Outdoor dining and drinking are always part of the aprÃ¨s-ski scene, but â€œdeck seasonâ€ really takes over as ski season winds down in the spring. Through the summer, restaurant outdoor patio options abound for locals and visitors to enjoy the mountain scenery near the five Vail Resorts ski areas. The 10 great spots below are just a start.
10. Beaver Creek Chophouse – Beaver Creek: Located right at the ski-area base, the Beaver Creek Chophouse has the chops (and steaks) to make any top 10 list of restaurants with an al fresco area. The Chophouse burger and Dom Perignon combo goes for $275â€¦ or $15 without the champagne. The restaurant also has a location with outdoor dining in Vail.
9. Burke and Rileyâ€™s Irish Pub – Breckenridge: Found on Main Street in the historic district, Burke and Rileyâ€™s has a fire pit on the patio in case the Colorado evening gets a bit chilly.
8. Peak 8 – Breckenridge: The Peak 8 base area is undergoing a major facelift and should be in full operation by June 18. The outdoor deck there will likely be the summerâ€™s newest hot spot.
7. The Summit House – Keystone: The ski resort started Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) this winter at its on-mountain restaurant. The idea was such a success that a FAC summer version is planned to start on Memorial Day weekend. Every Friday after 4 p.m., visitors can ride the gondola for free to take in live music, drink and food specials at the top.
6. CafÃ© Fiore – South Lake Tahoe: This tiny Italian spot near the base of Heavenly Resort sets up tables outside in the summer. The extra space increases the odds for diners hoping to secure a reservation at this desirable destination.
5. The Island Grill at Frisco Bay – Frisco: A short drive from the Summit County resorts of Keystone and Breckenridge, this summer-only spot is found at the Frisco Bay Marina on Lake Dillon. With views of the lake and surrounding mountains, the upper deck is an excellent place to wile away a summer day.
4. Pugâ€™s Tiki Bar – Dillon: Ski-town locals often say they â€œcame for the winters, but stay for the summers.â€ Another summer-only experience on the shores of Lake Dillon gives a hint as to the reason.
3. Los Amigos – Vail: While winter patio diners amuse themselves by watching skiers â€œslide for lifeâ€ on Pepiâ€™s Face (the last pitch coming down to Vail Village), the slopeside Mexican restaurant keeps the famous margaritas coming year-round.
2. Kenosha Steakhouse – Breckenridge: The huge deck at this Main Street restaurant features views of the Ten Mile Range. Along with steaks, of course, the menu features a wide selection of barbecue.
1. Garfinkelâ€™s – Vail: An aprÃ¨s-ski institution, Garfinkelâ€™s serves as a year-round, outdoor gathering place in the Lionshead section of Vail. In trying to picture the quintessential mountain-town outdoor deck, Garfâ€™s fits the bill.