Come to the (Outdoor) Table in Castle Rock, CO

The city is full of great gathering places and watering holes for outdoor lifestyles.

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Castle Rock CO
Jeff Adkins

Castle Rock is a take-out kind of town. As in, folks love to take their food and drinks outside, where they are greeted by more than 300 days of sunshine each year. 

As a result, bar and restaurant patios are plentiful throughout the city, providing locals with an ideal way to enjoy both the weather and the vibrant social atmosphere.“If you own a place in this town and you don’t have a patio, you’re missing out,” says Steve Evans, owner of Astro Tap House, which offers 35 self-serve beer taps along with outdoor seating that provides prime sunset viewing. “There can be a foot of snow on the ground, and people still want to get outside.”

On those occasions when the winter weather turns particularly frightful, Castle Rocks’ watering holes don’t freeze over. Instead, cozy indoor fireplaces and toasty outdoor fire pits – along with a heavy coat and a good sweater or two – keep the gatherings going.

“We’re very accustomed to changing weather, and we know how to dress in layers,” says Andrew Wasson, co-owner and managing partner of Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co. “So, we’re prepared for whatever the weather brings. People like to get out and have fun here year round.”

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Jeff Adkins

A Dynamic Environment

Spread out over a third of an acre, Wild Blue Yonder boasts the largest beer garden in Castle Rock. In addition, the brewpub recently renovated a carriage house on the property that was built in 1887, making it one of the oldest operating structures in the city. This expansion provides seating for nearly 50 additional people, and also can be rented for private events.

“You’re seeing this incredible mix of old and new in Castle Rock. There’s this new character coming in that mixes with the old and creates a dynamic environment. It opens up the demographics and brings a more active, vibrant lifestyle.”

Andrew Wasson, Co-Owner, Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co.

James Lewis has experienced this type of atmosphere firsthand since opening Crush Wine Bar with his wife, Nancie, in 2017. Crush offers nearly 60 types of wine by the glass and two dozen more by the bottle, all of which can be enjoyed on the patio, at the bar or in comfy chairs around the fireplace.

“We very specifically designed a place with different options for comfortable seating because we want this to be a neighborhood gathering spot,” Lewis says. “Castle Rock is an incredibly active community. People want to spend as much time outside as possible. And when you have a nice day in the spring when it starts to get warmer, every patio in town fills up pretty quickly.”

At Astro Tap, Evans says he often sees a surge in customers around midafternoon on the weekends. That’s because there are several biking and walking trails in the area, and many outdoor enthusiasts like to end their excursions by relaxing over a beer.

“We want this to be a good place to just come hang out and watch the game or enjoy some music,” Evans says. “It’s pretty easygoing with a good vibe. We have a lot of places like that in Castle Rock.”

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Dog-Friendly Dining

The dog days extend well beyond the summer months in Castle Rock. That’s because our four-legged friends are welcome throughout the year at nearly every restaurant and bar in town that has outside seating.

You can enjoy a golden ale while relaxing with your golden retriever, or chow down on a burger alongside your boxer. Happy hour becomes yappy hour, as people gather with family, friends and Fido alike.

It is all part of the outdoor mentality that permeates Castle Rock. Locals love to get out and enjoy nature and the weather, and many want to do so with their canine companion by their side.

“We’re a very active community, and dogs kind of add to that outdoor, active lifestyle,” Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray says. “That’s something the town of Castle Rock really promotes.”

That’s why bowls of water are available on most patios, and tables are spaced far enough apart to accommodate pups, too. After all, for many residents, a night (or afternoon) on the town wouldn’t be complete without including their precious pooch.

“Dogs are part of the family now. People take them everywhere,” says Steve Evans, owner of Astro Tap House. “It’s really a community thing. Even though we’re growing as fast as we are, we’re still maintaining that small-town feel. So people get to go places with both their kids and their pets. It definitely makes for a friendlier atmosphere.”

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Jeff Adkins

Other Great Spots to Try

Union Bistro is cozy, upbeat venue has a bar and lounge, a newly covered and heated patio, a fire pit and a dining room with a community table.

Live music, karaoke, trivia, weekend brunch and a large shaded patio are among the offerings at Hideaway Bar & Grill, a casual gathering spot.

Located in a 100-year-old building, the B&B Café has been serving up down-home food since 1946, making it a regular meeting and eating place for generations of town residents.

In addition to live music and dancing, Colorado Cork & Keg offers several regular events, including poker tournaments, a pool league, beer pong and music video bingo. A rotating selection of beer and cider can be enjoyed on the outdoor covered patio.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cary Estes is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Ala. He has written for numerous publications and websites, including Delta Sky magazine, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press... more

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Tue, 02/04/2020 - 17:51