What makes Campus West the best Drinking Destination in Fort Collins

With each passing day, the drinking population of Fort Collins grows. For these emerging 21-year-olds, Old Town just might be their first pick when deciding to partake in the finest (or cheapest) elixirs our Colorado town has to offer. However, for the seasoned 21-and-a-half-year-old, things change. You grow up so much in those six months.

Okay, so I’m being a little dramatic, but hear me out. I didn’t even consider Campus West an option until I moved within walking distance, which honestly is the case for many Fort Collins twenty-somethings living in the popular college housing spots along Elizabeth. This gave me a chance to explore what West has to offer, which, to my surprise, was a lot.

To begin, Campus West is small. On this one street, Lady Elizabeth, you can find everything you’re looking for, and most places are locally owned. You don’t have to walk five blocks to get from one expensive bar to another, which is definitely the case in Old Town. Sure there are clusters of good spots, particularly on the construction-ridden square, but the trek from The Whiskey to Elliot’s feels far more arduous a journey when you’re already 3 drinks deep. On the other hand, all the hot spots at Campus West are, for the most part, a five minute walking distance from each other. Maybe I’m lazy for thinking this way, but let’s be honest — save the hiking for Horsetooth.

Despite the general area being small in radius, Campus West bars, for the most part, have ample room for everyone. They aren’t glorified hallways with crowded tables and cramped patios, struggling to accommodate the swelling mass of drunk folk sloshing their beers on your feet. At Campus West, there are probably more square feet of patio than indoor seating, which is saying something considering the spaciousness of spots like Road 34, The Bar, and Fuzzy’s. And where else would you want to enjoy a fall evening? Seriously, the view from this corner of town while the sun sets over Elizabeth is breathtaking — even more so with a margarita in hand. I don’t know of anywhere in Old Town where you could see that spectacle unimpeded by buildings.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve wandered down to Old Town, had an intoxicatingly good time, and then found myself starving with nowhere to satisfy my near-crippling drunchies. Monday through Thursday, anywhere you can get cheap food closes at or even before midnight in Old Town, and I’m not about to drop $10 for tapas or greasy bar food. Even if you can drag yourself 7 blocks south to Laurel, your only picks are DP Dough’s and Fat Shack, and they close at 2 and 1 am respectively on weekdays. However, Campus West houses at least three locations open until 2:30 am or later (even on a Monday!) designed specifically to stuff the faces of their drunken patrons. Subs, pizza, gyros — you name it, Elizabeth will provide, even after midnight. And that doesn’t include the dinner fare available at all but one of the bars at West, none which the layman would call “bar food.” You can find burgers and fries, gourmet sandwiches, baja tacos, and even sushi served as late as midnight every night.

The best part about Campus West, however, is getting there. It is far more bike friendly than its brother to the North, limiting car traffic on the surrounding roads. And, as I said, Campus West is walking distance from a lot of Fort Collins’ college residencies. On top of that there are actual parking lots with a lot of spaces and no annoying time limits. These three factors make it a dream to navigate to and from Campus West, without all the headaches common of the Old Town experience.

Old Town is not the only place to eat, drink, and be merry in Fort Collins. Instead, you can enjoy the casual, no-fluff, less-crowded drinking game Campus West has to offer. Enjoy live entertainment, shop and play, and crawl back in the morning to satisfy your hangover needs with coffee and breakfast, all within a half-mile radius. And with Happy Hour deals nearly every day of the week, there’s no need to go anywhere else.

Bike, walk, or drive — but whatever you do, make your way to Campus West.