Another restaurant group is going to try to make a go of it with the star crossed Campus Lounge. According to Westword and The Denver Post, the tavern will lose its old name based on legal requirements placed by the prior owners but the iconic neon sign may stay or be altered to accommodate the new bar/restaurant. Two failed attempts have been made to resurrect the Campus Lounge since Jim Wiste retired in 2017. After a long closure and remodeling, restaurateur Dan Landis tried a hip metro bistro concept and it failed in 6 months. Next up, the Nickless family, with ties to the hospitality business, the local area and the University of Denver, tried to restore the old sports bar – family diner feel. That place was shuttered in less than a year.
So what’s next for the iconic Bonnie Brae neighborhood tavern?
Think of summer camp or a backwoods lounge with steaks and a kids gaming arcade. The new owners’ goal is to keep food and drink prices low for families and create a ‘summer camp feel’ according the The Denver Post. At least, the TVs will stay for sports fans. And, who is to say cheap pitchers of beer, a salad bar, and a flank steak aren’t going to fly in a location low on parking but high on bad luck the last several years.
The Recess Beer Garden Team, owner of a number of bars in Denver, are the new proprietors. Recess Family, the owners of Recess Beer Garden in LoHi, signed a lease on the space several weeks ago, according to partner Owen Olson, who resides in the neighborhood. Interior remodeling is going on now to get the doors back open as soon as mid-December.
The new leaseholder responded on Nextdoor – “Still some final decisions to be made. But I truly hope we make you all happy with what we are going to do with campus. This neighborhood is our home. Once open we look forward to meeting you all. So please introduce yourself. Thank for the comments and support. Hope we can all have some special memories in this place together. Over the years to come. Owen Olson Recess Family restaurant group.”
The original owner, Jim Wiste, passed away in early 2018.Wiste, of course, had close ties to the University of Denver, the hockey community, and the University of Denver.