It’s summer in Boulder, and it just doesn’t feel right to be indoors. Even after a full day of hiking, biking, hanging by the creek or just walking around Pearl Street, it seems wrong to hide indoors when it’s still so nice out.
So when it’s time to cool off with a drink or meet up for a meal, there are plenty of great options to do either — without having to go inside. To help you find a spot this summer, here are some suggestions to guide the way, in no particular order.
Centro Mexican Kitchen, 950 Pearl St.
Let’s start off with one of the best around. The patio at Centro has to be on any list like this because it combines so many of the elements you need for a great summer afternoon. It’s right on Pearl Street, the food is tasty, the cocktails are refreshing and most importantly, there’s shade. A margarita and snacks to share can’t be beat when you get to duck out of the sun for it.
Sanitas Brewing Co., 3550 Frontier Ave.
While not as centrally located, Sanitas has carved out one of the better meeting spots for the sunny months. From bar seating to sail shades and a bocce court, there’s plenty of space in a way that just isn’t possible downtown. As an added bonus, every Sunday at 3 p.m. in the summertime, the brewery’s Patio Series features local musicians on the patio.
West End Tavern, 926 Pearl St.
Ideally located on Pearl Street, the West End Tavern ranks high because the rooftop patio has a direct view of the Flatirons, accompanied by an extensive selection of both local beers and excellent liquor. When the street gets too hot — or too busy — duck upstairs for some wings and a cold one.
Sherpa’s Restaurant, 825 Walnut St.
Tucked away on the West end of Walnut Street, Sherpa’s might be easy to overlook as an outdoor dining destination. But with a large, tree-shaded outdoor area to go along with absolutely delicious Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food, Sherpa’s is one of the best spots to sit outside for dinner in town. The chai is locally famous— if it’s cooled off enough for a hot drink— and the food is to die for. And right next door is:
The Bitter Bar, 835 Walnut St.
There aren’t many bars in Boulder with a patio area this large. That gives Bitter Bar the edge in this discussion because no one wants to squeeze past a dozen people to get to a stool somewhere; they want to stretch out at a table and relax with a drink. Bitter Bar fills both those needs to a T. Add to it weekly live music and a hip vibe.
T/ACO, 1175 Walnut St.
What is it about tacos and patios that seem to go together? If you can find space on the renovated patio here, you’ve got a prized spot. The fish tacos are delicious, and the margaritas are not to be underestimated. The space isn’t large, but the Flatirons peek in the distant view.
Southern Sun, 627 S. Broadway E.
OK, the Southern Sun patio is right off of Broadway, and there’s not usually much in the way of shade, but if you’ve been hiking or climbing in Chautauqua or Eldorado Canyon, there’s nothing better than a burger and a beer afterward to keep you going for the rest of the day. Even better, you can gaze up at the Flatirons and plan your next trip.
Other Patios in Boulder Worth a Visit:
For these, we’ll let the photos do the talking. No more convincing necessary.
The Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road: You cannot beat these views. Or this food.
Carelli’s, 645 30th St.: Snuggle up next to the fire for a romantic date.
Rosalee’s Pizzeria, 461 Main St., Longmont: Old school, quaint and tasty pizza. Plus, blankets to keep off a breeze.
Cheese Importers, 103 Main St., Longmont: Enjoy French food, coffee and pastries for lunch on this small but colorful patio.
Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, 1770 13th St., Boulder: The creekside patio here is nearly as stunning as the ornate, artistic interior of this Boulder landmark. The tea garden is full of flowers.
Brasserie Ten Ten, 1011 Walnut St.: This small patio downtown is flower-filled and has great people-watching.
On Point Distillery, 802 S. Public Road, Suite E, Lafayette: If you’re craving local spirits with the good weather, this large patio is tons of fun.
Martini’s Bistro, 543 Terry St., Longmont: This charming, historic home-turned-restaurant serves perfect martinis on a large patio near downtown Longmont.
Pizzeria Basta, 3601 Arapahoe Ave.: Basta has an intimate patio with tables that aren’t too crammed in. It’s a little bit romantic without being stuffy.
2020 Food + Wine Bar, 2020 Ionosphere St., Longmont: Sip wine on this flower-filled patio in Longmont. Does it get more colorful?
Corrida, 1023 Walnut St., Unit 400: Boulder’s most impressive rooftop dining area offers views of the Flatirons that can’t be topped.
Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar, 1117 Pearl St.: This busy sushi restaurant’s small patio is in the heart of the Pearl Street Mall. All of the people-watching.