During the summer months, al fresco dining is all the rage in Denver. Nothing beats enjoying a meal with friends, sipping on a glass of wine, and enjoying the temperate climate. This patio season, why not add a few new restaurants to your repertoire? Establishments such as Number Thirty Eight offer free live music on their patio, while Improper City invites guests to bring their pups along. The Mile High City boasts an array of stunning outdoor spaces, where foodies can order unique and seasonal menu items while kicking back with a refreshing cocktail and enjoying a picturesque view of the skyline.
Address: 2901 Larimer Street
Federales is the perfect place to hang out on a particularly warm summer day. Guests can sip on refreshing margaritas on the patio space and dive into some tasty taco combinations. The patio area is spacious with a fully retractable rooftop and always hosts a lively atmosphere. Federales serves starters that are perfect for sharing, such as a queso blanco with roasted corn, poblanos, and red bell pepper. The tequila bar carries brands such as Don Julio, El Tesoro, and Olmeca Altos. The draft menu is equally impressive and brewery enthusiasts will find familiar names, as well as seasonal summer offerings.
PRO Tip: On the first Friday of every month, Federales hosts a live art series that presents local artists who set up outdoors and craft their artwork live. This is a great time to visit the restaurant, enjoy a drink, and maybe leave with a new piece for your wall.
2. Improper City
Address: 3201 Walnut Street
Improper City boasts an enormous 12,000-square-foot space, including a beer garden and a food truck park. With over 35 taps, guests will have a difficult time choosing which beverage they want to begin with. Not a beer drinker? There is also a full bar selection and a menu of specialty cocktails. In the morning hours, locals head to Improper City to grab an iced latte and get some remote work done with the fast WiFi. Dogs are always welcome to hang out on the patio, though they must remain leashed. Along with tasty food and refreshing drinks, there is also live music, yoga sessions, and even game nights that encourage locals to become regulars.
PRO Tip: Improper City’s food truck schedule features rotating menus from Mama Kabob, Scrooge Maki, Savage Beet, Saucy Chops, Flavor of Tabasco, and more.
3. Forest Room 5
Address: 2532 15th Street
At Forest Room 5, a babbling creek and a rustic theme invite guests to lean back and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the great outdoors. The patio at the restaurant doubles as a wildlife refuge and is described as being “where nature meets nightlife.” On chilly summer nights, there are multiple fire pits where guests can pull up a stump to get cozy and continue their night out with cocktails or a glass of wine. The menu features unique Coloradan offerings, such as elk sliders, flatiron steak, and lake trout cooked on a plank. The outdoor patio is a major draw for those enjoying a meal at Forest Room 5 but diners should check out the equally unique rustic indoor dining space as well.
PRO Tip: Check out Forest Room 5 during happy hour, which happens every weekday from 4 PM to 6 PM. The restaurant offers a range of specials on its cocktails, beers, and wines. There is also a list of appetizers and small plates to choose from.
4. The Woods
Address: 3330 Brighton Boulevard
The Woods is located atop The Source Hotel’s rooftop and features a stunning wraparound outdoor patio space with panoramic views of the downtown skyline and the Rocky Mountains. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also hosts a popular happy hour. The Woods is one of the best restaurants in the city to catch an iconic Denver sunset. Whether you’re cozying up by one of the two fireplaces with a cocktail or a beer from the New Belgium Brewery, guests can enjoy fresh air and striking views. The Woods provides an impressive non-alcoholic cocktail menu and serves up pizza and entrees such as Rocky Mountain seared trout and chicken piccata.
PRO Tip: The Woods is a popular spot to host a birthday party or a bridal shower during the warmer summer months when attendees can enjoy sitting on the patio and taking Instagram-worthy photos in front of the panoramic view.
5. Number Thirty Eight
Address: 3560 Chestnut Place
Number Thirty Eight won multiple accolades from Best of Denver in 2023 for the “Best Restaurant Patio” and “Best Free Entertainment.” Their award-winning kitchen allows eaters to gain a new perspective on American cuisine. The venue also hosts free entertainment nightly and features an enormous 20,0000 square feet of patio space. The menu includes regional burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and tasty shared plates such as pimento deviled eggs, hot chicken, and cheese curds. The drink menu is equally impressive and features locally sourced beverages that make the perfect accompaniment to a night of music and comedy.
PRO Tip: Number Thirty Eight is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. They’re open Wednesday through Friday from 4 PM to 11 PM and on the weekend from 11 AM to 11 PM.
6. Illegal Pete’s
Address: 1610 16th Street Mall
There are multiple Illegal Pete’s locations around Denver, with the LoDo location being the newest addition and the restaurant with the largest patio. Open 7 days a week, locals are always welcome to enjoy the outdoor space and sip on margaritas and enjoy their customized burritos or bowls. Illegal Pete’s serves a range of proteins, from chicken and steak to beer-battered fish and Mexican coke carnitas. Guests can dress up their plate with countless combinations of toppings and side options. Aside from their popular margaritas, the restaurant serves up Moscow mules, Bloody Marys, and a Pete Turner with grapefruit vodka and soda water.
PRO Tip: To reserve the patio at an Illegal Pete’s location, contact the restaurant to discuss availability.
Address: 476 South Broadway
The name BurnDown originates from the storied history of the building when a large fire scorched many of the original beams, which adds a unique character to the gastropub. BurnDown’s large outdoor spaces include a second-floor lounge and a rooftop patio with views of downtown Denver and the surrounding mountains. The three-story establishment has multiple bars, so guests will never have to wait long for their next drink. Appetizers include fresh mussels, hush puppies, and nachos. They’re known for their Korean pulled pork sandwiches and lamb bolognese served with Colorado-raised lamb and parmesan broth.
