Ten patios for cocktails and conversation this summer
It's no secret that in Colorado, we're graced with a ton of sunshine -- so much, in fact, that we brag about it (300 whole days of sunshine a year, if you just moved here last week and haven't heard). In honor of our great weather and equally boast-worthy bar-and-restaurant scene -- as well as a thermometer climbing to 100 today -- here's a list (in no particular order) of some of the best patios for enjoying all that Colorado weather has to offer.
Linger lost some of its view to construction, but the restaurant's patio is still one of the best in the city.
2030 West 30th Avenue
Last year, Linger's patio lost one of the city's best views to a building project that obstructed the restaurant's soaring panorama. But the rooftop spot -- perched just under the massive neon sign of the old Olinger Mortuary -- is still a great place to spend a summer evening. Long, narrow high-top tables give part of Linger's outdoor space a bar-room feel, while lower-level seating offers a breezy look at the city. Patrons can watch bartenders concocting cocktails out of the converted vintage Winnebago parked on the roof -- but it's hard to take your eyes off that stretch of downtown skyline.
Vine Street Pub
1700 Vine Street
Boulder-based Mountain Sun found the perfect spot for its Denver outpost in the Vine Street Pub a few years ago -- and multiple patios were part of that perfect package. There are plenty of places to sit, relax and eat along East 17th Avenue, but Vine Street's street-side space feels like an additional dining room that shares the sidewalk rather than crowding it. Around the corner, the west-facing patio is often overtaken by cruiser bikes, strollers and rounds of cornhole, the lawn game that goes so well with housemade beer of both the alcoholic and root persuasions.
295 South Pennsylvania Street
Cafe|Bar is tucked into a building at the highly trafficked corner of Pennsylvania Street and Alameda Avenue; before you've stepped inside, it's hard to imagine that Cafe|Bar could have much in the way of outdoor atmosphere. But the owners have made the most of their location with a lovely enclosed patio, with high stone walls and lush greenery accenting the casual spot's simple table-and-umbrella setup. Mature trees on and around the property provide just enough shade during the day, with sunlight cutting through the foliage to light the oasis; at night, subtle candlelight augments Cafe|Bar's comfy, hang-around vibe.
650 Sherman Street
When Racines closed its original location on Bannock Street and built a brand-new restaurant a few blocks away, the Denver mainstay smartly added a parking garage -- and a giant patio, too. With one tier of the outdoor dining area fully covered by an awning, eating outside even on Denver's hottest summer days can be a treat. A smaller section at the front features individual umbrellas and lets in some serious sunlight -- but also provides a place where you can park your furry friends, just beyond the confines. For brunch, lunch, dinner or just coffee, Racines' patio is worth the wait -- and wait you will in the summer.
2030 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO