I recently got a tip about a hip, safari-themed bar in south Longmont, of all places. Looking at the website of Tusk Safari Lounge, I envisioned a massive place with a jungle motif and a crocodile head sitting on the bar. The slogan alone — "drink, graze, chill" — was enough to inspire an exploratory mission. But I picked the wrong night to make the drive.
As it turns out, Tusk is in Prospect, a funky spot that bills itself as Colorado's first new-urbanist community. Driving along Longmont's South Main Street, I was on the lookout for Tenacity Drive — just one of the odd street names in a lineup that also includes Incorrigible Circle, Tempted Ways Drive and Confidence Drive. And at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, a guy needed confidence to head into Prospect, which seemed to lack any streetlights and looked dark, almost eerie. But somehow I found Tenacity, then turned onto Ionosphere Drive, passing the Two Dogs Diner — which could have been named the Two Diners Diner, since the only people in there were two lonely guys — and finally reached Tusk, at 2020 Ionosphere.
Tusk wasn't any busier than Two Dogs. But what it lacked in company, it made up for in ambience. And alcohol. At the glowing, green neon-lit bar, you can order from a list of safari-themed drinks — the Lioness, the Elephant, African Sunset and Game Driver — as well an impressive selection of bottled and draft beers, including a few by the Longmont-based Left Hand Brewing Company. I finished my second Blue Moon and headed out, thinking I'd return some weekend to see this bar when it's busy. (According to the bartender/owner, Tuesdays have been tough since he opened the place last December, but it fills up on the weekends.)
Tusk Safari Lounge
Before I returned to Denver, though, I took a quick look around Prospect and thought about how one friend likens the development to Disneyland while another friend who lives in Longmont thinks it has elements of Pleasantville or possibly Stepford. Me, I saw hints of Belmar. It's hard to pin down Prospect, given the architectural mishmash of townhouses, apartments, live/work lofts and detached houses. Some are painted in bright pastels, others in more traditional colors. And while Prospect still has another four years or so to go until it's fully completed, the occupants of these houses are already served by a bakery, a wine shop, a farmers' market, a cafe, a rib joint, an ice cream shop, a chiropractor — and a safari bar, just waiting for the residents to go wild.
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Club scout: The wait is finally over at Wilde Dancebar and Lounge (2157 Downing Street), an upscale gay bar with an Irish twist in the former Pierre's Supper Club location. Although the owner was hoping to open the doors by St. Patrick's Day, it took a bit longer to get the okay from the city's fire inspectors. But now the club is officially in business from 4 p.m. until close seven days a week, with a daily happy hour running from 4 to 8 p.m. and DJs spinning on Wednesdays and the weekends.
Orange Peel Moses (aka George Swartz) is throwing his Umpteenth Annual Unbirthday at the Santa Fe Tequila Company (901 West Tenth Avenue) on Friday, April 18. He'll get some musical help from Friends in Stereo (an act he sings with), Kaya and Noah Deep, and partyers will get some help from Citric Acid drink specials all night. On Saturday, April 19, Thëorie Restaurant and Lounge (1920 Market Street) is throwing an Absolut '80s Party; ten bucks at the door gets you unlimited mixed drinks and domestic beers from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Finally, promoter Ryan Dykstra and DJ Michael Trundle have started Blueprint Wednesdays at the art-deco-themed Bar Standard (1037 Broadway), formerly Shelter. Trundle will be spinning electro-indie and dance rock, but progressive local, national and international DJs will be on hand, too, and DJs will spin house, breaks and underground hip-hop on the smoking patio. Meanwhile, Milk will continue to host its goth and industrial nights downstairs on Wednesdays.