The crew at Crimson & Gold, a bar near the University of Denver, apparently didn't venture outside yesterday, because while Denver's finest meteorologists had it all wrong when they predicted that the city would be snowballed by Snowzilla-Snowmageddon-Snowpocalypse, it was definitely not "patio weather," despite the bar's signage pointing to the contrary. Nonetheless, this is still a good time to start thinking about where to hang once the blizzard-that-wasn't slips away. As a starter set, here are our five best patios that are sweet on spring.
5. Kaos Renowned for its artisan pizza underscored by one of the best happy hours in the city, Kaos has also become a habitual tradition for its poetic garden, an intimate tangle of twisted vines and fragrant blossoms surrounding wrought iron tables and a trellised gazebo that sprays a light, refreshing mist that drifts through the breeze. It's dually canine-friendly and kid-friendly -- and romantic, too -- and on Thursday nights, there's live music to accompany the alfresco ambiance.
4. Vita The sky-facing terrace at Vita is best known for its perch overlooking the downtown skyline, and the platinum seats, shaded from the sun by licorice-red umbrellas, are in high demand, especially on weekends and during happy hour, when it's prime time for swanky people watching and clutching creative cocktails shaken and stirred at the bar just adjacent to your coveted chair. As the night wears on, and the air turns crisp, overhead heaters ensure that the convivial crowds carry on with their revelry, proving that life really is more fun on a roof.
3. Bittersweet How does your garden grow? Just ask Olav Peterson, the exec chef/owner of Bittersweet, who skillfully designed his fetching urban patio to ensure that his menu stays seasonal and fresh through much of the year. Strewn with shrubbery and shady trees that shimmer in the sun- and moonlight, as well as edible flowers, dozens of herbs and an abundance of vegetables, including squash and zucchini, numerous varieties of heirloom tomato plants, Swiss chard and collard greens, this is a gorgeous garden patio that makes eating in the great outdoors even greater.
Continue reading for our top spots.
2. Linger A glass of bubbly and a cheese plate on the tiny balcony of your lower-level apartment just isn't enough to take your life to the next level. For a panorama that spans every which way, try the classy rooftop deck at Linger, where lounging is a lovely way of life. Gaggles of trendy twenty-something girlfriends, their legs as long as licorice ropes, hang out after work; smitten couples come to soak up the blue skies by day and the stars at night, their love illuminated by the patio's own twinkling amber lights. No matter who you are -- or where you sit -- you'll feel cool as a cucumber as you sip on cocktails and traverse Linger chef-owner Justin Cucci's globe-trotting menu.
1. Potager 2013 Best of Denver patio winner Given that this is a city saturated with sunshine, it's no wonder that al fresco dining is one of our most coveted leisurely pastimes, and the lovely back porch at Potager will transport you to the pastoral French countryside for a tranquil, delicious dinner. Strewn with weathered wooden tables and chairs, rimmed with pots and rustic whiskey barrels filled with fragrant fresh herbs, and surrounded by beds of berries and a variety of perfect vegetables, it's a magical patio that mirrors chef-owner Teri Rippeto's seasonally inspired cooking, much of it elevated by what she plants in her restaurant's bewitching back yard.
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For more ways to experience the spring, check out our list of the ten best restaurant patios in Denver.