Back in October, when the Campus Lounge transitioned after 40 years as a sports dive bar to something new and different, owner Dan Landes said he wanted to deliver another neighborhood staple to the Bonnie Brae community. Five months later, Landes is closing the bar for good and selling the building, The Know reported Thursday.
Landes told The Know that his reimagined Campus Lounge was a “failure.” He invested an undisclosed amount into updates on the space, he brought on Chris Medved (a former Steuben’s, Ace Eat Serve, and City O’ City chef) to handle the food menu. The restaurant and bar employs a dozen workers. And Landes takes the blame for “ruin(ing) the Campus Lounge,” in his own words.
The Campus Lounge reopened in October after a year closed for Landes’ renovation and 40 years before that operating under Jim Wiste, who passed away this past January. Under Landes’ direction, the space was brightened, the televisions were removed, and the menu was updated to include craft cocktails and vegetarian and vegan options.
Landes thinks the restaurant’s transition from a dimly lit sports bar to a social gathering place was its downfall. The restaurateur has brought similarly progressive ideas to Denver in his all-vegetarian Watercourse Foods, City O’ City, and Make Believe Bakery, though he told Eater back in October that he wanted to serve the community’s rather than his own desires with the Campus Lounge reopening.
“Too often in our food scene, we see restaurants that are just a little too precious,” Landes had said at the time. “That’s just not what I’m into.”
No word yet on what will replace the Campus Lounge at University and Exposition.