Boulder is known for a few things: its beautiful, fit, and happy people; its legal marijuana; its hippies and hipsters; and most of all, its gorgeous outdoors and its craft beer. And what better way is there to combine those last two than to enjoy a pint of local beer on a scenic outdoor patio?
Boulder doesn’t save its lovely outdoor scenery only for activities up in the mountains; down here nestled in and very near the foothills, we’ve got all kinds of sights for sore eyes. And since we get around 300 sunny days a year, it’s rare that sitting outside with a pint isn’t viable in Boulder, and many of of or favorite pubs, breweries, and restaurants know this fact well, and have designed their seating areas with just that in mind.
People-watching Boulder’s fit and beautiful denizens is a favorite pastime of most Boulderites as well as visitors, and a tasty local pint you can’t get anywhere else only makes the practice even more pleasant. Boulder was a pioneer of the microbrew revolution back in the ’90s, after all, as well as a hub for homebrewers and nanobreweries (just ask famous Boulder resident and homebrew guru Charlie Papazian), and our wide range of delicious brewed quaffables remains bar none. So why not do both?
Here are five of the best places in Boulder to enjoy a patio pint. Let me know in the comments if I’ve left out your favorite.
So I know very well that Rio is not known for pints, but for margaritas of the topmost quality and strength. In fact, they’ve won the Boulder Weekly’s Best Of Boulder gold medal for margs more years than I can count. But the other thing they’ve been famous for around Boulder since they first opened their first doors downtown, is their rooftop patio.
Rio has recently undergone major renovations, but now it’s back on its iconic corner of Walnut, and its rooftop is back and better than ever. Look down and you’ll see the bustling sights of beautiful downtown Boulder. Look up, and the glorious flatirons will regale you with the view that many Boulderites joke is the reason for the high rent.
And, you know, they do have beer there.
The Lazy Dog
Speaking of stellar rooftops, Lazy Dog has not only a prime ground level patio for the best Pearl Street Mall people watching, but a Boulder-famous rooftop patio as well, with an excellent view (and refreshing mister-sprinklers for when it gets crazy hot up there).
Voted Gold for Best Boulder sports bar this year, Lazy Dog has a robust and frequently circulating series of taps of beer both local and global, and it remains one of Boulder’s favorite places to, as their slogan puts it, “come. Sit. Stay.”
Mountain Sun pubs swept this year’s Best of Boulder awards, including best beer selection [gold], craft brewery [silver] and bar [bronze], among many other awards. Those of us who are regular Boulder beer drinkers know Mountain Sun (and its sister pubs and breweries, Southern Sun and Under the Sun) well for its unique and delicious beers, both flagship and seasonal temporaries (stay tuned here at Your Boulder for more about Stout Month).
Original downtown Mountain Sun boasts what’s probably (in this author’s opinion, anyway) the best Pearl Street people watching patio in the city. That, paired with the tastiest IPA brewed here (again, just my opinion; don’t @ me), makes for one of the very best pint on a patio afternoons you could brew. Southern Sun, though, has a big and beautiful patio, too, with a mountain sunny view if you raise your gaze above the Table Mesa strip mall.h
Downtown isn’t the only place to find a top quality patio and pint in Boulder, though: Avery Brewing co. has its vast brewing and taphouse and restaurant location east of Boulder proper up in Gunbarrel, and if you haven’t been there yet, you must go. Avery won this year’s Gold medal best of Boulder award for best craft brewery, and it’s easy to see why: Avery is an icon of Boulder’s beer culture and constantly has enormous ranges of taps to try, for anyone with any taste in beer there is. After all, they won this year’s Gold Best Of Boulder for best craft brewery.
Avery’s patio is immense: picnic tables, umbrellas, cornholes, smokers and grills…the patio of Avery is like your favorite family backyard, writ huge. Plus, they have frequent brewery tours and a lovely little walking path around a pond very nearby, so you can drink in the beauty of local nature as well as drink in the local award winning pints.
The collective of foods and drinks and other lovely things that make up the Rayback won two Gold medal Best Of Boulder awards this year: best place to eat outside, and best bar.
So I mean, how can one deny the voice of Boulderites? We have spoken, and our vote is the big comfy hipster-warehousey behemoth that has infested (in a very good way) the old Rayback building down on 28th & Valmont. Outside, the Rayback always has two to three of the most gourmet food trucks you can find in Boulder, and with cornholes, fire pits, and plenty of seating, it’s not hard to see why Boulder voted for Rayback’s back yard as its favorite. (Indoors there are multiple bars, slinging craft booze, local beer, and kombucha for any thirst you might need to quench).
Kind of Cheating: Chautauqua Dining Hall
I know, I know; I’m cheating a little bit when I mention Chautauqua Dining Hall as an afterword on this list. But you can’t deny its amazing patio: I mean, what better view in Boulder could you ask for or find? They did win the silver medal best of boulder award this year too, for best place to eat outside, no less. And, though it’s more of a fine dining establishment, you definitely can order a delicious high quality local craft beer on its patio, so. It counts. Right?
What are your favorite pint-friendly patios to relax on? Let us know.