Best of Denver

The Ten Best Hidden Restaurant Patios in Denver

Denver's a sunny city, according to weather statistics, but sometimes you want to have it (dinner, that is) made in the shade. Eats and drinks on a secluded, quiet patio can be nourishing for both the belly and the soul. Here's our list of the ten best hidden patios in the metro area, in alphabetical order:
10. Brazen
4450 West 38th Avenue

Brazen's patio isn't exactly hidden; after all, it's in the front of the West Highland restaurant. But Brazen faces away from busy West 38th Avenue, so the patio is set far from traffic and overlooks a piney greenbelt and the historic Elitch Gardens Theatre. Leash your dog to a nearby tree and settle in by the fire pit for drinks and small plates from Brazen's talented kitchen.

9. Cheese Importers/ Bistrot des Artistes
103 Main Street, Longmont

The White family moved its venerable cheese company, founded in 1976, to an abandoned power station on Longmont's Main Street in 2012; the new space had plenty of room for a refrigerated cheese shop, a kitchen-supply store and a très jolie French bistro that spills out the back door onto an elevated patio. Colorful umbrellas, painted iron tables and chairs, and a plethora of potted plants lend the spacious seating area a country-cottage feel, even in its industrial setting. Relax with a glass of beer or wine and a plate of imported cheeses, and you'll feel like you're in Provence, not Longmont.  8. Chili Verde
2311 Federal Boulevard

Federal Boulevard is more about authentic eats than sophisticated ambience, but Chili Verde manages to capture a little of both: delicious Mexican food in the style of Puebla, and an upscale atmosphere that's far from hole-in-the-wall. And Chile Verde's walled-in patio takes guests even farther from Federal, with overhanging vines, potted plants and enough shade to beat the heat on sunny summer days.

7. Domo
1365 Osage Street
This traditional Japanese restaurant has an equally traditional botanic garden set with dark-wood tables among carefully manicured trees and shrubs. It's no secret: Most food-loving Denverites will say the name Domo when asked about great food in a great outdoor space. But every visit feels like a journey to a hidden land, even with Colfax Avenue and I-25 just beyond the ivy-covered fences.

6. The Hornet
76 Broadway

The Hornet is almost always packed inside, but not many people know about the fenced-in patio in the back. The little square is bigger than it feels, with six or seven tables and a cozy bench. Strings of lights add a warm glow after dark, making for an intimate escape from bustling Broadway out front.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation