Illegal Pete's

Illegal Pete's has always been passionate about the Colorado music industry. It runs a label, Greater Than Collective, the Starving Artist program and hosts free shows at all of their restaurants.

So it makes sense that the restaurant would open a proper music venue. That will happen this spring in a 4,000 square-foot space attached to the newest Illegal Pete's location in Old Town Fort Collins. The venue will have an outdoor beer garden and a venue-specific menu.

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Pete Turner, who owns the business, has always been interested in operating a music venue -- he worked on opening one in Denver in 2003, in fact. And now, he'll have his chance. The Fort Collins location, like all the others, has an elevated dining area that can be converted into a stage. And it will host occasional free shows.

But this one also had a massive area in the back. "We have thought about leasing it to someone, but the more we think about it, the more we have wanted to maybe take advantage of it ourselves," Turner says.

Turner and Virgil Dickerson, who runs Illegal Pete's marketing department and the Greater Than Collective, discussed the need for additional venue space with people in the music scene in Fort Collins as well as those in Denver who might be able to route tours through both cities. "The majority of people we talked to thought that was a good idea," he said.

The venue would be a smaller sized room than the Aggie and Hodi's, "more like the Hi Dive," Turner says, with a connected beer garden and patio space in an alley area right off of Mountain Avenue, the main street running through Old Town. "Through talking to those guys and the connections we have on the music and the comedy side, we thought there is a good synergy here," Turner said. While it would be Illegal Pete's organizing and conceptualizing the venue, it would be a separate venture for the team. "We could really energize this little alley. Why rent it out? We are really busy, but I've always tried to do a venue, I have always tried to do something like this."

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