On Denver’s sun-smooched days — of which there are hundreds — locals and visitors alike flock outside to enjoy the scintillating scenery. And there’s no better way to soak up summer than on one of The Mile High City’s splendid patios. From skyward rooftop terraces to lushly landscaped gardens, these are some of the ultimate spots to eat and drink alfresco in Denver. For the hottest new restaurants, check out our Must-Try Restaurants page.
At Ace Eat Serve, a jovial Uptown hangout popular with all age groups, the sidewalk patio grandstands Ping-Pong tables that inspire playful competition. But even if Ping-Pong isn’t your pastime, the patio is still a fantastic place to park yourself for an afternoon of eating, imbibing and, if it’s Saturday and summertime, live music or energetic DJs spinning cool tunes. The menu revolves around Asian dishes (get the justifiably lauded Tiger Wings glazed with a sweet, salty and spicy sauce), and the drink roster follows suit, delving into Asian-inspired beers and cocktails, including the Thai Me Up, a refreshing sipper made with green tea-infused Spring44 gin, Thai basil, ginger, cardamom, elderflower, lemon and black lava sea salt.
Acova arguably has one of the best patios in the city, tucked in the Highland neighborhood. The wide-ranging global menu has comfort food favorites like fish and chips along with Italian-inspired fare. But there's a lot more here than great food. Acova also offers signature organic wine slushies, perfect for those warm-weather afternoons and evenings. Let's not forget about the giant patio that keeps kids engaged with a play area that includes a Lego wall and spoon chimes.
Leave it to restaurateur and design genius Justin Cucci (Linger, Vital Root and Root Down) to erect an epic rooftop patio in the Lower Highland (LoHi) neighborhood with equally glorious skyline views. An elevator whisks you up to the fifth floor of El Five, where Mediterranean tapas and creative cocktails timed for the seasons intersect, and while both the food and libations are noteworthy, we wouldn’t fault Cucci if he charged an entrance fee just for the opportunity to behold the bright lights of the big city from the sky-high deck, which, at the moment, eclipses all others.
By some remarkable feat, a vintage lime-green airstream trailer was dropped onto the massive rooftop of Linger, a hip LoHi hotspot for soaking up the sun, imbibing cocktails and grazing on globe-trotting small plates dispensed from the kitchen of owner Justin Cucci’s “eatuary,” a play on words that stems from its former occupant: a mortuary. But Linger is anything but morbid. The terrace channels a midcentury-mod vibe, and the food, much like the infectious energy that radiates on the rooftop, is full of verve (think: Korean-barbecue tacos, potato masala dosas and cheddar cheese curds with shishito peppers). Gaze and marvel at the twinkling lights that illuminate both the sky and the city skyline, and you'll see why Travel + Leisure named this one of "America's Coolest Rooftop Bars."
Artisanal meets accessible at this full-production urban winery in RiNo. Peruse the extensive wine menu (there's also a full bar with craft beer and specialty cocktails), order something to nosh from the curated food menu, then grab a spot in the Roaring 20s-inspired tasting room or relax by the fire on the private courtyard patio — the perfect spot to catch a classic Colorado sunset.
In the middle of bustling Cherry Creek, the Cherry Creek Beer Garden at the Moxy Denver is a great spot to slow down and grab a beer (or two) and a bite to eat. All the beers are cold, crisp and canned, making them the perfect patio companions. Speaking of companions — the beer garden is dog-friendly, and there's even a dog-friendly beer!
Another of Chef-owner Justin Cucci's creations, Root Down in LoHi is housed in a renovated filling station, but you won't find any greasy gas station hot dogs here! The restaurants offers globally inspired, seasonal cuisine made with fresh produce from local growers as well as sustainable meats and fish. Snag a spot under the bistro lights of the outdoor patio for stellar views of the city skyline.
At 5,430 feet above sea level, 54thirty in Downtown is the city’s highest open-air rooftop bar. You’ll find it on the 20th floor of the AC Hotel Denver and Le Méridien Denver Downtown building, so if you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down! When you get there, try to snag one of the six fire pit tables, then order a glass of wine, a pint of beer, or one of the rooftop bar’s signature cocktails, like the Hibiscus Margarita, made with tequila, hibiscus, lemon juice and orange bitter.
LOWRY BEER GARDEN
Lowry’s answer to a playground for both adults and kids, this 350-seat, 4,500-square-foot German-style beer garden encompasses everything you could possibly want from a patio perch: fire pits, community picnic tables, a beer syllabus inked with 16 tap lines and an additional 85 by the bottle and can, plus live music (seasonal) and a menu that appeases every appetite: brats, hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, salads and a slew of snacks that seesaw from chicken wings to soft pretzels mated with melted cheese.
HIGHLAND TAP AND BURGER
If you like to get rowdy (even just a little), Highland Tap & Burger, situated in the Highland ‘hood, is your poison. Its sidewalk patio is home to spirited revelers — and local reality show celebrities — who like to kick back with a cold brew (the craft beer selection is phenomenal) or cocktail and indulge in the award-winning burgers, the best of which is Shroom Luva’s burger skyscraped with sautéed mushrooms, Emmenthal cheese and white-truffle aioli. Decadence.
LOCAL 46 BAR & BIERGARTEN
Just off Tennyson Street — the lively epicenter of the Berkeley neighborhood — sits Local 46 Bar and Biergarten, whose raucous patio sports a barbecue shack that dispenses skewers of shrimp, po’boys, sliders, tricked-out burgers and sausages loaded up with chili and queso. Along with ample picnic-style seating to sop up the sunshine, the sprawling oasis sports Ping-Pong tables, corn-hole and a bocce court — and if all that wasn’t enough, revelers can also partake in karaoke and jam sessions six nights a week. Come nightfall, ropes of white lights give the pebbled garden an ambient glow, while fire pits chase away the chill.
When it comes to smashing rooftop patios, Postino is a one-two-three punch. Its lofty location in LoHi parades scintillating scenery that stretches from the city to the Rocky Mountains that tower in the distance, and there are plenty of seats to watch those gorgeous Colorado sunsets drop behind the peaks. The menu, a collection of dishes that invite grazing with friends, is patio-perfect, with bruschetta topped every which way headlining the Italian-inspired board. And while you’re soaking up the surrounding landscape from your umbrella-sheltered table or loungey sofa, sip a peach bellini, a glass of wine from the impressive list, or a craft beer.
The rooftop terrace at Izakaya Den is like a civilized garden soiree high above the spirited party that’s South Pearl Street. Ascend the stairwell, flanked with foliage, to the alfresco oasis of serenity decked out with leafy greenery, marble, stone and wood accents and a retractable roof that ensures a cozy conservatory even when there’s an unpredictable summer storm brewing. A bowl of the immorally delicious lobster ramen sidekicked with a few sake cocktails will make you want to stick around long after the night sky fades to black.
The rooftop drinkery and eatery above the dining room of Los Chingones, located in the River North Art District, boasts unobstructed sightlines of The Mile High City’s towers and skyscrapers and an abundance of communal tables and lounge seats that offer a front-row seat. Start with a salsa flight and work your way up to the kale and avocado enchiladas draped with a desert-red guajillo chile or the pork belly and grilled pineapple tacos. Match the modern Mexican marvels with a libation from the bewitchingly offbeat cocktail menu. (Pop Rocks, anyone?) While the RiNo restaurant and bar is the flagship, there are additional locations in Central Park and the Denver Tech Center.
If you’re with a gaggle of friends and have an affinity for food trucks and whiskey, then Finn’s Manor in RiNo is your rumble. The expansive space, fenced with bright pink and yellow slats, makes the most of repurposed throwaways: rusty steel carts, surfaced with wood, double as tables, and they’re cleverly roofed with corrugated metal siding and weathered lumber. A fleet of food trucks shares space with Denver’s hungry, and the indoor bar, which groves to a New Orleans vibe, inebriates the thirsty with punch and potent craft cocktails, many of which favor whiskey.