Best of Denver

Denver's five best underrated patios

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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.
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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk