Seven Great Rooftops - Getting your craft on in the rarest of airs

By Torie Jochims

Summertime in Colorado is exceptionally good for two things: great craft beer and spending time outdoors. As a group, many of us clever, spoiled Coloradans have come to demand both whenever possible. So, to help you make the most of both the warmer temps and delicious craft brews of which there are plenty this time of year, we’ve compiled seven of the best rooftop bars in the state to help you make the most of your summer.


K.J. Woods Distillery
929 Main St. Ouray

Yes, K.J. Woods Distillery is famous for their gin (Jinn), and every good rooftop bar list needs a distillery included. K.J. Woods’ newest combo distillery/gastro-pub in Ouray offers that “sitting at the actual foot of a mountain” look with its upper level wraparound deck. When summer rolls around, you can take a walk around the deck and take in another breathtaking view of Ouray with some fine Colorado spirits from their tasting room. 


Ouray Brewing Company
607 Main St. Ouray

Tucked in a box canyon in the San Juan mountains, the town of Ouray has some pretty sweet mountain views from any point in the place, but few spots can top the stand-in-awe-with-a-pint-in-hand combo of the deck at Ouray Brewing Company. Hosting a whole lineup of their own brews as well as a number of other Colorado drafts and bottles, you can keep ‘em coming well past happy hour and watch the sun set over the Alp-siest mountains around. It’s just like living in a craft brew-themed postcard. 


Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

Tap 14
1920 Blake St. Denver

 

Sometimes, what you really want to complement your great view is an even greater selection. That’s where Tap 14 comes in. Another Denver favorite, Tap 14 serves 70 Colorado craft beers on tap and has more than 100 Colorado spirits as well. Just ½ a block from Coors Field makes this rooftop bar your new Rockies’ game go-to. 


Illegal Pete’s
320 Walnut St. Fort Collins

A Colorado music and Mexican food staple, Illegal Pete’s has locations all over the state, but the one boasting the best rooftop bar is the Fort Collins location. Grub on some famously delicious burritos, chips and guac while throwing back pints of Colorado craft favorites like Oksar Blues, Breckenridge, New Belgium, Great Divide, Upslope, Odell, Wynkoop, Tommyknocker, Avery, Black Bottle and more. You’ll find a lot of local FoCo brewery love at the Old Town location, but they aren’t afraid to spread the wealth, either. 


Ale House at Amato’s  
2501 16th St. Denver

The best rooftop bars offer one of two view types: breathtaking mountain scenery or a stunning city skyline. Ale House serves up the latter nestled in Denver’s Highland neighborhood alongside an impressive 31 Colorado brews on tap from 17 Colorado breweries. One of the Ale House’s best features lies in its expansive offering of not one, but two excellent decks. The rooftop deck features a cozy, beautiful fireplace for when those Rocky Mountain evening temperatures roll in before you’re ready to call it quits. 


Evergreen Tap House
2962 Evergreen Pkwy. Evergreen

When you want a mountain getaway but can’t quite swing the longer treks to Ouray or Colorado Springs, the Evergreen Tap House has your back with gorgeous lake and mountain views within a day-trip’s distance. They’ve got 12 Colorado brews on tap, including lesser known gems like Pug Ryan’s Wheat, as well as 7 of their own house-made brews to round out the lineup.


Phantom Canyon
2 East Pikes Peak Ave. Colorado Springs

When a brewery boasts “a tap selection as expansive as the canyon itself,” you know you’re in for a real treat, and Phantom Canyon in Colorado Springs offers just that. Their patio offers great views of the city and mountains, intermingling to create that quintessential Colorado backdrop. Pair the views with their award winning brews and food and you’ve got yourself a great place to spend an afternoon/evening/weekend post-Garden of the Gods hike. One of Phantom Canyon’s biggest strengths? They have your basic range from sessions to imperials, but the brewers here are no stranger to experimentation, resulting in beautifully unique pours like The 300 Dollar Elvis, a peanut butter and banana stout. Creativity and beer, a beautiful combo. 


No matter what part of the state you’re adventuring in this summer, there are rooftop bars and perfectly placed patios to melt happy hours into nightcaps. Now that’s Colorado living. 

Torie Jochims is an over-caffeinated wordsmith who is passionate about people, hiking, mountain climbing, running, makeup, craft beer and good desserts.