By Caramie Petrowsky
There’s something about warm sunny days that make you crave a patio seat, a cold drink and some good company. Thankfully Fort Collins has a plethora of options from which to choose. You could spend all spring, summer, and fall patio hopping in pursuit of the holy grail.
Here are a few spots to get the patio party started …
OLD TOWN ESTABLISHMENTS
CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, 5 Old Town Square
The two-sided patio at this charming Old Town brewpub is a must visit. From one side of Coopersmith’s you can watch the hustle and bustle of Mountain Avenue or practice your people watching skills. If there’s a concert or special event happening, the patio, conveniently adjacent to Old Town Square is the place to hunker down with a tried-and-true Punjabi Pale Ale. The menu features hearty pub classics, vegetarian and gluten free options and lots of reasonably priced kid options.
Equinox Brewing Company, 133 Remington Street
Sidle up to a specialty flight at this Old Town brewery that has a laid-back vibe. On hot summer days, this shady patio is the perfect spot to sip whatever strikes your fancy. With 18 taps from which to choose at Equinox, your hardest decision will be narrowing it to six. Food trucks visit the taproom often. Plus, shuffleboard!
Ace Café, 239 S. College Avenue
The new Ace Café, located in the lobby of the Armstrong Hotel, showcases stellar craft cocktails and shared plates. Every Saturday and Sunday, enjoy brunch (whatever you do, don’t skip the “Wafnut,” hybrid waffle/doughnut) and bottomless mimosas. Lounge on the patio seven days a week to enjoy your cocktails, flatbread pizzas, and more al fresco, surrounded by Colorado’s warm fall nights.
Penrose Taphouse & Eatery, 216 N. College Avenue
Penrose Taphouse & Eatery is the newest addition to The Exchange in Old Town Fort Collins. The restaurant boasts not one but two outdoor patios. Nosh on a “Chimichanga Bomb,” mac and cheese topped with pork belly, jalapeno or even lobster, inventive sandwiches, eight types of burgers, salads and more. Take part in their “Beer it Forward” program by buying a drink for a friend, stranger, teacher or anyone really; their name goes on a board and that person can cash in their drink with an ID. Being kind is always cool.
The Mishawaka, 13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Bellvue
While this iconic outdoor amphitheater isn’t technically in Fort Collins, it is entirely worth the trek. Mishawaka is the only patio around located in a stunning canyon. Watch the winding Poudre River just steps away as you relax and enjoy the views. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for dine-in via reservation or takeout. They also serve sealed alcoholic beverages to-go, with the purchase of food.
Back Door Grill, 130 W. Laurel St.
Back Door Grill opened in March near the Colorado State University campus. This burger and beer joint hails from Steamboat Springs, where it’s been serving up hand cut french fries and onion rings (made fresh every morning) and uses only all-natural Colorado beef for their burgers.
Ginger and Baker, 359 Linden Street
Located in a 100-plus-year-old historic mill in Fort Collins' revamped and refreshed River District, Ginger and Baker has a rooftop patio worth writing home about. Enjoy cocktails with a view on Ginger and Baker's aptly named 'The Rooftop' patio area. There's also a special bar menu featuring unique small plates, and you can also order something from The Cache in case something isn't catching your fancy.
CLOSE TO CAMPUS
Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason Street
A treehouse isn’t the only thing that sets apart Avogadro’s sweeping, flower-filled back patio. It’s also open year round, so you can take advantage of the warmest winter days, too. Plus the large stage is often filled with talented musicians during the summer months. Like beer, live music is just better served up patio side.
Little On Mountain, 1046 W. Mountain Avenue
Little On Mountain offers breakfast, supper and take-away family meals; all made fresh using ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. The menu is small but mighty delicious. Dine on dishes like peaches with burrata; kale with chili lime vinaigrette and almonds; and trout with corn and brown butter, all from your patio perch.
DC Oakes Brewhouse & Eatery, 3581 E. Harmony Road, #110
DC Oakes Brewhouse & Eatery is the first southeast Fort Collins brewery and features three outdoor patios from which to choose. Enjoy beer brewed in house as well as suds from plenty of guest taps. Named after a historic Colorado logger and businessman, the eatery’s menu features updated American comfort classics.
otto PINT Pizzeria, 1100 Oakridge Drive
Set inside an old gas station, otto PINT serves up signature pizzas with inventive ingredients (the sauce options alone tell the story: honey Sriracha, chevre cream, basil pesto and more). On warm days, the eatery’s walls open so the whole restaurant feels like a great patio. Plenty of picnic tables, cornhole, a grassy area where the kiddos can squeal and skip, these details and more add up to make otto PINT a great spot to grab a bite and relax in the sun.
Local artists have been busy beautifying Fort Collins patios. See the colorful murals on concrete barriers surrounding outdoor dining areas throughout downtown. View them in front of the following Fort Collins establishments:
• Bistro Nautile, 150 W. Oak Street
• Beau Jo’s, 205 N. College Avenue
• Pour Brother’s Community Tavern, 220 Linden Street
• Blind Pig Pub, 214 Linden Street
• The Reserve by Old Elk Distillery, 253 Linden Street
• Sushi Plus 1, 223 Linden Street
• Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro, 216 Pine Street
• Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 143 W. Mountain Avenue