Tony’s Downtown Bar proprietor Eel Anderson favors Green Bay Packers fans and recession-proof prices over trends or trying to be a “theme” bar” by offering Colorado Springs a fun and laid-back atmosphere since it first opened in 1999.
Tony’s became a favorite with Colorado College students thanks to its proximity to campus and affordability, such as $5 for a 24 oz. PBR and well shot on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This summer, Anderson is shaking things up at Tony’s, moving the bar from the current location, 311 N. Tejon St., to a larger location across the street. Many CC students were excited to learn about the move, especially since the new bar will remain on the same block.
“They have a perfect location because you can walk home, which I did last Saturday,” said junior Paige O’Connor.
Other students who enjoy going to Tony’s have acknowledged the need for more space. “Over half-block the place was so full of CC seniors that you couldn’t even get in the door. They need to make more room for the half-block challenge,” said senior Zach Anderson.
However, the reception to the move has not been universally positive. Eel Anderson said many people are worried that the new location will lose Tony’s current charm.
Senior Alex Weeks, who likes to go to Tony’s on weeknights, echoed this sentiment. “I like that it’s a dive bar, but that will probably change when it gets bigger,” said Weeks.
“I’m just concerned how they are going to move over all that paraphernalia on the walls,” said Kiki Lenihan, senior and frequent patron of the bar. Anderson wants to keep the charm too, and he will be bringing all of the current oddities and decorations across the street.
The new building at 326 N. Tejon St. will be about 2,000 square feet larger than its current location, which is 2,300 square feet. Tony’s also will no longer have its “shotgun” bar layout, instead changing to a large square set up.
“The kitchen is going to be twice as big. We’re going to have a third bar with a big TV and a kind of Green Bay Packers shrine. Plus three pool tables,” Anderson said.
Capacity is expected to increase from about 88 to almost 150. Despite these changes, Anderson wants the overall feel of the bar to stay the same.
He will continue to host Geeks Who Drink and bring in bands, but the layout will be much more conducive to the events. Anderson explained that they will be able to host bands and people in the bar will also still be able to hold a conversation.
“Tony’s can be a little cramped and it’s a weird shape. Hopefully this will give more space for live bands and general rowdiness,” said junior Sarah Freeman.
When Anderson opened the bar with Tony in 1999, he knew they were making a reach, as people told them they were too far north. However, Tony’s has consistently won awards and brought in faithful customers.
Anderson believes the bar’s success came from drawing an eclectic crowd. “Walk down here on any given day and you’ll see lawyers, sitting next to skateboarders, sitting next to bikers, sitting next to doctors, and judges,” said Anderson.
Anderson decided to make the move as a convenience when the building across the street, next to Poor Richard’s, went up for sale. He knew he wanted to stay on the same block, because he loves the area. He is a renter in the current location, but owns the new building.
The actual move isn’t expected until July or August, so when CC students return next fall they can check out the new spot.