Continues to Anchor Success in the Fort Collins Bar & Restaurant Scene
by DAWN DUNCAN
Few local businesses can reflect on the days of Fort Collins being a dry city and even fewer opened their doors the year the restrictions were lifted. Considered a mainstay in the Old Town hangout scene since 1969, Tony’s Bar & Rooftop celebrated the impressive accomplishment of 45 years in business with an anniversary party on February 28 at their downtown Fort Collins location. The downstairs bar and the adjoining Tony’s Rooftop hosted a VIP event, followed by an open celebration for the public, featuring food selections from their made-from-scratch kitchen, along with a full bar and signature cocktails, commemorative cake and festive party takeaways. Representatives from High Country Beverage honored Tony’s with commemorative mirrored artwork, congratulating them on their anniversary and thanking them for partnership.
Founded in 1969 by Greek immigrant, Tony Katopodis, Tony’s has operated for 45 years as a family- owned, local business, gradually evolving from its original roots as Bakes’ Restaurant and Alley Lounge, which was located where HuHot and Ace Gillett’s are in Old Town Fort Collins. In 1988, the operation moved across the street and was named The Greek Connection, housing a Greek restaurant in the front and Tony’s Bar in back. The family opened their rooftop bar in 2009, expanded their kitchen in 2012 and have discussed opening a third level to the rooftop bar in the future. While Tony Katopodis remains involved in today’s bar operations, son, Jimmy, and daughter, Roula, tend to the daily business and management, along with Operations Manager, Ben “Irish” Peart, who has been with the company for over 10 years. The team is aggressively pursuing a major expansion of their brand, breaking ground on a new bar this winter that will be called The Whiskey.
The Whiskey, which will be located next to Tony’s, is set to open this spring as an upscale whiskey establishment, along with a full bar set up. The concept includes a warm, inviting, western interior area for live music, and a VIP locker club for patrons desiring storage of selected whiskeys and bourbons and access to VIP events and tastings. Modeled after establishments in places from Jackson Hole to Denver, the bar will pay tribute to the west’s cowboy heritage while blending modern appreciation for the art of fine whiskeys and spirits. Smaller local bands and singer-songwriter acts will be booked regularly at The Whiskey.
Although a continuously evolving business, Tony’s maintains a sincere focus on being a family-run, friendly and local establishment. Long considered a college hangout, including making Playboy’s Top 100 College Bars list, Tony’s also attracts the business sector and longtime residents. The commitment to quality in their food selection has grown, and Tony’s now boasts a scratch kitchen complete with homemade crust pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, salads, appetizers and their celebrated Greek fare, positioning the restaurant as a great place for weekday lunch or late night fare. Special events, DJ nights, ladies’ nights and soon to be live music at The Whiskey are a few of the many ways Tony’s is moving forward into its next phase of operation and continuing to be a go-to hotspot in Old Town for people of all ages.