A large, loud man in a gray shirt sat drinking at the bar inside The Mayor of Old Town the night before its July 15 grand opening. Heâ€™s an avid home brewer and member of the Liquid Poets, a home brewers club.
His name is Chris Palmer, and heâ€™s always on a mission to drink a beer heâ€™s never had. This beer exploration is what brought him from his hometown of Estes Park to the pre-opening party for the Mayor of Old Town, a new bar on Mason Street a block away from the CSU campus.
Palmer was drinking Black & Red, a dark, fruity beer made by Dogfish brewery. Itâ€™s the type of beer that isnâ€™t found at most bars, and thatâ€™s why Palmer ordered it.
â€œI like going to places I havenâ€™t been because thereâ€™s a chance Iâ€™ll get a beer I havenâ€™t had,â€ Palmer said. â€œThatâ€™s what Iâ€™m after.â€
With 100 beers on tap, and more to be offered in bottles and cans soon, The Mayor has the largest beer selection of any bar in Fort Collins, making it a place where even the most seasoned beer enthusiast â€“â€“ like Palmer â€“â€“ can find something theyâ€™ve never had before.
The idea for The Mayor came after its owner, Kevin Bolin, sold his real estate company, Kevco, and traveled in search of a new place to live. Instead of moving, though, Bolin decided to open a beer bar in Fort Collins similar to those he had seen while traveling.
Seeing the need for a beer bar in what Bolin calls the â€œNapa Valley of beer,â€ Bolin decided to open The Mayor.
Bolin wants his bar to be more than just a spot to get a beer. He wants it to be a discussion piece and destination spot.
â€œI would take my parents to the (Rio Grande Restaurant) whenever they came to visit me. Itâ€™s an icon in Fort Collins,â€ Bolin said. â€œThatâ€™s what I want The Mayor to be.â€
But despite its close proximity to the CSU campus, Bolin doesnâ€™t want The Mayor to be a college-scene bar. The Mayor will offer no specials on drinks and no happy hour. Bolin expects his bar to attract true lovers of beer, not beer drinkers.
Beers range in price from $3 to $8, with the average being in the $4 range.
Separating The Mayor from its contemporaries further is its food menu. The Mayor offers a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu from the Red Table CafÃ©, located on Linden Street.
The Mayorâ€™s angle, though, is still the beer. The taps stand side-by-side, spanning 26 ft. behind The Mayorâ€™s bar.
At the same party that Palmer attended sat Tam Frager, a writer who was also invited to the party because she is a fan of The Mayor on Facebook. She sat with her sister, neither of them beer drinkers, and discussed the space.
â€œIt could so easily be pretentious, but itâ€™s not. Maybe itâ€™s the location, I donâ€™t know, but itâ€™s nice,â€ Frager said.
Staff Writer Nic Turiciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.