Outdoor seating is one of the best parts of summertime dining even when the world isn’t in a global pandemic, but now that we are, outdoor seating is practically a godsend. Tables are more readily available outdoors, plus they offer some peace of mind when it comes to safe restaurant outings.
Be sure to check with restaurants directly for the most up-to-date COVID-19 and social distancing policies. I recommend calling restaurants: some spots are reserving patio seating to first-come-first-serve diners, while others have tightly-booked reservation schedules.
If your favorite isn’t listed or your top choice is full, many restaurants in Vail Village, Avon, Beaver Creek and Edwards offer outdoor seating. The ones listed here are some of the Vail Valley’s classic favorites, opinions shared by locals and visitors alike. Some restaurants have even added patios where they didn’t previously have one. Call ahead to be sure. Takeout, delivery and curbside pickup are still being offered at most places, and you could easily bring dinner home or take it to Ford Park for an evening picnic.
Beaver Creek Chophouse
Location: Beaver Creek, Avon
Vibe: Classic Steakhouse
The patio directly faces the Centennial Express lift, and location can’t get much better than that.
Vibe: Modern European
Make your outdoor dining experience extra special with Blue Plate’s gondola car seating, decked out with sunflowers and a full chef’s tasting menu. There are only two cars, so reserve early.
Vibe: Modern Bavarian
The small German beer hall has plenty of outdoor tables and a wide selection of imported brews. Order a pint and pair with a soft pretzel.
Vibe: Modern Mexican
One of Vail’s newest restaurants overlooks Gore Creek, and it’s great for apps and drinks or a full meal. Enjoy the creek sounds with my personal favorite: the Kiss from a Rosé white sangria.
Hovey & Harrison
Vibe: Bougie (in a good way) Bakery
Hovey & Harrison is most known for its bread, but it has a full coffee and lunch menu, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free options. Best for a treat-yourself but still healthy lunch.
Vibe: Classic American
Garf’s, as it’s affectionately known by locals, is a great spot for drinks with friends or a casual dinner with family. The deck is pretty large and overlooks the Born Free gondola in Lionshead.
Vibe: Upscale Italian
The patio at La Bottega overlooks East Meadow Drive for some of the best people watching in all of the Vail Valley. Grab a plate of pasta and a Pinot Noir while you’re at it.
Vibe: Classic bar, but updated
Grabbing a few drniks with friends couldn’t be more convenient at Loaded Joe’s deck. Prices are reasonable and your view is one of the best: the slopes at Beaver Creek.
Vibe: Upscale Mexican
The deck here at the Westin Riverfront hotel is huge, with plenty of space to spread out over margaritas. Maya also has an extensive tequila list, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Vibe: Classic local’s spot
Minturn Saloon, while beloved by locals for its Halloween Party each year, also offers a spacious deck overlooking the Eagle River. Plus, its setting in the quirky small town that’s given the pub its name means its farther away from traffic noise and pedestrian congestion.
Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar
Vibe: Classic Bavarian
Pepi’s, the word “deck” and those orange umbrellas are one and the same during summertime. Pair with authentic German, Swiss and Austrian cuisine for one of Vail’s oldest, tried-and-true dining experiences.
Vibe: Upscale American
Located at the Manor Vail Lodge, slightly out of the thick of Vail Village, The Fitz is a great spot for modern and seasonal American cuisine.
The Red Lion
Vibe: Casual American
Grab a few drinks and if you time your visit right, you’ll get to hear live music from Dave Tucker, one of the Vail Valley’s favorite après musicians. Another Vail classic.
Vail Brewing Co. and Rocky Mountain Taco
Vibe: Casual drinks and bites
This location won the Vail Daily’s Best of Patio 2019 reader poll, and with the pandemic, the only seating option is outside. Combine beers and tacos to your heart’s content. Best paired with a warm evening and a gorgeous sunset.
Rocky Mountain Taco: 970-401-4443
Vibe: Casual drinks and bites
Pizza and beer is a match made in heaven, and these are two things that Vendetta’s is known for in the Vail Valley. Grab a few beers or a whole pitcher; a slice or the whole pie. The adventure is up to you.
Vibe: Modern Italian
The Vin48 patio brings the sultry atmosphere of the restaurant outdoors – another great spot for apps and drinks or a full meal.