Patio of the Day

Run Away to the Treehouse Patio at the Weathervane Cafe

A few weeks ago, I stopped by the Weathervane Cafe to work; having left my office job, I've been cafe-hopping. The Weathervane is one of those places that I've passed a million times and always meant to try; a September day with snow predicted seemed just the right time for it. The potential snow seemed perfect because the cafe, located in a house, looked like it would be cozy in the cold weather.

And I was right; the Weathervane is one of the coziest cafes I've found. And fortunately the weather improved and it did not snow the day I visited, because it also has one of Denver's most intimate and charming patios.

See also: Vaux Vintage closing Weathervane location to go back on the road

The Weathervane is like a hipster mini-mart inside a café. Nearly everything on the menu --sandwiches, salads, soups, hummus plate -- is made to order, and all the treats --pastries, cookies, candy bars -- are locally made. It has a tiny secondhand clothing shop run by BeeHive Vintage on the second floor where you feel like you've walked in your grandmothers attic. And the shop on the first floor, which is really just items in a dark wooden built-in wall cabinet, has a wide variety of locally made items for sale: honey, coffee, pickles, leather travel mugs, incense and more.

But unlike a lot of hipstery joints, there is no sense of entitlement and snobbery. The Weathervane is like a big hug where everyone is genuinely friendly, at least everyone I've met. They don't mind that you stay a few hours to finish reading the last few pages of your novel or keep working (although I bought little things throughout my time there so as not to take advantage).

The entire place is like an Instagram photo feed: cute wall art, bright carpets, wooden bar, a box of records, a creaky winding staircase. The tables on the second floor are mismatched, and downstairs the small tables are lined up close to your neighbors so you feel a sense of community. And even though plenty of people are typing away, you don't get the weird library vibe you get if, say, you've ever walked into St. Mark's Coffeehouse on a weeknight.

The space's charm flows onto the patios; the first floor's patio holds mismatched metal patio chairs, wooden folding lounges and those aluminum, striped lawn chairs I haven't seen since I was a kid. The umbrellas protect computer screens and your skin from the sun, and even though the patio faces bustling 17th Avenue, it feels fairly calm and removed.

But the truly intimate patio experience is upstairs. The café's second floor patio also faces 17th Avenue, but a high lattice fence blocks some sound from the street. In fact, no one can really see you from the street. You can watch the street between the lattice fencing, or hunker down into one of the Adirondack chairs to read, completely hidden by the solid wall below the lattice. I never had a tree house growing up, but I can imagine that the secrecy of the semi-open space on Weathervane's second floor patio is very similar.

It gets hot when the sun is directly above, so that second floor patio is perfect for the cooler season. I haven't tried yet, but I imagine even in the colder days of winter that upstairs patio is a good place to sit, with the walls holding in the sun's heat and blocking the wind for a surprisingly comfortable patio experience.

Best Deal: French pressed coffee (with one refill) and a bowl of soup for $5.85.

Best Feature: The cozy treehouse patio.

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Kristin Pazulski has been a renaissance faire wench, a reporter, an espresso-shot slinger, an editor of a newspaper for the homeless and a grant writer. She's now a freelance writer covering Denver's restaurant scene.
Contact: Kristin Pazulski