With 40 years of pressure on his shoulders, Dan Landes is ready to open the new Campus Lounge.
"I'm nervous just because I know not everybody is gonna love it," Landes said.
He is the new owner of an old establishment. The Campus Lounge served a favorite neighborhood sports bar for 40 years owned by University of Denver Hockey Legend Jim Wiste. Wiste decided to retire last year giving Landes a chance to start something new.
"I feel a lot of responsibility to Jim's legacy and the legacy of the Campus Lounge," Landes said.
For 14 months, Landes has been transforming what was once described as 'dark and smoky' into an open airy, restaurant and bar with a throwback feel.
"So, the important thing is that we saved a beautiful neon sign. We saved a part of Denver culture," Landes said.
The interior has been gutted. Landes saved only the original Pac-Man arcade game leftover from the old Campus Lounge. He also saved Pam Moore's favorite spot at the bar.
"I've been coming here 35 years," Moore said.
She said the time that Campus Lounge remained closed for the transition was too long to be without her favorite hangout spot.
"It took long enough, but it's really nice to see it open," Moore said. "It'll add something to the neighborhood I think it's missing."
Jake Prideaux enjoyed his appetizers. But he wondered aloud if the new Campus Lounge is too different.
"I thought this area could use more of a sports bar type instead of a restaurant, but I hope this works out for him," Prideaux said.
Wiste said he likes the new look to his old place. Landes likes the new chance to create history at the Campus Lounge.
"It's not what the old Campus Lounge was and it's not meant to be," Landes said. "What it was meant to be is what the Campus Lounge is gonna be for the next 40 years."