The Best Patios for Eating and Drinking Outside in Denver
Soak up the sun.
Life in Denver mainly consists of figuring out how to spend as much time outside as possible, so it’s no surprise that our patio game is strong. We love beer, we love food, and we love eating and drinking outdoors even more. From beer gardens to rooftop hideaways, there’s no shortage of places to eat and drink in the Mile High sunshine no matter the time of day. Whether you’re heading out for brunch, afternoon libations, or late night drinks, hit up these bars and restaurants for the ultimate Denver patio experiences.
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
While the ping-pong tables remain closed at this 17th Ave staple, they’ve transformed their patio into the perfect outdoor dining experience with private igloos and nightly specials. On Saturdays from 3:30 - 6:30 pm, swing through for live music, après specials, and weekly giveaways for best hat, mask, and retro ski outfit, or head over on Thursdays for a peking duck date night.
We may already be a mile high, but take things up a notch by heading to the 20th floor of the Le Méridien Denver Downtown where you’ll find Denver’s highest open-air rooftop bar. Yes, the views are stunning. And yes, their food and cocktail game is on point too, whether you want to snack on gochujang onion dip while sipping a glass of bubbly or you want to pair a perfect old fashioned with a wagyu beef burger.
If you’ve ever brunched in the former mortuary turned trendy eatery Linger or caught a show at former brothel turned restaurant Ophelia’s, you know that Justin Cucci’s Edible Beats restaurants are all about pairing unique details with globally inspired fare. What really sets El Five apart, though, isn’t the space’s history, but rather the view of the city’s future. From the patio, you look out on the ever-changing view of downtown Denver and contemplate your next mountain adventure while sharing tapas, paella, and G&T’s.
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, being outside. This venue (which managed to open in the fall of 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic) has global street food from Chef Merlin Verrier, a beverage program highlighting locally made spirits, an outdoor stage for live music, and even sand volleyball courts. It’s basically an adult après playground, and we’re here for it all.
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, hot chicken, 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.
The Source was Denver’s very first food hall and opened back in 2013. Five years later, The Source Hotel was added and along with being home to dining faves Safta and Smok, head up to the eighth floor to find sweeping views of the city from The Wood’s rooftop patio. The restaurant features New Belgium brews (including some that are brewed just 200 feet below in the hotel lobby) and food that’s perfect for sharing with friends over happy hour with a view.
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.
With an expansive outdoor beer garden, this spot south of Denver is a day drinking oasis. In warmer months, hopefully outdoor concerts can also return to the space, but even without live entertainment, 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 eat from the Farm House. The menu features the kind of comfort foods that pair perfectly with one (or three… ) pints, many of which use their beers in the recipes, like the Avalanche Ale beer battered fish and chips and the 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… although once you settle in with a drink, you’ll probably want to stay a while. While the eclectic bar stocked with over 800 spirits and sixteen rotating taps is indoors, all of the seating is outside. Right now, their rotating schedule of food vendors are setting up out front to avoid long lines and make room for more socially distant tables, but there’s usually at least once vendor to order eats from.