may be the best seat in the house for people-watching on 17th.
The rooftop patio at Los Chingones offers refuge from the ever-populated streets of the RiNo district. The space comes equipped with a bar that pops tops of Tecate, Negra Modelo, and PBR, which always pair well with its huge selection of tequila to sip or shoot, and a full food menu to satiate your hunger.
The patio out front at the Kitchen [Next Door] might get you to the door alone. Who are we kidding? It’s those garlic smashers too, but the rooftop patio is what will have you posting up there for hours to come. The 70-seater is outfitted with a herb garden, well-stocked bar, and some of the best mountain views in town.
The beers at Ratio Beerworks are bringing in the fans, but the big, dog-friendly side patio is creating the regulars. The usual always-with-beer-in-hand yard games are available for constant entertainment and consumption, and both shaded and unshaded seats are there for your choice of sunny or not-sunny comfort.
5. Izakaya Den
The elegantly designed interior of Izakaya Den makes it hard to break away, but if the interior looks so good, the exterior can’t fall short, right? Right. You won’t be disappointed dining on the sushi den’s patio in the alluring area of South Pearl. Feasting on the impressive sushi list of salmon, yellowtail, and tuna rolls and the humming bustle of pedestrians below create for a harmonious evening experience every time.
If given the opportunity to dine on the rooftop patio at Jax Fish House in Glendale, do not waste the opportunity, ever. Plenty of space accommodates the large rooftop area and it probably catches and releases into your stomach some of the best seafood in Denver, if not the state.
The former mortuary is “killing” it (like they never heard that one before) when it comes to eating and drinking on the top of their massive restaurant. If the cheese-stuffed dates (aka, devils on horseback) don’t get you up there, sipping on one of the precisely crafted cocktails they serve up from their van/bar parked just feet away from the dining tables certainly will.
This Asian resto/ping pong hall in the Uptown area of Denver is about having fun, so don’t be all stuffy and upset if a ping pong ball or two lands in your dim sum or pad Thai. Just chop stick that back over to one of the three tables it has on its large front patio and keep on going, man.
Front patios, side patios, rooftop patios, downstairs patios, back patios... the ViewHouse Downtown takes the cake when it comes to the outdoor scene in Denver. Each offers up something unique, so one experience can be drastically different from the next, ensuring you come back for more.
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*Editor's note: The author of this piece is currently employed by Steuben's, but we would have included it anyway because it's fantastic.
1. The Pioneer2401 S University Blvd, Denver
2. Cold Crush2700 Larimer St, Denver
3. Kaos Pizzeria1439 S Pearl St, Denver
4. Vita1575 Boulder St, Denver
5. Forest Room 52532 15th St, Denver
6. Star Bar2137 Larimer St, Denver
7. Yazoo Barbeque Company2150 Broadway, Denver
8. Agave Taco Bar2217 E Mississippi Ave, Denver
9. Tavern Uptown538 E 17th Ave Pkwy, Denver
10. The Horseshoe Lounge414 E 20th Ave, Denver
11. The Thin Man2015 E 17th Ave, Denver
12. Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew2810 Larimer St, Denver
13. The Populist3163 Larimer St, Denver
14. Tamayo1400 Larimer St, Denver
15. The Matchbox2625 Larimer St, Denver
16. Vine Street Pub & Brewery1700 Vine St, Denver
17. Ignite! Fire-Crafted Food + Rooftop Bar2124 Larimer St, Denver
18. Fourteen Seventy-Two1472, South Pearl Street, Denver
19. World of Beer660 S Colorado Blvd, Denver
20. Gibby's Big Backyard1555 S Havana St, Aurora
21. Illegal Pete's South Broadway270 South Broadway, Denver
22. Denver Beer Company1695 Platte St, Denver
23. My Brother's Bar2376 15th St, Denver
24. Steuben's Food Service523 E 17th Ave, Denver
25. Los Chingones2461 Larimer Street #102, Denver
26. The Kitchen [Next Door]1035 Pearl St, Boulder
27. Ratio Beerworks2920 Larimer St, Denver
28. Izakaya Den1487A S Pearl St, Denver
29. Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar1539 17th St, Denver
30. Linger2030 W 30th Ave, Denver
31. Ace Eat Serve501 E 17th Ave, Denver
32. ViewHouse2015 Market St, Denver
This neighborhood place in south Denver should be your go-to spot for intense Denver sunshine and $3.50 margaritas. The patio around this DU watering hole offers plenty of space that make competing for seats with college kids a little easier, especially if you show up at 3pm for the start of happy hour and avoid the riff raff.
Shying away from typical deep-fried bar food with a complete Juice Bar and fresh ingredient initiative, this new restaurant/bar/lounge/artist venue is the place for visitors to let their mind wander over a local brew. Regulars will notice the mural on the wall changing on a regular basis, courtesy of local artists.
Over 30+ different styles of classic Italian pizza grace the menu at Kaos Pizzeria, from prosciutto to margherita and a local brew list from Odell, Left Hand, or Prost doesn’t hurt either. And, the patio is molte bene! Meaning its Italy incarnate with its lush vine adorned walkways, cobblestone paths, and patio kitchen that fills the air with aromas of fresh baked Neapolitan style pizzas.
Vita is the type of place that makes you wish you had 50+ friends. Their patio offers the space for such social groups and a bar program that is sure to please any and everyone. Grab a classic Manhattan or Martini from the conveniently placed patio bar that’s mere steps away from just about any seat.
A center for music, art and film, Forest Room 5 is certainly an interesting spot to spend a night at. The highlight: the patio is as much as a wild life refuge as it is an outdoor seating area. There are fire pits, babbling brooks, and secluded tree-lined alcoves that makes your forget you are actually in the Lo-Hi.
A welcome dive among all the large party warehouses in LoDo, Star Bar has their fair share of Colorado craft beers and tasty 'tails. They have karaoke on Thursday nights, Skee- ball, and an outdoor bar/ lounge area equipped with adult slushies. The bartenders are also wayyy more knowledgeable than your average dive bar drink slingers.
Head to Yazoo in Five Points for some of the best St. Louis-style pork ribs and smoked chicken wings you'll have in Denver. If you're looking to turn things up a legally-reckless notch, try out some of their Sign a Disclaimer Hot sauce and see what you're made of (other than sweat, tears, and regret).
Agave Taco Bar is offering up a ton of new, eclectic taco options (squid ink taco! veggie options!), as well as an impressive list of daily aguas frescas.
Tavern Uptown has lots of chorizo, beer, and brunch-related grub that will make you happy you got out of bed.
Horseshoe's awesomely divey vibe includes a killer juke that runs from punk, to "country your grandpa listened to", to special bartender mixes (old-school rap, metal, etc.), all of which provides a perfect soundtrack to playing pinball, arcade games, and pool.
The Thin Man is a drinker’s bar and the patio makes it an outdoor drinkers bar. The space is large and the seating doesn’t get fancier than a ripped out back seat to a van. But once you pass through one of the most stylish dive bars in Denver, you actually prefer it that way.
This brewery and taproom features a selection of ales crafted from locally sourced ingredients, with 100% of the barley used coming from Colorado farms. Outdoor seating is available, and the building that the taproom occupies was formerly an ice cream shop.
Located in Denver's Five Points neighborhood, The Populist is an American restaurant perfecting the craft of the small (er) plate (no entree-sized meals). With menu items like the seared kalbi short ribs with soy braised burdock avocado puree and herb papaya salad, and powerhouse, distinctive cocktails, you may find smaller can be better.
This Larimer Square spot is a culinary canvas on which Chef Richard Sandoval blends earthy flavors of his native Mexico with creative cooking techniques to craft Tamayo’s modern Mexican cuisine. The substantial menu consists of starters, soups and salads, tacos, enchiladas, chef specials like chicken mole poblano and grilled striped bass wrapped in corn husk, and guacamoles, including traditional, bacon, tuna tartare, and spicy crab varieties. Equally extensive is the tequila collection (there are over 100 options); opt for homemade serrano- or prickly pear-infused tequila, or, if you’re like us and can’t choose just one, order a flight like the Casamigos, a trio of blanco, reposado, and añejo.
Inside The Matchbox you'll find a cozy-yet-still-industrial vibe, complemented by a retracting garage door in the front that provides an opening to indoor/outdoor drinking when the weather's right. There're cheap drinks, a back patio, and a bocce court for your enjoyment!
