The Right Seating Makes a Difference! 

Restaurants had to adapt to a lot of changing rules during 2020, and that resulted in many of them completely rethinking how they sat customers. Outdoor seating went from a rare occurrence to a common sight, and that came with plenty of interesting seating solutions. Given how moody Colorado's later months can be, many restaurants had to put in some extra care to make sure that they weren't accidentally offering blizzard seating to unsuspecting guests.

To that end, this is our definitive list of outdoor seating solutions, ranked from worst to best!

The Parking Lot in the Middle of Nowhere

We've all experienced this one: awkward outdoor dining where your waiter just seems to lead you to some faraway parking lot and abandon you like a neglected puppy. Whatever bonus points this gains for being socially distanced, it loses for being regularly distanced as well. 

The Parking Lot in the Middle of Nowhere–With a Heat Lamp!

This is similar to the previous one, and it has all the drawbacks of feeling like you've been left to fend for yourself against the uncaring concrete wilds. At least this one has a heat lamp to remind you that civilization is out there, even if it feels like you're not currently there. 

The "Highway" Table

This table is effectively the opposite of the first two on this list, in that it's a little too close to civilization. This kind of table is usually placed in the inexplicable center of a busy walkway with people brushing past it while you try to eat your meal. 

The Sidewalk Picnic Table

Perfect for channeling a little summer afternoon ambiance, the appeal of sitting at a picnic table depends entirely on what time of the year it is. During the summer, it can make for a pleasant time, but winter is another story. No matter how good your food is, sitting on a bench of Colorado spring slush is a quick way to ruin a meal. 

The Tent

There's plenty of dining where the food's taste is improved by the faint memories of sitting in carnival fairgrounds. Depending on the weather and tent quality, this dining experience can range from comfy and boutique to camp mess hall, so it's also a gamble. That said, having actual coverings over your head makes it a significant improvement from the other entries so far. 

The Repurposed Automobile

This one doesn't have to be an actual automobile, but rather some sort of object or vehicle that's been converted into an enclosed dining kiosk. In mountain towns, this might be a ski gondola whereas some southwestern restaurants use enclosed wagons. It's worth noting that sitting in a repurposed automobile is miles better than sitting in an actual automobile, which can be a pretty depressing way to eat take out. Just like a regular automobile, however, many of these spaces weren't designed for eating, and your lower back will start to feel it during longer meals. 

The Private Greenhouse

outdoor dining daughter thai
Courtesy of Daughter Thai

There's no question that this one rocks. Fancy, restaurant-esque table seating? Check? Outdoor ambiance? Check. Perfect temperature? Also, check. Few things make a fancy dinner into a magical one more than feeling like you're in your own little world. Bonus points if there's candlelight. You know exactly what we're talking about; that kind of enclosed glass space that seems to teleport you to some fantastical flavortown vista. There's honestly no substitute!

What type of outdoor eating space do you prefer these days? Share in the comments.