Fat, drunk and happy Fourth of July: Denver's best restaurants and bars for catching the fireworks

This Independence Day, we won't be fighting crowds in public areas, risking a ticket for an open container or grilling our own meat for all the neighbors. Instead, we're going to watch celebratory explosions in the sky while getting fat, drunk and happy on a patio around town.

If you're inclined to join us, here's our list of the best spots to catch the fireworks action:


Vita Restaurant, 1575 Boulder Street: Situated in the Lower Highland, Vita's rooftop patio offers expansive views of the downtown skyline, which makes it a perfect spot to see tonight's fireworks show at Coors Field, which starts after the baseball game. We'd go early for an ambling night and order seven-hour pork and a draft beer.


The Tavern Downtown, 1949 Market Street: For the second Coors Field show of the weekend, we'd head to the rowdy Tavern's expanded patio for frozen drinks and good old American light beer. Fair warning, the place is charging a $5 patio cover, in place once the Rockies start swinging, but the bar is also running its usual Saturday night drink specials, which include $3 Bud and Bud Light, $3 Long Island Iced Teas and $3 Washington Apple shots.

Vinyl, 1082 Broadway: Civic Center Park will be setting off fireworks at 9:15 p.m. tomorrow night as part of its Independence Eve celebration. Vinyl's loungey rooftop is just four blocks away, and the bar will be throwing its usual clubby party which starts, conveniently, at 9 p.m. Twelve bucks gets you in the door and up to the roof, which will feature a DJ spinning pop and tunes from the '80s and '90s.


Tamayo, 1400 Larimer Street: The rooftop patio at Tamayo is breezy and pleasant, making it an ideal spot to check out the post-lacrosse game fireworks at Invesco. Weather permitting, you'll be able to watch that show over tequila and tacos with Tamayo's dinner crowd.

Simms Steakhouse, 11911 West 6th Avenue: Out West, Simm's has vast views of greater Denver and the foothills, which gives the spot access to a number of shows around town. And though the kitchen closes down at 9 p.m., the restaurant will be allowing diners to hang around and check out the fireworks over prime rib and Napa cabernet.

Zolo Southwestern Grill, 2525 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder: Boulder's fireworks are shot from Folsom Field, viewable from Zolo Southwestern Grill's patio. Starting at 3 p.m., the restaurant will serve up Southwestern-style barbecue and margaritas in mason jars, hoping to encourage you to daytime drink there until the main event.

La Sandia, 8419 Park Meadows Center Drive: Tamayo's suburban counterpart has a vast rooftop deck in Park Meadows, giving it prime view of shows down south. The Mexican restaurant is throwing an Independence Day party, which begins at 6 p.m. and features $4 drink specials and $3 food specials.

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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