A subsidiary of the Mountain Sun Restaurant Group (Pearl Street's popular pub), Vine Street offers a solid selection of microbrews on tap, as well as delicious pub fare. Just like its extensive collection of housemade craft beers, the interior design here is wholly custom-tailored as well, and features abstract and colorful murals, overhead piping painted with vines, and a patio designated for cornhole matches.
Ignite's a 4800sqft "urban gastropub" with great views, and a wood-fired oven that burns at 700 degrees to crank out all sorts of hearty eats like buffalo meatloaf, wood-roasted herb chicken, mac 'n cheese, and various burgers.
Enjoy a seafood-saturated menu full of Cajun/ Caribbean/ African flavors at this South Carolina-inspired "low country" grub spot and watering hole.
Finding a wide selection of craft beer at a nightlife chain is rarer than not finding $3.99 DVDs of Jingle All The Way at a homewares chain. But it's happening at WoB's Cherry Creek location, which's completely dedicated to craft beer, offering 500+ bottles & cans -- hailing from as far as Germany as close as, well, here -- in brightly lit fridges lining the walls, plus 50 taps, some of which are Belgian ultra-rarities.
If you are going to throw “big backyard” into your name you better be packing some serious real estate in the rear. When you grab a cold one from one of their 12 rotating taps and maybe order up a round of fried mushrooms, make your way to the back and bear witness to one of the largest outdoor areas in the city. Gibby’s Big Backyard in Aurora not only has ample seating but they also have two sand volleyball courts for all your bump, set, and spike needs.
The only thing you probably wish you had after eating one of Illegal Pete’s rather large burrito’s is more room for your expanding waistline, which is probably what they had in mind when they opened their South Broadway location a couple years ago. The patio at this location is massive and offers up tables galore for you and your buds to gorge, regret, and repeat.
In addition to its selection of regular favorites, DBC features a rolling lineup of varietals that vary with each season, ensuring that there's always something new to try. The Barrel Room next door can be used as a special event space for birthdays, anniversaries (if you're that kind of couple), or just a good old-fashioned beer bash.
My Brother's Bar, off 15th and Platte, is a city institution that has been pouring booze for Beat Gen folks like Neal Cassady (who still has a tab there) and plenty of other thirsty Denverites forever. MBB also flips a mean burger -- pair that with a solid beer list, and it's no surprise this place is still going strong.
Steuben's, an old-school diner with sophistication, serves good ol' American comfort food in Uptown Denver. Class it up with a cayenne etouffee or get down and dirty with some gravy fries.
Located in downtown RiNo, Los Chignons is a bi-level, modern Mexican restaurant and lounge from Colorado Restaurateur Troy Guard. The contemporary taqueria features creative and unexpected Mexican street snacks and cocktails like salsa flights, pig ear nachos, and octopus tacos, and a tequila cocktail with Mexican coke... and pop rocks. You can stick to the basics in food and drink -- vegetarian options are also on offer -- or take an adventure into Guard’s “badass Mexican” cuisine with a Beergarita (it is exactly as it sounds) to accompany your rattlesnake chorizo queso fundido.
The Kitchen [Next Door] has a community-minded philosophy driven by a simple but elegant menu and a casual environment. Stop by for a drink, a meal, and bring the kids ($2 of every kids meal is donated to help plant gardens in local schools).
The beers at Ratio Beerworks are bringing in the fans but the big, dog friendly side patio is creating the regulars. The usual always-beer-in-hand yard games are available for constant entertainment and consumption and both shaded and unshaded seats are there for your choice of sunny or no-sunny comfort.
Across the street from its sister restaurant Sushi Den on Pearl, ID's dishing out Japanese eats like cod stew, Wagyu beef carpaccio, and whole(y) mackerels.
Jax Fish House probably catches and releases into your stomach some of the best seafood in Denver, if not the state. If given the opportunity to dine on the rooftop patio, do not waste the opportunity, ever.
If you think an ex-mortuary can't serve up some killer apothecary-esque cocktails, you're dead wrong. Ok, ok, but seriously, the views at Root Down's fancy sister spot are spectacular, and with a rooftop patio and dinner menu featuring gourmet dishes from around the world, you will definitely be tempted to linger.
High-energy hot spot in an old garage for pan-Asian chow, cocktails & table tennis, plus juice bar.
ViewHouse's roof deck overlooks Coors Field so you can take it 360 degree views of Denver, while taking down pub food like burgers or chicken and waffles, then wash it down with the craft beers on tap.