Denver's top five patios for a long lunch

It may be a bit brisk for outdoor dining but as of this morning, spring has official sprung. For us, that means it's time to make an excuse to get out of the office for an extended lunch, grabbing a seat on a patio and enjoying some time in the sun...and away from the glow of our computer screens.

Here, in celebration of the change of seasons, are our five favorite decks for midday.

Ignite! Most of the roof-top decks downtown are at spots you're not likely to frequent at lunch, since they're the kinds of places that feature frozen drinks, beers by the pitcher and, well, bar food. That's why Ignite is such an asset to the outdoor dining scene: From its perch on Upper Larimer, the gorgeous roof-top patio, much of which is covered, features views of the Denver skyline,and you can eat sensible lunch food -- like pizzas, burgers and salads -- while you enjoy the fresh air. Domo Dining at Domo is a little like dining in Epcot's version of Japan: The dining room is like a hosue in a dark, enchanted forest with tables made from stone slabs and seats cut from tree stumps. But the real place to relax is on the sunny oasis in back, where the restaurant keeps a lushly planted garden that lends a zen ambiance to a meal of Japanese country food. And after a bowl full of ramen and a pot of green tea, you might want to curl up on the spot and take a nap. Gaia Bistro Gaia Bistro is one of the homiest restaurants in the city, not least because it's actually located in an old home.The warren of dining rooms are cozy and comfortable -- especially in the winter, when they create a warm, welcoming haven -- but Gaia shines brightest outside, on the planter-lined patio or at one of the tables scattered across the lawn. When summer settles over the Mile High City, these outdoor areas are packed on weekends. But on weekdays, the deck is only about half full, making this an ideal spot to score a table for a midday meal. Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar When we're looking for a lazy lunch escape from a downtown office, we often head to one of the small, street-facing patios in LoDo or Larimer Square. But a little further uptown, Row 14 has a great deck facing the Convention Center, as well as a good lucn menu. On a warm day, this can be a lovely place to sit with a glass of rosé (if you can get away with it), a plate full of cured meat and a dish of olives, as you picnic in the middle of downtown. Cafe|Bar If you nab a table on the deck at Cafe|Bar, which opened last fall on a busy stretch of Alameda northwest of Washington Park, you'll never want to leave. Trees provide shade and stone-lined walls provide intimacy, creating a perfect hideaway for whiling away an afternoon, as a lunchtime burger break leads directly into happy hour.

Have other favorites? Tell us about them below.

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