If there are two things we know about summer drinking in Denver, it’s that most people like to do it on the cheap and, when possible, on a patio. With this in mind, we went looking for the very best patio happy hours in Denver. Here are the top places to imbibe at a fair price with a killer view.
Numerous rooftop patios (think: Linger and El Five) dot Denver’s Highland neighborhood. We’re partial to the deck at this Southern comfort food restaurant for two reasons: Since the patio faces east and sits at a lower elevation than many of its surrounding buildings, you can enjoy plenty of shade during the prime late-afternoon hours. It also happens to be less crowded than the neighborhood’s other outdoor spaces. The happy hour deals aren’t bad either; seven days a week (the rooftop patio is open Wednesday through Sunday), you can sip on refreshing cocktails such as an Old Forester bourbon old fashioned ($7) and a Deep South Limeade made with Monopolowa gin ($6) and nosh on affordable bites, including biscuits with your choice of fried chicken, cured ham, or pork belly ($3–$4) and dry rub wings ($7). Happy hour times: Monday to Friday, 4 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 to 5 p.m. 1575 Boulder St., A; 720-512-4168
The Denver skyline—cranes aside—is a pretty fantastic sight. It looks great on Instagram. We get it. But just about every major city in the country boasts rooftop patios with skyline vistas. You know what view most cities don’t offer? Sweeping panoramas of the Rocky Freakin’ Mountains. Enter Historian’s Ale House, a low-key Broadway joint that boasts a west-facing patio with striking views of the city and the towering mountains beyond. To boot, Historian’s also features one of the finest happy hours in Denver: On weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., well drinks are $4, house wine is $5, and craft beers are $3–$4 depending on your choice (For instance, Elevation Brewing Company’s 8 Second Kölsch is a $3 pour, while Avery Brewing Company’s White Rascal is $4). Yes, that is an eight-hour happy hour five days a week. Post up on the rooftop after work, watch the sun melt into 14,000-foot peaks, and enjoy a few drinks on the cheap. Happy hour times: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 24 Broadway, #102; 720-479-8505
Not all great patios are built on rooftops. And with that in mind, Recess offers one of the most welcoming and expansive spots in the city to eat and drink during the summer months. While its size is certainly a selling point, the tiered patio provides patrons several levels of shaded picnic tables and benches during the afternoon heat—plus, the popular LoHi bar and restaurant features a walkup bar outside. Of course, the happy hour is a sweet deal, as well. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, thirsty visitors will find a dollar off all draft beers, $4 well drinks, and for those who are really looking to get their evening going, $4 Jameson shots. But it doesn’t end there. The Recess happy hour also offers a $7 snack menu, which includes green chile-topped fries or tots, a quinoa tabbouleh salad, and mac and cheese made with a house sauce. Happy hour times: Monday through Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.; 2715 17th St, #103; 720-638-0020
The sunny patio at RiNo’s modern Mexican restaurant isn’t just a great happy hour destination—it’s also one of our favorite pre- or post-Rockies game spots. Stop by in the afternoon to munch on $2–$3 tacos (made with protein such as baja spiced mahi-mahi and pork belly) at the open-air communal tables, or order a $25 carafe of margaritas to share with friends from the large indoor–outdoor bar. The location’s downstairs patio also recently expanded when owner Troy Guard absorbed a space that formerly housed his SugarMill concept to create the related Los Lounge, a late-night taco joint. Happy hour times: Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.; 2463 Larimer St.; 303-295-0686
The teepee is your first clue that the ground-level alfresco space at this woodsy bar is one of the city’s quirkiest. Although this watering hole is just one block away from I-25 on 15th Street, the babbling stream, tall trees, seats constructed out of tree trunks, and quiet alcoves make the patio feel like a group campsite in a national park. The happy hour fare—including a $6 Pine Mule made with Old Forester bourbon and ginger beer—also fits with the ourdoorsy theme. Don’t miss the $6 Skillet Fries topped with melted cheddar cheese and bits of bacon. Happy hour times: Tuesday through Sunday, 4 to 6 p.m.; 2532 15th St.; 303-433-7001