Eating Out, Literally: Colorado’s Finest Pandemic-Friendly Outdoor Dining

Outdoor Dining
With various concerns about the intimacy of bars and restaurants and its role in the spread of COVID, the food and beverage industry has been one of the most regulated and restricted by government mandate. As a result, many restaurants and bars have had to close or constantly sit on the ominous brink of closure. Still others, are innovating.


Proper air flow being of great concern, most mandates allow dining only outside in the open air. While this meant an enjoyable sunny afternoon on a patio only a few months ago, now it means bundling up and weathering some pretty extreme conditions. Several restaurants across the state, making lemonade from lemons, are facing the winter months head-on and have created some alfresco dining experiences that will have you forgetting all about the frigid temperatures. Here are just a few listed by The Denver Post you’ll have to eat to believe.


School House Kitchen – Arvada
With a curbside bar, a converted school bus, single-party clear plastic domes, and fireside tables, the open-air dining scenarios are aplenty at this historic site. Enjoy a whiskey from their extensive list (one of the largest in the country) or a homemade meal to keep you warm.


The French Alpine Bistro – Aspen
Fine dining at its finest from a private ski chalet reserved by parties of up to eight people. A log cabin with cozy knit throws, candlelight and lots of ventilation offers a safe and comfortable dining experience.


Local Coffee – Aspen
One of several weatherproof outdoor dining nooks with plexiglass walls and its own roof provide privacy in the open air.


Black Cat Farms – Boulder
Just outside of Boulder’s downtown you’ll find this farm-to-table bistro on its namesake farm littered with private cabanas. Stunning views and a lively seasonally-inspired menu are sure to meet and even exceed your expectations.


Frasca Food & Wine – Boulder
Enjoy a refined culinary experience unmatched in one of the yurts among the restaurant’s yurt village. In a partnership with American Express this unique option, including a multicourse meal for +$170 per guest, is available to cardholders only.


Aurum Food & Wine – Breckenridge & Steamboat
Bringing yurt dining experiences to the mountains where they originated, enjoy multicourse meals in these cozy heated structures, perfect for celebrating special occasions in small groups.


Annette’s – Aurora
Pick from a private yurt in Stanley Marketplace or an individual patio greenhouse. But, the decisions don’t stop there with a mouth-watering farm-fresh array of menu options to scour.


Beckon – Denver
Whether it’s from the covered and heated patio or a private greenhouse, you’re assured an “enchanting encounter” at this RiNo modern eatery.


Linger – Denver
Dine under the stars along the Denver skyline from their rooftop bubbles.


My Brother’s Bar – Denver
One of Denver’s favorite dive bars now boasts trendy and heated plastic domes on a back patio, perfect for enjoying their infamous burgers and beer.


Tavernetta – Denver
Authentic Italian food and genuine hospitality but make it outdoor. Parties of 2-4 can reserve their 4-course meal “sotto le stelle” (under the stars) for $125 a person.


The Family Jones – Denver
House-distilled spirits and small plates can be savored from their gazebos, heated and lit with string lights. You can also purchase a bottle or two to go!


The Wolf’s Tailor – Denver
Glamping tents and greenhouses litter their Sunnyside backyard at this Omakase-style Japanese and Italian blended restaurant.


The Regional – Fort Collins
A home cooked meal by the fireside on their lamplit patio or in a private dining trailer transport us back to our true Colorado roots.


Bin 707 Foodbar – Grand Junction
Expanding into the vaulted foyer of the downtown bank building in which is located is just one of this restaurant’s two options for open-air dining. The other is a greenhouse village.


Spice Trade Brewing – Greenwood Village
International street food and beer flights are delivered to an open-air tent or individual snow globes.


Acreage – Lafayette
Rightly named, they have 35 private campsites throughout their property. Using QR codes you can order their beloved ciders and delicious food. Chairs and picnic tables provided, extra blankets and maybe even a pop-up tent encouraged.


The Lake House Kitchen & Tavern – Littleton
From an ice fishing tent on their back patio, look out upon the frozen Johnson Reservoir.


Peche – Palisade
Four hours west of Denver is this new restaurant less than a year old. They offer patio seating as well as reservation of four private clubhouses with special themes: the city, the cabin, the Moroccan room, and the study.


Sauce on the Blue – Silverthorne
Feast on pizza and other Italian favorites from a private yurt. Seats up to 6.


Snowmass Village – Aspen
Across various patios with heaters and wind barriers, skiers can dine and lounge. Bagged lunches are available at the Viceroy’s outdoor Nest bar and can be devoured under a tented pool area.


Mountain Tap Brewery – Steamboat Springs
Gondola cars shipped all the way from Vermont make cozy and private dining booths. You can even connect your phone via Bluetooth to the gondola’s speakers and deejay your own meal.


Mountain Village – Telluride
20 gondola cars soon to be sprinkled among the pedestrian plazas of the ski village will have QR codes with menu options from several surrounding bars and restaurants. These private dining cabins plan to outlast the pandemic and become a permanent attraction at the popular resort.


Keep in mind, there are lots of ways to safely support your local restaurants and bars without dining in (well technically out but you know what we mean). Many are now able to operate at 25% capacity. Make reservations or show up early and always wear your mask and abide by their safety regulations. Of course, there is also usually a convenient take-out option (just tip big) or you can purchase a gift card to use at a later date. By supporting our local community, we can all get through this together, stronger than ever. Corken + Company encourages you- eat and drink up!

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Rachel Sartin

Lori Corken