Denver's five best underrated patios

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There's no doubt that fall and winter are nudging out the summer heat, but we still see sun and warm temperatures in the forecast -- so we're not quite ready to give up on patio season yet. And because we're kind of sick of our old haunts and regular summer rotation at this point in the year, here are Denver's five best patios that you might not know exist: 5. Cactus Jack's Saloon This Evergreen saloon, which focuses on beers and bar food, features plenty of entertainment, inside and out. But you'll want to pry yourself away from the pool tables and kitschy bar indoors for the patio that backs up to Bear Creek and features stunning views of the Rockies, picnic tables, a fire pit and the occasional live musical act -- all in the heart of the foothills. 4. Indulge Wine Bar This restaurant, tucked deep in the suburb of Highlands Ranch, features a long wine list and typical wine bar-tapas fare. But its patio -- with unadulterated views of the front range, fire pits and ample, comfortable seating -- is absolutely worth a trip, especially because you won't have to fight crowds to relax and enjoy it, glass of bubbly in hand. 3. Ya Ya's Euro Bistro This south suburban Mediterranean restaurant frequently boasts a full dining room, but the real magic is outdoors. There, a peaceful pond fronts a greenery-surrounded deck where you can bask in the sunshine -- or retreat into the shade of umbrellas if the heat gets too intense. 2. Cozy Cottage When the Cozy Cottage, a breakfast and lunch spot, moved from its original Downing Street digs to Tennyson Street early this year, it got a bigger menu, bigger space...and a sweet patio. The expansive south-facing space has an air of intimacy without losing its connection to the surrounding community, making it an ideal spot for sipping coffee and flipping through the paper on a lazy morning. 1. Beso de Arte We're not crazy about the food at this Latin bistro in Morrison, but we love the patio, a secluded deck that glows at night, is nestled at the base of the foothills and features a soothing man-made pond with waterfalls, lush gardens, a private dining "cave," its own bar, and outdoor fireplaces that are perfect for staving off the chill on late-summer evenings in the mountains.

Know of others? Tell us about them in the comments.

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