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.
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, McDevitt Taco Supply has a permanent stand at Sanitas for when you need a tasty snack.
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.
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.
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.
Whether your next trip is coming up tomorrow, next weekend or next year, don’t worry. There are enough options in Boulder to try a new patio every time and still find a new one every once in a while. This town does everything it can to keep you from staying in.