Nothing brings people together like summertime lounging—specifically, patio lounging. Behold a few hotspots where you can drink in the outdoor action.
Satisfy your hankering for Hurricanes at Steamboat’s classic, riverside watering hole. Located along the banks of the Yampa, the South-meets-Rockies bistro has a backyard patio where you can watch floaters drift by in craft of all walks. With a Louisiana-style menu, it’s packed with comfort foods, beer, and specialty drinks. Bonus: that aggravating Ring Toss game and a pseudo-stairway for tuber access!
Steamboat’s newest riverside (and rooftop) patio belongs to the Ice House at 751 Yampa Ave. right along the river next door to SunPies. Owned by John and Jarret Duty, the new live-fire BBQ joint features both a rooftop bar and riverside deck serving up views of Howlie, the river, Mt. Werner and more. Just remember to wipe your fingers before touching your glass.
Aurum Food & Wine
American fine dining meets chic riverfront space at Aurum, whose lively lounge space is perfect for watching musicians and tubers arm-circle by. A large, gas fire keeps you warm when the sun drops, and an elevated deck upstairs offers views of Howelsen Hill. Combine that with great food (try the street tacos), a turf yard for the kids and retractable awnings and it’s the complete patio package.
Homemade chorizo and chocolate flan—as well as burritos, chips/salsa, and ice-cold margaritas—await at the riverside deck of Taco Cabo, whose ship-rope railing and trees that should harbor monkeys put you south of the border (you’ll feel like ordering in Spanish). And you’re just a stone’s throw from tubers (but please, don’t throw stones), as you saddle up to its outside bar. Tip: Watch your head on its low tree branches.
Mouth-watering steaks, lobster mac and more take center stage at E3 Chophouse, whose riverside deck is both upscale and downhome. The steakhouse comes alive nightly, especially at sunset, with its pared-back deck menu still offering some of the best fare around (try the juicy ribeye with Truffle-Parmesan shoestring fries). Bonus: the best cozy couple’s nook around.
A Flycast Away
Mountain Tap Brewery
With giant glass garage doors bringing the inside vibe of the brewery outdoors, Mountain Tap’s patio along Yampa Street is a local’s favorite. Gas fireplaces keep the nighttime chill at bay, popcorn fuels your thirst for handcrafted IPAs, and picnic tables encourage camaraderie with neighbors—who might show up dripping wet from surfing the nearby A-hole.
O’Neil’s combines the energy of an authentic Irish Pub with the local atmosphere of a small town. With a low-key, cozy setting, its south-facing deck is the perfect location to relax and enjoy an afternoon in the sun, affording sweeping views of Howelsen Hill. Try their shepherd’s pie, fall-off-the-bone lamb shank, or, for cheese lovers, the beer cheese.
Known for its homemade wing batter, two-day marinated pot roast and classic happy hour, Carl’s sidewalk-lined patio lets you breathe fresh air like its namesake Norwegian Carl Howelsen did when soaring off the jumps across the river at Howelsen Hill. And you might see friends who decide to join you.
Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill
Head to Mahogany’s brick-paver patio for its Happy Hour bites and tapas — including the twisted pretzel and tangy tuna ceviche. Warm, summer nights are prime time for hanging out and grabbing grub under the stars and exploring its many brews on tap—all with a charm of a neighborhood local hangout.
The Commons at 56 Seventh St. houses five food vendors, a full bar (operated by Justin Keys, owner of The Barley), and, best yet, a large, 650-square-foot deck with outdoor seating overlooking cascading Butcherknife Creek. “It’s a pretty awesome spot to hang out, especially the deck outside,” says co-owner Cam Boyd. “People are loving it as a place to come relax and enjoy great food and drinks.”
West of Town
Storm Peak Brewing Co.
A westside local hotspot, Storm Peak serves up mircobrewed beer and kombucha, with large garage doors bringing the outside in and vice versa, as well as a new rooftop deck for sunsets with your Pilsner. The scene is young and lively, with everything brewed on site from Champagne Powder snowmelt. Expect good times, good company, and a good vibe.
