The Best Patios for Eating and Drinking Outside in Denver
For outdoor dog-friendly drinking and patios with live music, these are your best bets for al fresco dining in the Mile High.
We don’t dare claim 2022 as our year given the recent history of, well, everything. But the one thing we can count on in Denver time and time again is patio season. Catch every possible space filling up this spring and summer for bottomless mimosas, house cocktails, free-flowing beer, and the best parts that patios have to offer, like spending quality time with your pups or enjoying live entertainment. Looking to patio hop? Grab sunshine brunch at one spot, then meander over to somewhere you can show off your ping pong or volleyball skills. If there’s one thing Denver knows best, it’s how to have a good time outside—all hail Mile High al fresco.
A chic cocktail lounge at the corner of Court Place and the 16th Street Mall has its home in Sheraton Downtown but is perfect for anyone needing a cozy patio beverage—hotel guest or otherwise. Indulge in some of the most fun-named cocktails, like the Dapper Don, Ambrosia Smoke Signal, and Tally Me Banana, or check out the vast beer, wine, cider, and mocktails available, with small bites—sweet and savory—to boot.
This place might have settled into its digs by now (and we know you know about the famed ice shots and basically that this is the after-dark spot in RiNo), but we’re focusing our love on its spacious patio for all your margarita-drinkin’, taco-lovin’ needs. And when the weather’s good (it’s Denver, so almost always), even the indoor roof opens up to let in sunshine and fresh air.
The neat thing about this enormous space is that you can show up at 9 am and start your day with an iced latte and stay late into the night for beers, specialty cocktails, and various food truck delights. The patio is sizable, meaning you and the whole gang are sure to find a spot, and heck, bring the pups along too. Leashed dogs are welcome to hang out while you enjoy patio life in Denver—one of its best features.
Three words for you: Bottomless Margarita Brunch. And even if brunch isn’t your thing, the margaritas, queso, and sunny patio overlooking Larimer Square are more than enough reasons to visit. Sit in the sun or underneath the cozy canopy and enjoy the best that Chef Richard Sandoval has to offer, then do it again next week, and the week after, and the week after that.
Forest Room 5
Looking for a Secret Garden-esque vibe while you sip something bubbly and refreshing? This semi-secret patio space has got woodland vibes in the heart of LoHi with a cocktail menu and tap list to keep you occupied far past sundown. Pull up a stump and warm yourself by the firepit if things get a little chilly and feel the weird blend of mountain–urban vibes.
Two words: wine slushies. Get ‘em in red, white, or swirl while soaking in the sun on the large patio at this restaurant. This spot is the sister restaurant to long time South Broadway favorite The Hornet and the menu features the same honey stung fried chicken (which also happens to be gluten-free).
With fire pits, picnic tables, and sparkling lights aplenty, this backyard-style escape is made for long afternoons sipping your way through the beer list. They’ve got 24 brews on tap, most Colorado-made, along with bottles, cans, wine, and cocktails. Plus they smoke their own meats in house daily, including their chicken wings—get the bourbon BBQ.
Ace Eat Serve
This 17th Ave staple is a known patio spot for catching some of that sweet Colorado sun while snacking on daily happy hour specials from Korean fried wings to Floral Fridays’ $5 Daiquiris. On Saturdays and Sundays, swing through for Japanese pancakes at the best brunch in town, or head over on Thursdays for a Peking duck date night.
Number Thirty Eight
Colorado was the 38th state to join the Union and Number Thirty Eight is an ode to all things Coloradoans love—aka, craft beer and being outside. This venue (which managed to open in the fall of 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic) features a drool-worthy menu from Split Lip Chicken, a beverage program highlighting locally made spirits and a wide array of Colorado brews, an outdoor stage for live music, and even sand volleyball courts. It’s basically an adult playground, and we’re here for it.
Avanti F&B, a collective eatery
One of the Mile High’s OG food halls, Avanti is an incubator for chefs and restaurateurs to test out new concepts, each operating out of seven shipping containers where current options include burgers, poke bowls, arepas, and more. But it’s also got one of the most popular rooftop patios in the city, with views of downtown and backyard party vibes. And in October 2020, Avanti opened a second location in Boulder which also boasts a patio with panoramic views.
Dreaming of a Paris getaway? You can find a slice of Parisian life right here in Denver at Bistro Vendome. One of the staples of historic Larimer Square, this French bistro from chef and restaurateur Jennifer Jasinski features a patio tucked away from the busy street where it’s easy to forget you’re actually still in Colorado. Pair your patio seat with wines by the glass and traditional French fare like mussels, escargot, and steak frites.
Bacon Social House
Bacon flights (yup, you read that right) and bacon bloodys flow freely at this north Denver brunch fave. But what really sets this spot apart is its large courtyard patio that’s tucked away from the main street and makes you feel like you just discovered Denver’s best secret daytime party when you arrive. For anyone down south—they’ve also got a location in Littleton with killer rooftop views of the Rockies.
The Farm House Breckenridge Brewery
With an expansive outdoor beer garden, this spot south of Denver is a day drinking oasis. In warmer months, outdoor concerts are a huge draw. But live entertainment aside, this is the kind of place you can go for a time-out from life as you sample their brews (and seltzers—they’ve got a line of those too) while enjoying eats like the Avalanche Ale beer-battered fish and chips or pulled pork sandwich with Hop Peak BBQ sauce.
Whether you’re stopping in for a pre-dinner drink or imbibing in late-night cocktails, this bar and food truck pod on Larimer Street in the heart of RiNo is located close to tons of other bars and restaurants… though once you settle in with a drink, you’ll probably want to stay awhile. The eclectic bar is stocked with over 800 spirits and sixteen rotating taps and often features a rotating schedule of food vendors posted up out front.
Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.