Deckside dining in the Vail Valley |

Deckside dining in the Vail Valley

AE FAC3 PU 6-1-07

Life from the porch just seems less complicated. Maybe its the cold cocktail in hand, perhaps its the bright sun warming your back, or possibly a melodic soundtrack a creek, river or even a live bluegrass band. Whatever your reason for choosing to dine or drink deckside, this valley boasts a myriad of options. No matter how long youve lived or played here, its likely theres at least one deck on our list where youve never lingered.

Dont be surprised if you see the bartender venture out the back door after you order your drink thats where they keep the mint for the mojitos. A large, green patch of three mint varieties grows in a garden on the back deck, so its no wonder they dont skimp on the fragrant herb. The quaint deck, with brick walls and lights strung overhead, seems more Italy than Eagle.We get a lot of cyclists riding their bikes down for lunch from Edwards or up from Gypsum.On Saturday nights Yedis Grind, right down the street, has live music. Stop by Broadway for a $5 martini and a steaming bowl of mussels soaking in a garlic saffron-cream sauce ($7.95).Right now the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. By July 4 Woodward guesses theyll be open Sunday as well. For more information call 328-7339.

Overlooking the 18th green at the Tom Fazio golf course, SummerThymes patio is charming. On Thursday nights during June, July and August, national and local bluegrass bands like The Laughing Bones and Drew Emmitt Band are set to play. Besides live music shows, there are views of Bellyache Ridge, Beaver Creek Mountain and brilliant sunsets.Slow-cooked, hickory-smoked meats (pulled pork, beef brisquet, and pork ribs) and whole smoked cornish game hens will headline the menu, executive chef Owen Moore said. Homestyle macaroni and cheese, potato salad and apple cider coleslaw will be served up on the side.Dont count on reserving deck space its first come, first served, Moore said. Last summer we averaged 200 people, which is nearly capacity, for each event, he said. For more information call 477-8431.

The mile-long stretch of cars parked on the side of the road leading up to Wolcott Yacht Club is a testament to the popularity of the venues Friday Afternoon Club. With buckets of Coronitas, tasty margaritas and fish tacos aplenty, river rats, motorcycle studs and young professionals pile onto the deck to enjoy live music on Fridays. Dont skip Sunday brunch at the Yacht Club either their bloody marys always manage to heal the previous nights wounds.For more information call 926-3444.

So youre looking for a new hobby sport, but kayaking freaks you out, golf is to expensive and no one considers golf-ball hunting a serious sport. How about Bocce ball? Frites, Edwards French bistro, has two regulation-size bocce courts on their spacious patio. With the Eagle River coursing nearby, and a menu full of summertime drinks like melon margaritas and possibly sangria, the deck is a hot spot, said Matthew Lewis, the general manager of the restaurant, and can seat from 50-75 people.Frites is known for their mussels one variety is skillet roasted with white wine and black pepper, the other is served in a saffron cream sauce with bits of house-cured bacon. Dont miss the tuna carpaccio: They serve the sushi-grade tuna Asian style, with homemade wontons and Asian ponzu and wasabi cream dipping sauces.Its a nice appetizer for a hot day, Lewis said.For more information call 926-2151.

St. Patricks day at Avons Irish bar, Finnegans Wake, was the beginning of the end for the establishments old deck. Part of it started to give way, general manager Randall Knipmeyer said. But not to worry: Come mid-June, Finnegans new, 2,000 -square-foot deck will open. The deck, which according to Knipmeyer will be one of the biggest in the valley, has an outdoor stage that will host live bands throughout the summer, features a fire pit and an outdoor bar called Maggieritavilles. The bar will serve a slew of frozen drinks including margaritas, daquiris, pina coladas and something called potcheen punch. Potcheen is Irelands version of moonshine, Knipmeyer said. Our punch is a frozen concoction that will curl your toes. Some of the frozen drinks we have are so good theyll make your tongue slap your brain out.For more information call 748-4610.

The best part about the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse deck is the adventure that precedes it you have to drive to Ski Cooper before hiking (or biking) a mile through the silent forest to get to it. The remoteness might not be a positive attribute in some peoples minds, but all the better for people who like to get the blood flowing before relaxing deckside. Mt. Elbert, Massive, Galena and Homestake provide a panoramic backdrop for the orange and pink-streaked sunset. Dinner is served Thursday-Sunday in the rustic yurt and reservations can be made for summer lunches. Try the grilled Colorado rack of lamb or the elk tenderloin with blueberry, sage and port wine reduction. For more information call 719-486-8114 or visit Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or

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