The Bonnie Brae neighborhood did not get the ‘old’ Campus Lounge back. The new owners created a much better and contemporary sports bar and eatery while still capturing the ‘neighborhood feel’ that original proprietor Jim Wiste cultivated.
We were reluctant at first to visit the Campus Lounge with it’s new “summer camp” theme, fearing it would be like a trendy one-and-done theme bar. But it is tastefully decorated – no canoes on the ceiling or stuffed bears. And with 13 flat-screen TVs in the main bar area and the game room, there is little space to over-do the theme.
We were greeted by dim lighting and music playing to a packed bar and dining area at 8:00 pm on a snowy, Thursday night. Parking is now available to the south side of the building on the Ink Coffee lot as well as on-street parking. The tavern is warm and inviting – the perfect mix for families, friends or avid sports fans looking for a spot to watch the big game.
The Recess Beer Garden Team, owner of a number of bars in Denver, are the new proprietors of the Campus Lounge. Recess Family, the owners of Recess Beer Garden in LoHi, signed a lease on the space last year with partner Owen Olson, who resides in the neighborhood. The Campus re-opened January 31st, this year.
The menu is extensive and reasonable with starters, burgers, grilled options (fish, steak, chops), salad, salad bar, sides, desserts, weekly specials by-the-day as well as a brunch menu. And beer? 16 beers on tap and 17 can/bottles of domestic, craft and imported beers along with a complete liquor bar.
The food is excellent. We had a burger and tots along with blackened salmon and beer. All were excellent, portions good and delivered on time.
And, Canadian hockey fans can order a northern delicacy, Campus Poutine ($10 – fries, cheese curds with mushroom gravy) to go with hockey games on TV. (Only complaint: thin-cut fries.) Burgers are $13 and sides $4-5. Desserts are $5-10 dollars. And the weekly specials offer extends all-you-can-eat options.
After several starts and stops, the Recess Beer Garden Team matched this offer perfectly to the Bonnie Brae neighborhood. They deserve a merit badge for a job well done. We will definitely camp out there.