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Denver’s spectacular weather is best enjoyed alfresco. Here, a roundup of our favorite patios.
For the interactive patio goer: If you’re not one to sit still, head to Ace Eat Serve. This Uptown eatery and ping-pong hall has one of the best patios in the city. Not only is it expansive and anchored by a huge indoor-outdoor bar, there are two ping-pong tables just waiting to be played. Grab a seat anywhere you can and put your name on the table tennis list. Soon you’ll be sipping a drink and smashing a ball at your opponent. 501 E. 17th Ave., 303-800-7705
For the design-minded and architecturally inclined: If you haven’t been to the new Izakaya Den (the restaurant moved across the street last June), it should be at the top of your must-visit list. Go not only for the Japanese-style tapas and the top-notch sushi, but also for the space itself. The clean-lined, modern design offers a west-facing patio space (which is home to some of the most coveted seats in town) and a sleek bar-area with a retractable roof. 1487-A S. Pearl St., 303-777-0691
For the Rockies fan who wants more out of LoDo: Fans craving more than cheap beer and bar snacks will cheer for Lower48 Kitchen. For Sunday home games the contemporary restaurant (which usually only serves dinner) opens its patio and offers drink and food specials. Although the eatery sits just a couple blocks from Coors Field, its outdoor space is refreshingly removed from the usual game-day hubbub. Click here for the Rockies schedule. 2020 Lawrence St., 303-942-0262
For families with hungry kids: Parents know that kids love to eat with their hands—which is just one of the reasons Maria Empanada, the month-old Argentine cafe on South Broadway, should become a family staple. Here, empanadas, or hand-held pastries stuffed with the likes of ham and cheese or ground beef and peppers, make up the bulk of the menu. There’s also fresh-squeezed orange juice (kids love watching the machine work) and strong espresso for the adults. Bonus: The patio is loud and expansive enough that any fussing will go unnoticed. 1298 S. Broadway, 303-934-2221
For the hipster: When Olive & Finch recently debuted its 30-seat patio, the neighborhood sighed with relief. Those extra tables meant that even more people can dine at the perpetually busy cafe. What we like best is that the patio faces north, so you won’t be blinded by the sun while eating the quinoa salad or sipping a freshly pressed juice. 1552 E. 17th Ave., 303-832-8663
For the Francophile: Bistro Vendôme‘s tucked-away patio has long been a favorite of the weekend bruncher. This summer, that alfresco experience gets even better with Le Jardin Secret, the Saturday chefs’ market that unfolds in the courtyards surrounding the restaurant. The experience is wholly French and is certain to inspire a flurry of activity and excellent people watching. 1420 Larimer St., 303-825-3232
For the beer drinker: When Broadway added Historian’s Ale House to its strip of dives, restaurants, and boutiques last summer, the bar immediately became a neighborhood go-to. There’s a full food menu, 40 beers on tap, and a massive rooftop patio. Stop by the first Tuesday of every month for a special “beer college” visit from Historian’s selected Brewery of the Month. A rep from the chosen brewery (Steamworks Brewing in June) offers a tutorial and a free tasting for anyone in attendance. 24 Broadway, Suite 102, 720-479-8505
For the serial bruncher: Find farm-to-table comfort food at Jefferson Park’s Sassafras. The late 19th century home-turned-restaurant has a quaint ambience—dark wooden floors, a cafe-style bar, and stained glass—that sets the tone for its southern-inspired breakfast. Step up your typical brunch bid with cornmeal-coated fried green tomatoes or the shrimp and crab cake Cajun benedict. 2637 W. 26th Ave., 303-433-0080
For a RiNo hotspot: RiNo’s rapid growth means new restaurants are popping up regularly. One such spot is Los Chingones with its fresh take on tequila and tacos. The eatery has two patios—one downstairs facing Larimer, and an open rooftop deck with great views of the ballpark and downtown (pictured, above). Try one of our favorite menu items, the octopus taco, which is cooked for 12 hours and finished with a zesty orange glaze. 2463 Larimer St., 303-295-0686
For couples craving a romantic night: Not many places can tout the titles of museum, restaurant, and garden all at once. But Denver’s Domo can. Tucked away at Osage and Colfax location, this Japanese eatery offers one the most unique dining experiences in town. The secluded back garden is an outdoor treasure, while the Zen-like, intimate space inside offers displays of traditional Japanese artifacts and culture. 1365 Osage St., 303-595-3666
For the meat eater: Old Major‘s signature cocktail menu, house-butchered and cured meats, and happy hour specials are reason enough to visit this modern farmhouse-style restaurant. But the experience is all the better if you nab one of the coveted patio seats. The Tejon-facing space is ideal for people watching in between perusing the charcuterie board and pretzel knots. 3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622