That's because Denver and several other cities and towns in Colorado temporarily allowed eating and drinking establishments to expand their licensed seating areas into the public rights-of-way, like streets and sidewalks, as well as into private parking lots (with approval from property owners) as a way to seat more customers.
In Denver, more than 300 businesses were approved, including at least sixteen breweries — a few of which moved right out onto the barricaded streets with umbrellas, misters, artificial turf and potted plants. The Temporary Outdoor Expansions Program, as it is called, was set to expire on Labor Day but was later extended through October 31. That day is quickly approaching, so the next few weeks may be your last chance for a while to sit and enjoy a beer in the street — a Denver pandemic bucket list item, as much as such a thing exits.
Here are nine places in Colorado to cross that one off the list:
Counter Culture Brewery + Grille205 East Seventh Avenue
Now that Denver has survived six months with some streets closed, or partially closed, to cars, a debate is unfolding over whether the city should make make some of these closures permanent, creating pedestrian-friendly zones. Seventh Avenue, along the restaurant row where Counter Culture Brewery + Grille is located, would make a great candidate — especially if the pandemic lasts through 2021. Beer recommendation: Transcendence Tripel.
2501 Sheridan Boulevard, Edgewater
Joyride Brewing was one of the first breweries to nail down street seating when the town of Edgewater made 25th Avenue a one-way street and allowed for extended patios. Of course, Joyride also has a stellar rooftop patio, which will be open on warmer days this winter. Recommended beer: Ice Cutter Kolsch.
Ratio Beerworks2920 Larimer Street
Ratio Beerworks is located on one of the streets that the River North Arts District partially shut down in July, so the brewery was able to expand its already great patio. Now Ratio is able to welcome people to drink on site in addition to a booming canning program that allows customers to take six-packs to go. Beer recommendation: Stay Gold Marzen.
Epic Brewing3001 Walnut Street
When Utah's Epic Brewing first announced in 2013 that it was opening a new location in Denver, the streets of the River North Arts District were empty enough that you could have downed a few pints in the middle of the road even when there weren't lane closures. Although RiNo quickly became a parking and driving nightmare, the pandemic has reduced some of the vehicle traffic, which allowed Epic to take its tables outside for guests to spread out and enjoy a brew or two. Beer recommendation: Tart 'n' Juicy Sour IPA.