The sun is finally out and the weekend weather forecast looks stable (although we know how that goes in Colorado), so Denverites will be out en masse to enjoy bites and booze on the city's many restaurant patios this weekend. You could pick one spot to while away the hours with drink in hand, but for restless types who prefer a little variety, patio-hopping is a great way to sample specialties from a number of different eateries. You could brave the bro zone of LoDo or pound the pavement in hip LoHi, but there's another destination that's a little more parking-friendly and peaceful — and where the sheer square footage of outdoor seating in a small area means a plethora of choices. Head to Lowry's Hangar 2 development for some fun in the sun at five eateries, each with a distinct menu so you can build a meal from appetizers to dessert without ever sitting inside.
Start at North County, which offers Cali-Baja Mexican eats. You'll be doing apps here, so share a plate of decadent carne asada fries and throw in an order of ceviche for a bright, summery note. The bar bottles its own boozy sodas in a rainbow array of flavors; sit back and sip a blood-orange, tequila and pomegranate blend or spice it up with serrano, ginger, vodka and mango.
Next stop: the brand-new Lucky Cat, chef Troy Guard's lively Chinese kitchen. A sake flight or a Blushing Geisha (with sake, mint and watermelon purée) will quench your thirst and whet your appetite for small plates of bao buns, siu mai, dumplings and lettuce wraps. The chef's specials — bold takes on American-Chinese classics — look tempting, too, but it's time to move on; more patios beckon.
Double back to Masterpiece Kitchen for beers and burgers — or better still, a thick-cut, seared ahi-tuna sandwich served on a toasted English muffin with Asian slaw. And the "ten-mile tap" list features only local beers brewed within a ten-mile radius of the restaurant.
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Stop in at Cafe Mercato for dessert and a glass of wine before heading to the Lowry Beer Garden for the rest of the night, where sixteen tap handles pour local and national craft brews (there's always something new and rare) and dozens more await in cans and bottles. If you need a pick-me-up during your day of outdoor eating and drinking, suck down a frozen coffee drink on the patio at Maui Wowi, or hydrate with a tropical smoothie.
Don't forget the sunscreen — and if you're not a Lowry local, best to let the pros do the driving to and from this thriving patio drinking zone.