clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Meet Campus Lounge, the New Neighborhood Dive Bar

New, 2 comments

Find duck meatballs, mezcal, and a vegan menu at this remake of a Bonnie Brae classic

The Campus Lounge held its grand reopening Saturday in Bonnie Brae
Adam Larkey

Fans of the original and newcomers alike will be surprised and also comforted when they walk underneath the neon Campus Lounge sign at University and Exposition.

The Bonnie Brae classic still has the glass block windows, vinyl booths, and plenty of wood paneling, just as the former 40-year-old hockey bar did. Customers can still order a Coors and hide out at the bar for hours.

But they also can ask for the cauliflower banh mi and a mezcal penicillin, peruse modern art along the white walls, and take a seat at the counter in front of an open kitchen.

Under the direction of new owner Dan Landes (City O’ City, Make, Believe Bakery); chef Chris Medved (formerly Steuben’s, Ace Eat Serve, City O’ City); and bar consultant Steven Waters (formerly White Lies, forthcoming Run for the Roses), the new Campus Lounge is less neighborhood sports bar, more community center.

Artwork by Martha Epp lines the walls at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey

“Too often in our food scene, we see restaurants that are just a little too precious,” says Landes. “That’s just not what I’m into.”

After founding a few concepts dear to him — the all-vegan Watercourse Foods and the vegetarian City O’ City — Landes now wants to fill a niche for a long-established community.

Seventies-style wallpaper marks the individual bathrooms at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey

In a brightened but retro setting, Campus Lounge sells drinks, bar snacks, plates, and sandwiches that are part classic, part modern.

Medved’s beet pickled eggs are topped with potato chips; his banh mi is made with duck meatballs. A handful of menu items, such as the Adult Spaghetti O’s, are also made vegan.

On opening night, the staff was careful to ask patrons if they had been in to the old space and what they thought about the new changes.

At least one longtime neighbor seemed pleased. He gave the menu “two thumbs up” and said he would be back, then finished his second Coors Banquet and scraped up the last of his micro greens and egg mayonnaise.

Status: Certified open (11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday-Thursday, until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays), 701 S. University Blvd.; http://campusloungedenver.com.

Inside the renovated Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
The main dining room at the Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey

Counter seating and an open kitchen at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
Wood paneling, vinyl booths, and original glass block at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
White walls and ceilings at the new Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
Sound baffling at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
The second dining room at Campus Lounge

Original Ms. Pac-Man, Globetrotters pinball, and a new photo booth
Adam Larkey
The second dining room at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
The neon-covered bar at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
Original artwork at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey
Food and drink menus at Campus Lounge
Adam Larkey

Campus Lounge

701 South University Boulevard, , CO 80209 (720) 535-7021 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Denver newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world