Rooftop real estate is a precious commodity in Denver’s warmer months. This season, Ignite adds some square footage to the rooftop scene with its calm, carefully controlled upstairs bar — but the open-air seats are already in high demand.
Ignite styles itself as a hangout for all seasons: A hip “urban gastropub” on the inside, with a breezy summertime deck up top. When the sun is shining on this renewed stretch of Larimer Street, the yellow umbrellas on Ignite’s roof go up. Al fresco drinkers can’t resist that kind of temptation.
The rooftop patio is its own environment. It’s cool and dim downstairs; upstairs, it’s all sunshine and beachy good times. The aerie has its own bar and service staff, plus a couple of flatscreen
TVs in case the view isn’t stimulating enough — the southwestern exposure offers a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood, including the lights of Coors Field, downtown and a decent glimpse of some snow-capped peaks. (Scattered high-rises block the full Rocky Mountain glory.)
Ignite’s rooftop scene is on par with the upper decks at nearby hangouts like LoDo’s and the Tavern Uptown. The difference, though, is size: Ignite is considerably smaller. The building is a modest two-story affair, not low-slung and sprawling, so the roof is just not as spacious. Ignite does a good job with what it has, though, including plenty of four-tops, some shaded high-boys and seating at the bar.
The smaller size presents another challenge: What to do with all the sun-seekers in a famously party-hearty neighborhood? On a recent, gorgeous Saturday, Ignite was limiting the amount of customers on its roof, keeping it to seated patrons only. A man with a headset guarded the stairway beside a chalk sign reading, “Sorry! Roof is full.” New customers were only allowed to fill vacated seats — no one was standing around.
Crowd control kept the roof’s vibe relaxed and easy, but also disappointed a lot of eager springtime merrymakers. Still, there’s loads of room downstairs, where large windows let the breeze into an airy dining-and-drinking space done in serene tones of gray and blond wood.
Ignite’s rooftop is heating up, but the real test is yet to come: The Rockies’ home opener is on Monday. They’ve got a plan for those seats on the roof. If you want to sit up there, you’ll need one, too.
Ignite’s roof is only partially shaded. If you can’t deal with full sun, the streetside patio is pleasantly shady and, when windows are open, has seats that belly right up to the inside bar.
IGNITE. The Ballpark neighborhood gastropub and rooftop hangout is open from 9 a.m. to midnight Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday. Happy hours: 4-6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to close Monday through Friday. 2124 Larimer St.; 303-296-2600. ignite-denver.com