When it comes to savoring Durango's stunning outdoor scenery, nothing beats the experience of dining or sipping on a refreshing beverage on the patio during the summertime. We selected a list that is the best outdoor bars located outside of downtown during the peak time of tourist season. Some are a little further out of town but the views are worth the few extra miles. These establishments perfectly blend the allure of nature with the comfort of exceptional food and drink. They may not be the first on the tourist list but will easily become one of your favorites, each for a unique reason.
Nestled amidst the James Ranch just right outside of Durango, this farm-to-table restaurant delivers unparalleled views of the Animas Valley. The outdoor seating area allows patrons to appreciate the pastoral beauty while relishing their meals created from locally sourced, organic ingredients.
The moment you step foot on the property, you're enveloped by the sights and sounds of a functioning, family-run, regenerative ranch. Breathtaking views of the Animas Valley stretch as far as the eye can see, with rolling green pastures and azure skies making for an unforgettable backdrop to your meal. The Grill offers an outdoor seating area that allows diners to fully appreciate the scenic beauty of the ranch and its surroundings. Whether you're seated under the dappled shade of a tree or basking in the Colorado sunshine, you're sure to enjoy a feast for both the palate and the eyes. The James Ranch Grill is committed to sustainable practices and prides itself on sourcing locally-grown, organic ingredients. Each dish is prepared with utmost care, reflecting the bounty of the region on your plate. The restaurant's menu varies seasonally, allowing the chefs to highlight the freshest ingredients that reflect the region's agricultural cycle. This could range from grass-fed beef raised on the ranch, artisan cheese made from the milk of their Jersey cows, or organically-grown vegetables and herbs straight from their gardens.
In short, a trip to James Ranch Grill promises a unique dining experience that combines exquisite food, splendid views, and a deeper understanding of the farm-to-table philosophy. It's more than just a meal, it's an experience that will linger in your memory long after you've left.
Summer Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 11am-8:30pm (Closed Mondays)
Pro Tip: No reservations so get there early!
As you step into this rustic haven, you're welcomed by a cozy, inviting atmosphere that immediately sets a tone of warmth and camaraderie. The rich aroma of grill-cooked food fills the air, promising an exquisite culinary adventure featuring hearty, satisfying dishes that pay homage to traditional American fare while also offering a few delightful surprises.
But what sets the Nugget Mountain Bar and Grill apart is not just its delicious food or the warm, wooden interior that exudes rustic charm—it's the establishment's seamless integration with the outdoor splendor of Colorado.
The spacious outdoor seating area is a true highlight, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains that change their color palette with each passing hour, from the golden glow of sunrise to the pink hues of sunset. Here, diners can revel in the grandeur of nature while indulging in a plateful of delectable fare, perhaps even accompanied by a glass of craft beer from the bar's impressive selection.
What's more, Nugget Mountain Bar and Grill is deeply committed to being a part of its community, often hosting live music events that bring together locals and visitors alike. So whether you're an outdoor enthusiast looking to cap off a day of adventure, a food lover seeking new flavors, or someone who appreciates the simple joy of a good meal in a beautiful setting, a visit to the Nugget Mountain Bar and Grill is bound to be a high point of your Colorado journey. For more information and to explore their menu, visit Nugget Mountain Bar and Grill.
Summer Hours: Open 7 days a week 11 AM to 11 PM (Closing on Sunday at 10 PM)
Pro Tip: Make it a fun trip by booking a cabin next to the restaurant!
Union Social House in Durango, Colorado, is the perfect place to relax and enjoy scrumptious food in a warm, social atmosphere. Here, you can savor an array of handcrafted cocktails and a versatile menu that caters to a variety of tastes. Whether you're catching up with friends over a shared plate of their signature appetizers or enjoying a romantic dinner date under the ambient lights, this is an experience not to be missed. Live music, friendly staff, and a bustling yet cozy ambiance make Union Social House the place to be in Durango. Visit their website at Union Social House for more details.
Union Social House's outdoor seating is the perfect blend of comfort, ambiance, and Durango's natural beauty. The ample, airy space provides a relaxed and inviting atmosphere where guests can bask in Colorado's glorious sunshine or enjoy a cool evening under the stars. Set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes, this outdoor area is not just about dining but experiencing the very essence of Durango's outdoorsy culture.
Whether it's for a refreshing lunch break or an enchanting evening filled with laughter and stories, Union Social House's outdoor seating area provides the ideal setting to enjoy good food, great company, and the spectacular outdoors Durango has to offer.
Summer Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 4pm-10pm (Closed Sundays & Mondays)
Pro Tip: Kid friendly environment
The vibrant culinary scene in Durango, Colorado, took a delightful turn in 2020 when Zia Taqueria, one of the town's beloved dining institutions, opened the doors to a brand-new location on the north side of town. Renowned for their delicious, fresh, and authentically crafted Mexican fare, Zia Taqueria has been a staple in the Durango food scene for years, and this new venture promises to carry on its legacy in a beautiful, newly constructed setting.
Built with the aim to enhance customer experience and bring the community together, the new Zia Taqueria North boasts a larger space that combines modern aesthetics with rustic charm. It beautifully encapsulates the laid-back, friendly vibe that Durango is known for, making it an inviting location to share a meal with friends or family.
An open and bright space welcomes guests, who can savor the smell of handmade tortillas grilling and the sight of fresh ingredients being artfully prepared in the bustling kitchen. Whether you're dining indoors, surrounded by vibrant colors and warm lighting, or enjoying the outdoor patio with views of the majestic Colorado landscape, the ambiance is undeniably enticing.
But what truly stands out at Zia Taqueria, and what has made it a Durango favorite, is the food. Their menu reflects a deep commitment to fresh, high-quality ingredients, often sourced locally. From savory tacos and hearty burritos to zesty salads and soul-soothing soups, every dish is prepared with a unique blend of traditional Mexican flavors and contemporary culinary techniques.
Summer Hours: 7 Days a Week: 11AM - 8PM
This one is an absolute favorite of both locals and visitors to Durango. Located on the corner of Main Avenue and 11th Street, this culinary collective is set against the backdrop of a historic service station. The outdoor space is nothing short of magical. It has been thoughtfully designed to create a perfect blend of nostalgic charm and modern comfort, where you can enjoy Colorado's generous sunshine or a starlit night sky.
The eclectic mix of food trucks at 11th Street Station offer a unique alfresco dining experience. With plenty of seating spread across the spacious patio, you'll find both intimate corners for a quiet meal and larger tables perfect for a get-together with friends or family. The outdoor area is adorned with string lights, creating a whimsical atmosphere as day turns into night.
What sets 11th Street Station apart is its lively ambiance. With live music often filling the air and local events hosted frequently, there's always a buzz of activity that brings life to your dining experience. There's also a combination of fixed and rotating outdoor food trucks that appeal to an array of dishes. The best part? There's a food truck for everyone. The 11th Street Station does a fantastic job of hosting food trucks that will fit the pallet of
Summer Hours: 7 Days a Week: 11AM - 11PM (Closes at 12 AM on the weekends)