Boulder Restaurants with Patios
If the sun is out, Boulder’s patios are some of the liveliest gathering places in town — winter, spring, summer or fall. This city of outdoor lovers likes its fresh food and fresh brews with a side of fresh air, and visitors are always welcome to join in the fun. Boulder's patios are outdoor dining at its very best.
For the Views
Let us first say that a great many patios in Boulder boast incredible (seriously jaw-dropping, life-affirming) views, and we can’t possibly cover them all here. But if you’re looking for a place to start, it’s hard to top seeing the iconic Flatirons presiding over Boulder from the elegant St. Julien Hotel and Spa’s Redgarden Terrace, which has an excellent cocktail menu. You'll also be blown away by the scene from Boulder’s food truck park, Rayback Collective, where strings of twinkling lights hang above, picnic tables await and yummy nibbles abound. Another low-key option is Café Mexicali, where your mango-salsa-studded tacos will be served in humble to-go containers, perfect for taking them out to the patio to drink up the views. On the opposite end of the spectrum, celebrity chef Hosea Rosenberg’s Blackbelly Market has not one but two lovely patios, with the one in back boasting refreshing vistas of the foothills. And don't miss the legendary Chautauqua Dining Hall, with a classic veranda, farm-to-table cuisine and a location at the foot of the Flatirons.
Above: Rayback Collective
For the Brews
Just about every Boulder brewery we can think of has a patio — cold beers and sunshine just seem to go together. A few notable options include the back deck of Sanitas Brewing, where several long picnic tables and yard games tempt guests to while away entire afternoons. Twisted Pine’s vine-draped wooden deck is a great tucked-away option in East Boulder, or continue a bit farther east to Wild Provisions Beer Project to spread out on their spacious, clean and uncluttered patio with a fermented lager or Koelschip beer. In South Boulder, Southern Sun is a neighborhood go-to that’s close to the foothills and several hiking trails and stocked with board games and books. Avery Brewing, in Boulder's Gunbarrel neighborhood, has a popular, sun-drenched patio off the side of its state-of-the-art brewing facility, and the food is excellent. Click here to see more Boulder breweries and click the "Outdoor Dining" toggle for more options!
Boulder has one of the highest rates of breweries per capita among U.S. cities. Together, the cities of Boulder, Fort Collins and Denver are considered the "Napa Valley of Beer."
Above: Avery Brewing
For Some Altitude
Rooftop restaurants and bars in Boulder are especially cherished because they are relatively rare and, because of the city’s building height restrictions, the views are almost always breathtaking. There are several choices downtown: At Rosetta Hall, order from one of several mini restaurants and then head up to the rooftop to enjoy your food and drink with astounding vistas and pretty cabanas. Another downtown food hall, Avanti F&B, has heaters and views that pair well with the variety of cuisines and drinks offered. Try Corrida's fine Spanish cuisine paired with unbelievable Flatirons views (named in Jetsetter's best places to drink with a view). Relax at the Rio Grande for margaritas the size of your head (there’s a per-person limit of three!) and toast the Flatirons in sight. Or experience West End Tavern’s prized mountain panoramas, burgers and whiskey. In Gunbarrel, the rooftop at Motherlode Cafe is expansive and unfettered, taking in a vast panorama of the Front Range.
“Right smack dab in the middle of town, I've found a paradise that's trouble proof…up on the roof,” — Carole King
For the People-Watching
The time-honored art of watching the world roll by is especially delicious on a patio in Boulder. You’re bound to see some interesting local characters, street performers, crazy-fit athletes, and regular locals out for a stroll. Japango has a coveted downtown spot with a patio right “on the bricks” of central Pearl Street and one of Boulder's best cocktail programs. See and be seen sipping martinis at the Corner Bar, located in the historic Hotel Boulderado or at Oak at Fourteenth, whose patio space a half block off Pearl is limited but worth the wait. Or enjoy a mojito beside shimmering aspen trees on Centro Mexican Kitchen’s heat-lamp-warmed and always-happening patio.
For Courtyard Charm
The ornate, jewel-box-like Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse was hand-carved and painted in Tajikistan and presented as a gift to Boulder. Its front patio is as spectacular as the teahouse itself, fragrant with blooming rose bushes in summer and accompanied by the murmurs of Boulder Creek. River and Woods extends their concept of elevated family favorites to the backyard, where heavy log furniture invites guests to settle in and enjoy. And Mateo’s back patio is similarly cozy. While it’s right on East Pearl, you’d never know it among the flourishing flower boxes, hanging baskets and herb gardens. Looking for just a quick scone-and-coffee combo? Spruce Confections is your best bet, with a Pearl West location and a courtyard as cute as its cakes and croissants.
Above: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse