This week's Arctic blast and snow flurries shoved aside our Indian summer in a hurry. But fall's close doesn't have to mean the end of Denver's sunny patio time. So that you're not relegated to the indoors all winter, we compiled a list of wintry patios -- some enclosed, some with fire pits and heaters, most with drink specials that promise to keep you warm in the crisp winter air.
10) Ignite Burgers & Lounge 2124 Larimer Street 303-296-2600 What a perfect name for a restaurant with a cozy, winter-friendly patio. Ignite's rooftop bar is partially enclosed, with garage doors that open on Denver's warm and sunny days and tall Lava Heat lamps (the ones that look like giant bug zappers) to warm patrons on the uncovered portion of the patio. The menu is Ignite's true claim as a great winter patio: With wood-fired pizza to warm the belly and $4 shots available with any alcoholic beverage, the bar's food and drink will ward off the chill. We also suggest the Firewater, a mix of bourbon, ginger, vanilla and honey, found in the bar's signature drink, the Whiskey A Go-Go.
9) Historians Ale House 24 Broadway 720-479-8505 This bar has multiple options when it comes to toasty quarters for imbibing. About half of Historians' rooftop patio is enclosed in a heated space (called "the barn") with garage doors that open on warmer days. But outside of the barn, rooftop guests can huddle around one of the six heaters or the fire pit. There's also one lucky table next to the patio's fireplace. Every month the bar features a rotation of guest beers from craft breweries, with giveaways and tastings, but when it snows, Historian's breaks out liquor specials with $1 Irish Coffees. In a few weeks, there will also be specially priced warm cider with Tuaca.
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8) Cap City Tavern 1247 Bannock Street 720-931-8888 This Golden Triangle treasure is the best place to play lawn games in the cold temperatures because of the strong heaters beating pleasantly on your noggin. Cap City's enclosed back patio keeps out the cold with clear plastic curtains that can be rolled up to let in a smidge of chill if desired. And there are two fabulous games: life-sized Jenga and the nail game, which involves smacking nails into a log faster than your opponents. Plus, every night there's a different drink special for you to warm up with -- our favorite is hoarding (ahem, I mean sharing one) a half-off bottle of wine.
7) Fire on the Mountain 3801 West 32nd Avenue 303-480-9464 This Buffalo wing haven's name incites warmth all on its own. Fortunately, the name isn't the only thing boasting heat here: a small, enclosed porch on the side of the restaurant holds in the warmth radiating from heaters above the tables. But our favorite fire from this place is from the smorgasbord of wing-sauce choices, including spicy peanut, Jamaican jerk, BBQ and three levels of Buffalo heat. To keep warm, we suggest the raspberry habanero, hot Buffalo or -- if you really need warming up -- the El Jefe, a blend of habaneros, jalapenos, Cajun spice, capsicum, Frank's Red Hot and more. This place might also fire your heart, because the restaurant is certified green and respects its chickens, which are locally raised, hormone-free, antibiotic free, and cage-free.
6) Forest Room 5 2532 15th Street 303-433-7001 If you're missing the mountains and stuck in Denver this winter, Forest Room 5 is the bee's knees when it comes to outdoor drinking. The bar's patio, on the side of the building, is bordered by trees keeping out strong winds (breezes still get through!) and warmed by two fire pits. There's also a teepee that we'd be willing to bet would warm up quickly if you wedged in four or five people. Up until last week, Forest Room 5 didn't have a cold-night drink special, but our call prompted a spur-of-the-moment special: Everyone gets one free drink on evenings with sub-zero temperatures -- except on weekends. We might hit that this week! Continue reading for more wintry patios.
5) Krewe Crescent City BBQ 1109 Lincoln Street 720-508-4682 Krewe is another great place to get fired up for the winter. With a menu full of smoked meat and steaming gumbo, the food alone would keep you toasty, but Krewe also has a fire pit that comfortably fits a group of eight. The New Orleans-style restaurant and bar is introducing a hot toddy menu in a week or two, according to bar manager Eli Williams. His favorite selection, aptly named Eli's Favorite, is a concoction of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, lemon juice, agave nectar, and Woodford Reserve Bourbon for $10 --that's on the high end of the list, which will range from $5 to $10.
4) The Dive Inn 1380 South Broadway 720-242-6157 The Dive Inn opens to a cozy patio in the back where guests can play cornhole enclosed within high walls that keep out most of the chill. Right now, only the side patio is heating, so playing games in the back might get a little chilly. The Dive Inn also has two pool tables, Foosball and ping-pong tables separated from the cornhole courtyard by garage doors that open on warmer winter days. Drink specials are available whenever the bar is open (which makes the "special" tag confusing), including a fiery $4 Fireball shot perfect when coming in from the cold.
3) Denver Beer Co. 1695 Platte Street 303-433-2739 If you've seen the Denver Beer Company's wide-open patio, you might doubt our choice to include the three-year-old brewery. But head over on a snowy day (just make sure to pack yourself into your snow pants and layered gear) and take a seat on the patio. It might seem crazy, but when it's snowing, guests who brave the patio get $2 off pints. With a good parka and a knit cap, you'll have a great time braving the elements. Just watch out for too many flakes falling in that discounted beer; you don't want to water down your Graham Cracker porter (the obvious choice here, since the flavor will remind you of s'mores).
Continue reading for more wintry patios.
2) Lime XS 730 East Sixth Avenue 303-722-5463 If you believe what the sign says, this is the place to warm your belly, not with a hot toddy, but with a burning shot of tequila. Lime XS, which just re-opened in late September, has a redesigned interior and two patios: one of which features overhead heaters and will be fully enclosed starting next week. That patio also has an indoor-outdoor bar so you can head over on your own and take a solo seat without feeling obvious. Plus, with a wealth of Mexican comida, you can imagine yourself enjoying the warm Mexican sand and sun.
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1) Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill 980 Grant Street 303-860-1655 No list of outdoor hangouts would be complete without Charlie Brown's, one of Denver's most popular enclosed patios. The large deck is warmed by overhead heaters and lights, with ceiling fans that keep the warm air circulating. Guests can shake off the chill with a drink from the specialty winter-warmer menu, or stop by on Fridays for free hot wings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.