Located at the former home of Butcherknife Brewery, Steamboat’s newest distillery, Mythology, serves up an outdoor whiskey garden bar none at 2875 Elk River Road. Enjoy craft cocktails, craft beer, wine and Asian soup dumplings at a terraced patio and garden, complete with a built-in slide for the kids (and adults). “We just want people to come together and have a great time,” says co-owner Scott Yeates, whose Best Friend Bourbon leads to doing just that.
Italians love wining and dining outside and you will, too, at Mambo’s quaint, umbrella-topped patio along Lincoln Avenue. The menu ranges from old family recipes and chef-inspired specials to gluten-free and seasonal options, all from an open kitchen where the chefs work their magic. Bonus: Happy Hour pizzas and the waft of fresh garlic outside.
Creekside Cafe & Grill/The Laundry
In a unique, cinnamon-roll-like twist, Creekside Cafe and The Laundry have partnered on their patio space along Soda Creek, letting you listen to its babble at both breakfast and early evening Happy Hour. Credit the combining-of-forces to its owners busting through the shared wall, creating access for both restaurants to its brick-walled, rustic charm.
Yampa Valley Brewing Co.’s Hop House downtown at 1125 Lincoln Ave. has a streetside, outside patio with fireplaces ward off the evening chill rises. Try the Yampa Valley Blonde or orange-hued Space Dog IPA, whose tint matches the sunset.
Salt & Lime
From the rooftop of Salt & Lime you can see the white snow still lingering on Mt. Werner over the white salt rimming your glass. Margaritas top the menu, and you might find yourself inviting up friends who you see walking or driving along Lincoln Avenue with the lesser mortals down below. Hint: bring a jacket—you’ll likely be there until well after the sun, and your third margarita, goes down.
Steamboat’s newest rooftop revelry belongs to Vaqueros on Lincoln Avenue, giving the Mexican joint three floors of tequila-toting service. Appreciate the buffed arms of your servers who carry it up if you order a trayful of the Large marg, whose “Millionaire,” made from 1942 Don Julio Anejo, is worth every peso.
On (and Toward) the Mountain
Paramount offers cheap drinks and food grounded in familiar flavors for the whole family (the kids can unleash energy within yelling distance in the adjacent yard). Mouth-watering options include S@#^ on a shingle, chilaquiles and the chicken fried steak and eggs. For cocktails give the paloma, greyhound punch and tequila sunrise the college try.
If a sunny afternoon puts you in the mood for big-pour, easy-drinking margaritas, bomb-ass tacos and lip-tingling, green chili-smothered burritos, Los Locos has your seat on its outside patio, with heaters to keep you happy-houring well into the evening. A no-frills joint, the barkeeps remember how you like your marg.
There’s nothing fancy about Slopeside, which boasts the mountain’s largest outside patio and yard. But that’s part of its charm. It’s all about pitchers of your favorite draft beer and wood-fired pizzas (try the yard sale, valley view, four points, or chutes). And your kids can run around on the grass while you keep the refills comin’.
Sniff around (like its namesake swine) for a seat at the Truffle Pig patio and you’ll find one of the nicest wining and dining spots around. Sample the whole menu, with sweeping views and warm fireplaces. “It’s easily the crowd favorite come summer,” says owner Scott Engelman. “Our patio tables are always the first to fill up.”
Ore House at the Pine Grove
Flanked with flowers and soft grass, the Ore House back patio is as verdant a setting as you’ll find for slurping drinks and sampling hors de oeuvres. With an increased outside seating capacity of 100, you’re almost guaranteed a spot anytime in summer. Bonus: walls filled with memorabilia from town’s ranching past.
Formerly Rex’s, the back patio of Mountainside south of town belies its friendly, casual-yet-upscale atmosphere. Just off the banks of Walton Creek, it’s one of the most family-friendly around, complete a yard and games for the kids.
Timber & Torch
The new base area officially opens up this summer, with Timber & Torch anchoring it with one of the biggest and most terraced patios in town. Enjoy cocktails on its multiple tiers, listen to Burgess Creek babbling by and take in a free summer concert. Fun fact: Inside, look to the ceiling for the engraved names of Steamboat’s Olympians.