5 funky places to help uncover quirks of Old Town

Lauryn Bolz

 Independent business owners thrive on Fort Collins attraction to weirdness.

Below are some places in Old Town to explore your creative side, whether you’re picking up a new book or having a night out on the town.


Bizarre Bazaar

A place to find things you never knew you needed.

The Bizarre Bazaar, located just across from campus on College Ave., is a kind of sanctuary for old souls and pop culture fanatics. The red-roofed store is home to vintage records, pre-loved books, and knick-knacks of all kinds, from mid-1970’s talking Yoda action figures to an original Mac computer.

A Star Wars helmet in a bookstore.
The Bizarre Bazaar is home to many pop-culture relics, some for sale and some just for show. This Stormtrooper helmet from the 1970’s sits proudly between the discount movies and self-improvement sections. (Lauryn Bolz | Collegian)

“We have so many cool vintage items that we are a borderline pop culture museum,” said manager Scott Makarchuk. “We don’t use a database, (we) simply fill the store with fascinating inventory, stuff that demands your attention, stuff that jumps at you, stuff that calls your name as you walk by.”

As for specific products, one can never be quite sure what they’re going to find. After the resurgence of vinyl records, a couple of small crates became a vast room filled with hundreds of classics as well as novelties. 

If you need somewhere to wander on a rainy day, or would like to pick up a life-changing 25-cent book, the Bizarre Bazaar is a good destination, that’s also rumored by employees to be haunted.


This themed bar is marked only by an old street clock and an unassuming staircase.

a statement piece in a bar.
Social, the prohibition-style bar is decorated with many vintage pieces from the 1920’s. (Lauryn Bolz | Collegian)

Social may be a little more well-known than the other places on this list, but the underground, prohibition style bar is no less funky. You won’t find this place unless you know what to look for and once you’re there, the scene changes completely.

Lively music, a friendly staff, and plenty of flapper dresses and top hats will greet you. Whether you come from weekly events or are just there to experiment with specialty cocktails with friends, Social will transport you to a different time.


Indigo Rose Bookstore

Tucked away above the streets of Old Town, Indigo Rose has a book for everyone.  The converted apartment is home to thousands of books, pouring off the shelves and onto piles on the floor. A small reading nook in the front of the store is the perfect place to read a classic like “The Old Man and the Sea” or read a new novel.

chair in a bookstore
The cozy reading nook at Indigo Rose. There is never a lack of reading material. (Lauryn Bolz | Collegian)

The owner, known only as Irvin, can be found sitting amongst the piles of books. He declined an interview but said he is more than happy to help people find a book, suggest a poem, or chat about a favorite author for hours.  

Swampgas & Gossamer  

Strange things for strange people.

an open book on a piano
A selection of oddities at Swampgas & Gossamer. Les Sunde has been collecting and creating since he was a child. (Lauryn Bolz | Collegian)

Les Sunde began assembling his gallery nearly a decade ago, and with every year it has become brighter and stranger than the last. Walking by during the day, Swampgas & Gossamer doesn’t look like much, but as the sun goes down, the little space comes to life.

There is no fee to enter and nothing is for sale, it is simply a place that Sunde created from his own mind to share with others.

“All this stuff is wonderful stuff, but it’s just stuff,” Sunde said. “What moved the stuff is very important, and that is freedom. Freedom to fail, freedom to explore, freedom to tap-dance, freedom to yodel, freedom to dance, all this stuff happened while I was building it.”

Sunde and his mini-museum encourage everyone who enters to embrace their own strangeness.

“It seems to me that there is always something waiting for you to wake up to, or see it in a different way. I want to be at a place where you are being you.” Les Sunde, owner of Swampgas and Gossamer

The Artery

A space for creatives of all levels and interests. 

outside of a bar with string lights
Indie-pop band ‘Winter’ performs at the upper patio at the artery. This was the Los Angeles-based band’s first time playing in Fort Collins. (Lauryn Bolz | Collegian)

The Artery is known for their popular First Friday and Art Night events, but many do not know that fun and funky events are held there every other night of the month as well.

From indie-pop concerts to relaxing $10 figure drawing classes every Monday night, there’s always a reason to hit up the Artery, even if it’s just a quick drink at their friendly-staffed bar. This place is good for people in the mood for some karaoke, or just wanting to browse the local FoCo art scene, the Artery will always bring out a creative side.

Collegian reporter Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @laurynbolz.