PRO Tip: BurnDown is closed on Mondays and their hours fluctuate depending on the day of the week, so check the schedule before you head over.
8. Bamboo Sushi
Address: 2715 17th Street
Anybody looking to enjoy a minimalist patio for a tranquil evening experience will enjoy their time at Bamboo Sushi. The outdoor bamboo garden and the wood-topped tables add to the sustainable-focused menu items. Bamboo Sushi serves up the freshest seasonal fish, as well as tasty starters such as the traditional miso soup, tuna poke, and a sunomono salad. The restaurant has a list of signature sashimi and traditional rolls as well. Make sure to save room for dessert in order to sample the matcha panna cotta served with fresh berries. The extensive alcohol menu includes cocktails, wine, and sake, as well as a few beer options from local Colorado breweries.
PRO Tip: Bamboo Sushi welcomes dogs at all patio locations. Only service animals can be admitted indoors.
9. Sassafrass American Eatery
Address: 3927 West 32nd Avenue
Who says you can’t order Southern-inspired comfort food in Colorado? Sassafrass serves up classics such as braised pork belly, a fried green tomato BLT, and even an entree of pigs in a blanket. The southern fare can be enjoyed in one of the eatery’s outdoor spaces, including the patio or the rooftop porch. There’s also a smaller patio that only seats two tables for a more intimate atmosphere. The American eatery sources local and organic ingredients and even makes its Bloody Marys from scratch. Unique offerings include churro beignets and breakfast po-boys served with double-smoked bacon and a side of sausage gravy. Mac and cheese lovers can rejoice over the 7 takes on the classic Southern dish, including a BBQ mac and a truffled mushroom mac and cheese.
PRO Tip: While Sassafrass is most popular for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, they also serve a tempting dinner menu. There are two locations in Denver, with the Jefferson Park location being the original.
10. Recess Beer Garden
Address: 2715 17th Street #103
Featuring upscale cafeteria cuisine, Recess Beer Garden thrives off of energetic diners looking to sit at picnic tables and participate in a variety of games. The beer garden is the perfect spot for sports nights, as they have 12 TVs and they keep 24 beers on tap for plenty of variety. As the sun sets, colorful lights and hanging lanterns keep the patio well-lit and live music is often hosted during the summer months to keep the vibe going. Recess Beer Garden keeps a variety of fun and unique shots on the menu, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, PB&J, and a Blueberry Lemondrop. Those feeling a bit more classy can pair their meal with a glass of Campo Viejo or Ava Grace.
PRO Tip: The Recess Beer Garden is the perfect place to spend time outdoors even on warmer summer days. There are beautiful shade trees and mister fans that are located on the patio that keep diners cool and comfortable.
11. Tap Fourteen
Address: 1920 Blake Street
Tap Fourteen boasts an impressive rooftop patio. Known for its impressive draft beer selection, the establishment continuously keeps 70 Colorado beers on tap and 50+ Colorado whiskeys. Not straying from the drink menu, the fare is sourced within the state including Colorado-raised beef, chicken, and pork. Tap Fourteen is located a half block from Coors Field, making it a popular spot to eat and drink before a Rockies game. Oftentimes, there’s live music on Fridays and Saturdays that pairs nicely with the patio views and the dynamic menu.
PRO Tip: Tap Fourteen is currently taking a limited number of reservations. If you plan on eating at the restaurant soon, keep in mind that they do not offer same-day reservations.
12. Urban Egg
Address: 3033 East 1st Avenue
Urban Egg is a casual eatery and is a local Colorado favorite, with multiple locations throughout the state. The Cherry Creek Location has a beautiful wraparound patio space that’s large enough to accommodate a ravenous brunch crowd. Serving up pancake flights, stuffed French toast, and chicken and waffle Benedicts, this daytime eatery is family-friendly and portion sizes are generous enough to fulfill the most insatiable appetites.
PRO Tip: For those looking for a boozy brunch, Urban Egg has an impressive list of breakfast buzz cocktails such as a Rise & Pine martini and a “Brekfast” old-fashioned.
13. Cozy Cottage
Address: 4363 Tennyson Street
Cozy Cottage is a longtime staple in Berkeley and has been in business since 2006. Their patio space is nearly as large as their interior dining area. Many locals head over to the restaurant for an outdoor weekend brunch. The patio space is surrounded by several large trees, which provide the perfect amount of natural shade. The menu features American and Mexican fare such as decadent red velvet pancakes and slow-roasted carnitas. The team of creative cooks is always brainstorming new and inventive menu items, which is why they’ve garnered a dedicated local following. This hidden patio gem is the perfect place to enjoy a warm summer afternoon while sipping on an iced chai latte or a cafe mocha.
PRO Tip: This is solely a breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant. They’re closed by 3 PM on the weekend.
Address: 1431 Larimer Street
Rioja is located within the historic Larimer Square. The restaurant serves up Mediterranean food that’s won multiple awards over the years. The interior dining room is known for being high energy, with the smaller outdoor patio area being more low-key and tranquil. The dinner menu includes Amish natural chicken, pan-roasted Arctic char, and a braised lamb shoulder. Guests can also opt for a tasting menu that takes them on a multi-course journey.
PRO Tip: Happy hour at Rioja runs from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM daily and boasts a wide selection of Spanish wines that are sold by the glass or the bottle. A glass of red makes for the perfect accompaniment to people watching from the intimate patio.