With the river, the bike trail and the ample green space, summer in downtown Loveland is just begging to be enjoyed outside. Drop by any day or night of the week, and you’ll find people of all ages walking, biking or running, eating, drinking and socializing. And sometimes all of the above, in no particular order.
To no one’s dismay, this spring brought us yet another way to bask in the great outdoors: the new rooftop bars that crown Ramsey’s Trailside, Tano Bistro and Bishop’s Quarter restaurants.
Our curiosity piqued, we set out to learn more about the thought process behind designing rooftop dining and to hear recommendations from the owners and managers themselves about the best menu items and drinks to enjoy while lounging on Loveland’s roofs.
Although it might seem like the rooftop bars were a coordinated effort among all the restaurants, that wasn’t the case. In fact, according to Kevin Egan, a partner at Ramsey’s, “A rooftop bar was always our intent. Then the fire hit, and everybody rethought how to rebuild, so at that point [the other restaurants] decided to put a rooftop on. It’s bittersweet ... at one point, we thought we’d be the only rooftop in town, but as a result of the fire, it gave everyone the opportunity to do that.”
It also gave Ramsey’s the option to rethink the way they handled the remodel post-fire. They wanted to stay with the same general ideas they had for reworking the restaurant and bar while maintaining the same old-town feel the building had.
“We tried to play off the building’s character and uniqueness because that’s something that we felt set us apart.” –Kevin Egan
With the help of architect Mike Wentz and general contractors BMP (Building Management Partners), the team worked together to come up with the concept and design for the whole building, including the rooftop.
To show off their prime corner real estate alongside the bike trail—their “oceanfront property” as Kevin calls it—they situated the rooftop portion to overlook the trail.
“It’s our differentiator,” he says. “We wanted it to be set up so that no matter where you’re sitting up there, you have a nice vantage point of the trail as well as off the back end into the green space.”
What to Order:
Food—Roasted Beet Salad. “Our whole premise around the menu was to have healthier dining. Beet salad is a healthy alternative ... it’s light, it’s filling, it’s fresh and clean.” Kevin says. Consisting of mixed greens, spinach, walnuts, goat cheese and roasted beets topped with an orange-maple vinaigrette, the salad is a perfectly light and refreshing dish to dive into on a nice summer day.
Drink—Wente Chardonnay. This white wine pairs well with the beet salad, and its cool temperature makes outdoor dining more enjoyable.
RamseysTrailside.com | 513.444.4763
When Tano co-owners Gina and Gaetano Williams were renting the space that occupied Tano initially, they weren’t even able to imagine a rooftop dining area, much less build one.
That all changed when the time came to rebuild after the fire, as the Williamses then became owners of the space and were able to design and construct the restaurant they always wanted. In addition to remodeling the first floor and finishing out the second floor (which was previously a private dining area), they were able to add in a rooftop dining area.
“It was in the original vision when we bought the building after the fire because we thought it would be cool, really.” –Gina Williams
Using longtime designer Crissy Staley, they were able to work quickly, finishing out the two dining rooms and adding an elevator, which, although installed out of necessity, also served to provide structure to the roof.
“The view from the rooftop was pretty cool, looking over downtown Loveland,” Gina says. “We wanted something cozy and intimate, like our restaurant is. We call it a ‘little oasis’ because it’s between the other two buildings ... and it’s quiet up there so you can have an intimate, romantic dinner, or you can hang at the bar and order some bar bites—it’s very casual.”
What to Order:
Food—Baked Brie. A wonderful new starter, the baked triple cream brie sits atop a house-made focaccia and is topped with bourbon cherry, berry and apple compote—the perfect summery plate meant for sharing.
Drink—White Pillars Sangria. This delicious drink is a mixture of white wine, Canton ginger, basil, strawberries, oranges and cherries ... and is just the thing for rooftop sipping.
FoodByTano.com | 513.683.8266
Bishop’s Quarter is the newest kid on the block, added as a restaurant post-fire as a way to create another dimension to the bar experience in downtown Loveland, general manager Kevin Malone says.
“People enjoy drinking and getting outdoors, and we thought it would be a golden opportunity to tap into that and give Loveland a trendy, cool outdoor rooftop area to enjoy.”
For the BQ rooftop (designed by Lupe Lopez), they were looking to create a contrast in themes. While the first two floors boast a French Quarter/speakeasy vibe, the third-floor area is much different, more industrial, more of a downtown/sports bar area.
“There was an opportunity to tap into a different demographic, utilizing the Loveland bike trail for traffic, plus the regulars who want to stay outside and watch a game as opposed to sitting downstairs and drinking bourbon. It just gives another opportunity for people to enjoy it.” –Kevin Malone
And if you’re envisioning turf wars between rooftop bars à la West Side Story, don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for every roof.
“We all have our separate visions and vibes,” Kevin says. “I think it's great for the community, and it makes us a destination area. There’s plenty to go around.”
What to Order:
Food—Signature Shrimp and Grits. You'll feel like you’re in New Orleans as you dine on five large blackened prawns, served on top of homemade cheddar grits and finished with a chipotle sauce drizzle.
Drink—Hurricane. What’s more New Orleans than a hurricane? “It’s our classic. It’s a staple of the French Quarter and a staple of happy hour here as well, all made in-house with passionfruit syrup, orange juice, grenadine, pineapple juice, light rum and dark rum. It’s delicious,” Kevin says.
BishopsQuarterBar.com | 513.214.3882