Nothing brings people together like summertime lounging—specifically, patio lounging. Behold a few hotspots where you can drink in the outdoor action.
On the River
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 flavorful and familiar comfort foods, beer, and specialty drinks. Bonus: that aggravating Ring Toss game and a pseudo-stairway for tuber access!
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
pivoting retractable awnings for shade 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.
Salt & Lime
Arriba! That’s where you’ll be on the rooftop of Salt & Lime, where you can see the slopes of Mt. Werner over the the 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.
Lincoln Ave. and Elsewhere
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. The scene is young and lively, with everything brewed on site from Champagne Powder snowmelt. Expect good times, good company, a good vibe…and free popcorn.
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.
Steamboat Whiskey Co.
Located in Steamboat’s first co-op building, Steamboat Whiskey Co. keeps that same community co-op feel alive on its patio along Lincoln Avenue, complete with umbrellas, gas firepits and libations as fresh as the mountain air (made just a cork pop’s away in an American-made pot still). For a light, summer elixir, try its Sleeping Giant Gin—whose namesake mountain you can see as you look west.
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 during the pandemic, creating access for both restaurants to its brick-walled, rustic charm.
On 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.
Editor’s note: Paramount, Los Locos and Slopeside Grill are all located in a row. Take the Swillin’ & Chillin’ challenge and visit all three!
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 GM Mark Stanford. “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. New owner Scott Buchler replaced the “old, creaky wooden deck” with concrete, increasing its seating capacity to 100. They also added new grass and are upping the flower count from Karen’s Growing Ideas. “And the floor doesn’t make those creaking sounds anymore,” he says. Bonus: walls filled with memorabilia from town’s ranching past.
Rex’s American Bar & Grill
The back patio of Rex’s at the Holiday Inn 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 with Hula Hoops, soccer balls, corn hole and other games for the kids. It also carries live music and awesome avocado smashers. “It’s a great place for the whole family,” says Rex’s Lindy Schwanke.
Timber & Torch
There might be some construction going on across the way at the new gondola base, but don’t let that dissuade you from hitting Timber & Torch deck at the base of the mountain (open Thursdays through Mondays this summer). Enjoy cocktails on a multi-tiered patio, connected to the inside via giant roll-up doors. Fun fact: Inside, look to the ceiling for the engraved names of Steamboat’s Olympians.