Denverites know that there's no better place to spend a summer night than in the fresh air, on a patio, with a drink in hand. The beer tastes a little colder and the wine more full-bodied. The only thing that can energize a bar patio more than titillating conversation is live music. Before summer's over, drink and dance under the moonlight on one of these Denver rooftops and patios to the sounds of a live band or killer DJ.
2721 Larimer Street
This RiNo venue is a staple for catching Denver's best live acts and national artists before they strike it big. Glass Animals and Arcade Fire played at the Larimer Lounge long before they played Red Rocks. The club has a small front patio where you can watch the RiNo crowd wander up and down Larimer Street, and a back patio that's a great hideaway. Check the bar's website for a calendar of concerts.
The Thin Man
2015 East 17th Avenue
Funky decor and an equally funky crowd make the Thin Man a great bar in a neighborhood that's usually pretty quiet. Bands play out back, where you can enjoy them under the stars — and while you're doing that, you can sip on one of the bar's many infused vodkas or tequilas.
FIRE Lounge (Rooftop Patio of the ART Hotel)
FIRE Lounge was named Best Rooftop Patio in our 2017 Best of Denver edition. Take an elevator in the trendy ART to the spacious and comfortable patio located above Broadway for views of the Golden Triangle and Capitol Hill. The cocktail menu boasts artisan drinks and crafted cocktails named after the likes of Jackson Pollock and Vincent van Gogh. During social hour and later into the night, a DJ spins ambient and down-tempo beats on the FIRE terrace for maximum chilling.
The Ginn Mill
2041 Larimer Street
The Ginn Mill has a patio and a live DJ nearly every night of the week. The soundtrack is your standard mix of top 40, hip-hop and throwbacks. If you like a young crowd and can stomach the germ-infested free popcorn, this is definitely one of Denver's best bars for watching drunken bros on the hunt for love – or at least a one-night stand.
Local 46 Bar & Biergarten
4586 Tennyson Street
Local 46 is a great spot for keeping it local. The beer list boasts rotating local brews, and the outdoor grill fires up burgers with Aspen Ridge all-natural beef. But the real reason to come here is the great assortment of live music. The venue's calendar is jam-packed with local bands four nights a week. There's an open stage every Monday, and Thursdays are karaoke night.
2425 South Downing Street
Looking for food and bluegrass? Try Maddie's. Once the majority of college students have moved home for the summer, Maddie's gears up its Maddie's Pickin' on the Patio concert series. Every Sunday through the end of July, patrons can enjoy brunch, drinks and live bluegrass on the patio from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. View the lineup of bluegrass artists on Maddie's website.
1949 Market Street
The Tavern has one of the best rooftop patios in central Denver. With views of LoDo, downtown and the outside of Coors Field, the Tavern Downtown is a great place to dance to DJs after the sun sets on LoDo. Fridays in the summer are when the Tavern really heats up: Every Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., Alice 105.9's Slacker & Steve go live from the rooftop with LIVE@FIVE, a free happy-hour concert series of intimate performances from some of pop radio's classic acts. This year's lineup included John Rzeznik, LeAnn Rimes and Eve 6. To view the full roster of LIVE@FIVE artists, visit the Tavern's event page. And be sure to get there early: These concerts are first come, first served, and the patio fills up fast.
2701 Larimer Street
The Meadowlark is a great place to dance the night or morning away in the ever-trendy RiNo Art District. The bar has a full calendar of music events held on its intimate screened-in patio. Dance on Sundays from 3 to 10 p.m. for the perfect after-party to your boozy brunch. Mondays showcase jazz in the basement, and Tuesdays are open-mic nights. Find a full calendar of themed DJ and live-music events on the Meadowlark's website.
Tooey's Off Colfax
1521 Marion Street
Tooey's Off Colfax is a hidden gem not far from the Ogden and the Fillmore, making it a great spot for a pre- or post-show beer. Moreover, the bar offers specials before and after concerts when you present a same-day ticket stub, and live music that you can hear from the quaint patio.
Club Vinyl's rooftop has incredible views of Denver and the mountains, as well as a head-thumping sound system that pumps out tunes by house and dance DJs. Weekly events include Hip-Hop Thursdays, Fiesta Fridays and Climax Sundays. The rooftop is open for touring DJs and events throughout the summer; check the club's website for details.
2030 West 30th Avenue
Linger offers a beautiful view of downtown Denver from its hip Lower Highland location. The former mortuary is hosting a new event this summer: Beats & Brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., millennials gather on the rooftop for "rap music and wrap food." Take in the views, eat some of Denver's best brunch food, order a Frosé, and enjoy what's left of the Colorado summer. Reservations are recommended.
Brik on York
2223 East Colfax Avenue
Few restaurants combine the elements that Brik on York manages to mix so well. Patio? Check. Great wine list? Check. Great Italian menu? Check. Great people-watching? You betcha. All of this plus an eclectic mix of live events including DJs, comedy and jazz performances. When the weather is nice, the front windows open up to the patio on Colfax. To view the venue's live-music schedule, visit the Brik on York website.
The ViewHouse (downtown location)
2015 Market Street
Right across the street from Coors Field is one of Denver's most-visited kitchens and bars. The ViewHouse has both a large ground-level patio flanked by cabanas and an expansive rooftop patio. Open for lunch, dinner and late-night, the venue caters to patrons visiting from neighborhoods all over Denver. Weekend nights are packed with dancers; a live DJ spins a mix of dance tunes, top 40, hip-hop and mash-ups to please the masses. Multiple bars serve the ViewHouse patio and outdoor areas, so you'll have many opportunities to order Fireball shots for you and your dance partner.
Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver
1485 Delgany Street
Yes, you can drink and dance on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Head to the top floor and out the door for a terrace with views up and down 15th Street. If you purchase a membership for just $45, you'll also receive 10 percent off in the indoor cafe. But while the drinks and the rooftop are great, the events put on there are even better. B-Side Music Fridays showcase local artists and DJs throughout the summer, and the museum hosts other concerts, parties and pop-up dinners, as well. Check out the calendar for rooftop music events.
2057 Larimer Street
Herb's Hideout is appropriately named; it's a hideout from the typical downtown college crowd. A longtime staple for live music and a former haunt of Beat writer Jack Kerouac, Herb's is a music lover's dream. Fridays and Saturdays are wild nights for music, with reggae, jazz, rock and funk blaring from the speakers. There's a small patio in the front for sitting, talking and smoking. Herb's is always filled with great music and great people, so while you could check the calendar to see who's playing, every night is a good night here.
Lodo's Bar & Grill
1946 Market Street
The crowded area around Coors Field has many options for weekend DJs and drinks. Lodo's Bar & Grill gets the party started at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with a DJ enticing people to dance and a rooftop patio decorated with lights that change color with the music. Lodo's has a new location in Westminster, where suburbanites now have their own patio, replete with a live DJ.
2811 Walnut Street
Denverites love their beer and wine, but it's time to put cider in the spotlight: Stem Ciders brews eight varieties at its taproom. The front of the bar has a patio with picnic tables for cider-sippers. Thursday nights at 7 and 9:30 p.m., the space hosts bluegrass artists for a free night of music. Drink up and wind down; there are food trucks there, too!
The Shag Lounge
830 15th Street
Amid the office buildings along 15th Street is the one and only Shag Lounge. On Fridays, DJ Grim spins funk, hip-hop, R&B and soul music after 9 p.m. The dive-bar drink specials are pretty shag-a-delic, as is the patio that joins the bar when the door is rolled up. The only thing funkier than this spot is the crowd.
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629 East Colfax Avenue
X Bar is one of the most fun bars on Colfax – and there are a lot of bars on Colfax. A hub for the LGBTQ community, this spot, with a large patio and outdoor bar, has long been a place to let loose and dance. From Wayback Wednesday to DJ Taketwo's Saturday night dance party, there's almost always something happening. Check out X Bar's website to find out what.
Bar Standard is another Broadway club, just south of the Capitol, that offers a fabulous rooftop for dancing. The Wednesday night STEAM series transitioned to the rooftop bar for the summer, allowing local electronic DJs to showcase their talent. While the warm weather is still here, check Bar Standard's event calendar or social-media pages to see what's happening.
Looking for more to do? Visit the Westword calendar.