From left, Emily Sample, top left, Dianne Sample and Lucy Sample enjoy the view on the rooftop patio of Bacaro on Pearl Street.

  • Clockwise from left, Aubree Thomson, Tom Pilla, Alyson Cumella, Walter Cummings, and Matt Vendetti, celebrate Pilla's birthday on the Rio Grande rooftop patio.



Let’s face it. Sitting outside, sun on your face and a breeze through your hair is great. But add a burger or beer or beloved cocktail (if you’re old enough) to that equation, and you have perfection.

Also, add our views here in Boulder, from our rooftop restaurants and bars. That view of the Flatirons kicks that lawn chair plus PBR in your front lawn’s ass.

So let’s get into where to find these downtown oases.


West End Tavern

926 Pearl St.


Known for its beer taps, bourbons and colorful “Wing King” challenge, the West End’s a good choice for any Saturday night (or hell, Tuesday afternoon, why not?). But it’s when they open up their rooftop that all becomes right with the world. Don’t worry, you students from warmer climes, their patio heaters keep this balcony toasty year-round.

From month to month, new specials or week-long deals keep things fresh with each visit. Take, for instance, their game-day options during football season or the snow-day deals to inspire you to brave the cold, dreary streets. Or just go for the sweet potato chips every time, no one could judge you for that.


Bacaro Venetian Taverna

921 Pearl St.


Hey now, don’t quit reading. It sounds fancy — and it is quite a step up from, for example, the Walrus. But Friday and Saturday, Bacaro opens the doors to late-night shenanigans. And, well, any rooftop is a good rooftop.

Covered and heated for the colder months, the rooftop is an all-year option for live music to dance your Buff off each weekend. They’ve also got offers like trivia, all-day happy hour on Tuesdays and holiday-themed specials as they come across our calendars. Plus, let’s admit how convenient it all is, right along Pearl.

Bacaro’s certainly worth a stop, unless great drinks — like a Zim Zala Bam tequila mix and Red Headed Bumblebee — and music aren’t your thing.


Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill

1346 Pearl St.


It boasts the largest rooftop in Boulder. Also some pretty fantastic weekly drink deals. Another Pearl Street stop, Lazy Dog Sports Bar draws all kinds — especially you sports nuts out there who actually understand the rules and don’t have to ask, “So, what color is the team we’re cheering for?”

Of course, being uncovered, it’s a bit more of a slave to weather (and as we know, Colorado’s a bit hormonal with its weather patterns), but that won’t stop you from having a great time gazing out at downtown Boulder and shouting over the game.

On Friday and Saturday nights, it’ll have live music without a cover, and a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. on Fridays. That’s sure to get that night started right.


The Rio Grande

1101 Walnut St.


Perhaps one of the most well known of the rooftops, and for good reason. The Rio’s rooftop, while also uncovered and therefore victim to chilly breezes come nightfall, has the atmosphere anyone will enjoy. With strings of colored lights and heat lamps come winter, it’s beautiful to sit and sip and snack.

You have to head over early, though, with limited seating, but the positive side is you can bring that under-21 friend — wristbands weed out the drinkers. Plus, catch it at the right time and that view of sunset over the Flatirons will get you drunk all on its own.


Absinthe House

1109 Walnut St.


Note the proximity. Absinthe is The Rio’s louder, more boisterous neighbor. More than just the crowded dance hall and long lines it’s known for, Absinthe has a rooftop perfect for dancing and drinking until the party really gets going downstairs. With a DJ in your midst and the view all around you, it’s hard not to enjoy a little pre-gaming with friends before the warehouse night kicks in on Saturdays.


Contact writer Alexandra Sieh at bouldernightlife@coloradodaily.com. On Twitter: @ansieh.

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