Al fresco dining spaces have always been popular, but in Colorado — where we treat our dogs like the precious family members they are — patios have also become places for pooches and their peeps to kick back with a cold one and a bite (food only, of course). Pups aren’t allowed inside restaurants or breweries (they never were, but some tap rooms were letting them in before Denver’s Department of Environmental Health recently stepped up inspections), but they are welcome at many outdoor areas at bars and restaurants around town. Here are the ten most pet-friendly patios in the metro area, listed alphabetically, with this year's winner of our Best Patio for Pets award listed in the number-one slot.
10. Cozy Cottage
4363 Tennyson Street
An extensive selection of eggs Benedicts (try the Mexican one with green chile) and a charming setting — in a bright and cheery yellow house on Tennyson Street in the Berkeley neighborhood — make the Cozy Cottage a destination eatery for breakfast and lunch (particularly on weekends) and a locals’ favorite, as well. It’s the lush, fenced-in garden of a patio that’s the real draw in warmer months, though, with tables tucked away from the street and plenty of space for pooches.
9. Forest Room 5
2532 15th Street
With its mountain-retreat feel in a very urban setting — complete with log stools, rough-rock fire pits, a waterfall and a variety of trees and bushes — the patio at Forest Room 5 is a dog’s dream. Slip your best friend a little bit of elk slider and try to convince him that there are no squirrels up there.
8. Govnr’s Park Tavern
672 Logan Street
The huge, shady patio at Govnr’s Park makes for great people-watching (and dog-watching, too). Buckets of fresh water are tucked around the space for Fido, and for the humans, happy hour brings $3 domestic pints and snacks for under $5 (homemade kettle chips, yum).
7. Highlands Cork & Coffee
3701 West 32nd Avenue
The spacious, foliage-lined patio at this comfortable circa 1907 house is particularly appealing for pets because the tables are far apart and wind around to the side, which means that anyone who’s not getting along can be separated. In addition to coffee, the Cork also offers a smartly chosen wine list and cooks up some savvy small plates, including a delectable Spanish sausage with spicy mustard. At night, live music makes everyone happy.
650 Sherman Street
The friendly and inviting Racines has been a go-to spot for Denverites since 1983, and now Spot is welcome, too, along with water bowls and treats if they’re allowed. The small and shady patio — umbrella-topped tables in one section, trees in another — helps you keep your dogs close, and the Mexican and American dishes help keep you well fed.
Keep reading for five more pooch-friendly patios...
5. Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub
955 Bannock Street
Dog bones and water bowls are offered to every dog that settles in at the narrow, fenced-in patio outside of this welcoming coffee shop and bar in the Golden Triangle. For humans, Rooster & Moon serves snacks, sandwiches and scrambles — as well as freshly baked pastries — for breakfast and lunch daily.
4, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs
3525 East Colfax Avenue
The only downside to bringing dogs along to Steve’s is that they will be begging every minute for a bite of your delicious...dog. Roomy and with a straight shot at the top-notch people-watching on East Colfax, the patio here is casual and comfortable; it’s even heated when the temps get chilly at night.
3. Ugly Dog Sports Cafe
1345 Cortez Street
The sizable, fenced-in outdoor dog area at the Ugly Dog — a north Denver sports bar that serves excellent burgers — features fire hydrants, doghouses and water bowls, all scattered among the picnic tables. The raucous atmosphere tends to drown out any barking, but it helps that the dog treats flow freely.
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2. The Watering Bowl
5411 Leetsdale Drive
What sets the Watering Bowl apart from other pet-friendly patios is that its enormous outdoor space is essentially an off-leash park, complete with bowls of water for drinking, pools of water for splashing, and balls and other toys. Picnic tables and lawn chairs add to the feel of a big party, and chicken wings and a basket of fries or tater tots complete the picture.
1300 Pennsylvania Street
The fencing around the patio at Subculture, an appealing sub shop that gets packed at peak times, is ideal for leashing your dog. Then settle in at a picnic table and take down one of the well-made sandwiches from a seemingly endless roster, which includes many vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten-free breads. The crowd is particularly pooch-oriented, so friends will be made — and not only are the water bowls kept full, but staffers have been known to come out to slip Spot a few scraps.