Editor's note: In this week's cover story, we take a look at the 16th Street Mall, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this month. In honor of that big birthday, we're bringing back our list of the favorite patios on the mall.
Denver's 16th Street Mall has never looked better. This mile-long pedestrian oasis runs through the heart of downtown and is filled with shopping, dining and entertainment options. But the very best way to enjoy it is sitting at one of the outdoor patios that line the stretch, enjoying a snack, a drink (or three) and the best people-watching in the city. Here, in no particular order, are the ten best patios on the 16th Street Mall. Get out and enjoy them before the weather turns.
10. Yard House, 1555 Court Place Sometimes you need a yard-high glass of beer, and with the world's largest selection of draft beer, the Yard House patio is one of your best bets on the 16th Street Mall -- especially if you're just getting out of work in one of the nearby buildings. Check out the limited draft list and bottle offerings while enjoying the frenzied energy of the post-work crowd. 9. Marlowe's, 501 16th Street By day, Marlowe's is a place where deals are made and hands are shaken -- but in the late afternoon, this turns into a happy-hour haven, packed with downtown professionals and mall strollers. The fun continues long into the night, due to an extended happy hour with half-price draft beers and martini specials. 8. Tilted Kilt, 1201 16th Street Let's be honest: The tubes of beer, garlic fries and platters of fish and chips are a draw -- but people are really coming for the servers dressed like Catholic-school dropouts. For some, it doesn't get any better than hanging out on a sprawling patio in the sunshine and being taken care of by the cast of Britney Spears's "Baby One More Time" video. And for others, there are plenty of distracting flat-screens. 7. Earls, 1600 Glenarm Place It's no surprise that Earls is always bustling. The servers (and hosts, and bussers) are straight out of a Maxim photo shoot, and making the place even more attractive is the happy hour that runs from morning through afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. 6. Brava Pizzeria , 16th and Arapahoe (base of Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret) Not only does Brava serve delicious pizza out of its mobile brick oven, but it has a great patio at the base of Lannie's Clocktower. Try the Queen, a simple (yet perfect) margherita pizza, or the White Shroom, a garlicky delight with fresh goat cheese and Hazel Dell Mushrooms. Fair warning: Brava closes at 3 p.m. on weekdays, but as consolation, the Queen is just $5 on Mondays. 5. Ambria, 1201 16th Street If you're looking for something more upscale, Ambria's patio offers a more intimate, relaxed atmosphere, and there are food and drink specials from 9 p.m. until close. Check out the impressive list of wines by the glass, as well as a menu that includes fresh cheeses, cured meats and roasted mussels. 4. Paramount Cafe, 519 16th Street The Paramount Cafe's patio isn't just one of the best on the mall, it's one of the best in the entire city -- especially for people-watching. Catch commuters, tourists and students rushing by while enjoying a happy hour that runs from 10 p.m. until close. And the Paramount's full menu of classed-up American diner food is available until 1 a.m. 3. Illegal Pete's, 1530 16th Street The patio at Illegal Pete's may be small, but the vibe of this local music-supporting spot is big. At lunch, enjoy the hustle and bustle of people heading out of offices in historic LoDo. And at night, mouth-watering burritos, tacos and draft beers could keep you lingering for hours, especially if Pete's has jammed a band into the dining area. 2. The Kitchen Denver, 1530 16th Street The Kitchen Denver, a sibling to the original favorite in Boulder, joined the lineup of 16th Street Mall eateries this year. And when the wrap-around patio was unveiled, Kitchen devotees started moving the party outside, where they now enjoy a stellar cocktail program and incomparable cuisine al fresco. Try a beer from the novel of a beer list, sample tasty bites from the Community Hour roster, or splurge on a full course (or five.) 1. Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House, 1610 16th Street When Lucky Pie took on a portion of the former home of Dixons, it inherited the entire patio, a spacious spot in the heart of Denver's old warehouse district. Serving up artisan pizzas and small plates (bacon peanut brittle!) and boasting an incredible (and constantly rotating) craft-beer list, Lucky Pie has evolved into the after-work and dinner destination of choice in LoDo.
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Before you lounge on the patio at Lucky Pie, take a sneak peek inside the restaurant: