The Atrium provides a chill alternative to regular bars

Connor+Williams+and+Hunter+Horsfall%2C+the+co-owners+of+the+Atrium+sit+in+the+lounge+area

Collegian | Milo Gladstein

Connor Williams and Hunter Horsfall, co-owners of The Atrium At The Alleycat, sit in the lounge area of The Atrium Jan. 22. “Tuesday we have open mic, Thursdays we have a DJ and pretty much every Friday we have live music,” Horsfall said.

Brooke Pippin, Arts and Culture Reporter

The Atrium At The Alleycat, a bar and music venue tucked away under Alleycat Coffee House off Laurel Street, opened in January 2021. In the year the space has been open, it has established itself as a hangout spot open to a variety of customers. 

“I think The Atrium is unique in that it feels a bit different than your traditional bar — the person you are sitting next to might be drinking a beer, or they might be drinking a kombucha,” said Hunter Horsfall, co-founder of The Atrium and co-owner and operator of Alleycat Coffee House. “Part of our goal has been to destigmatize the expectations around ‘going out.’ We try to be welcoming to everyone.”

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The idea for The Atrium came about during lockdown, a time when many venues in Fort Collins were forced to close. Horsfall and co-founder Connor Williams got together and used their extra time to plan for a shared community space. 

“We both have a background in building things, so we had the thought to redecorate the space downstairs and hire some really fantastic local sound guys to help us build out a little system for intimate shows,” Horsfall said. 

The frontman of local band Co-Stanza, Jack Costanza, said The Atrium helps to provide a platform for Fort Collins musicians to perform following the closure of venues like the west campus Pinball Jones and Hodi’s Half Note. 

“Sake cocktails have been a really nice addition to the menu, and they are made with fresh homemade shrubs and syrups, and they rotate from time to time.” –Hunter Horsfall, co-founder of The Atrium At The Alleycat

“There is a gap between house shows and DIY stuff and bigger venues, like the Aggie (Theatre), (The) Lyric and Washington’s,” Costanza said. “I think The Atrium is a perfect fit for bands (who) want to play a real stage but are still working up to bigger venues.”

The Atrium hosts open mic nights every Tuesday, DJ sets with lighting effects on Thursdays, live performances on Fridays and cryptocurrency meetings on Sundays. 

Neon hex sign on the wall at The Atrium in Fort Collins, CO
A neon hexagonal sign hangs on the wall at The Atrium At The Alleycat in Fort Collins Jan. 22. “I think the other kind of big inspiration for us was we’ve both done a handful of trips to burning man,” Hunter Horsfall said. “Like, we love the kinds of LEDs and some of the bars that pop up out there, and so we had to create something with that kind of lively energy, like the hex panels.”
(Collegian | Milo Gladstein)

“We have a semi-regular cryptocurrency meetup where we meet and talk about cryptocurrency, (non fungible tokens) and new cryptocurrency projects we are excited about,” Horsfall said. “We love hosting meetups of passionate people.”

Some of the larger events The Atrium has hosted include a New Year’s event featuring Co-Stanza and resident DJ, DJ Drifter, night one of psychedelic music festival Endless Fest and a Halloween event. 

Horsfall said that initially, the idea was for The Atrium to be a nonalcoholic lounge, but that idea shifted over time in order to accommodate more customers. The menu features beer, sake, kombucha and nonalcoholic cocktail options. 

“Sake cocktails have been a really nice addition to the menu, and they are made with fresh homemade shrubs and syrups, and they rotate from time to time,” Horsfall said. 

The Atrium’s eclectic decor mirrors the variety of crowds to which the venue caters. The space is covered in plants, artwork and neon lights. Horsfall said there are approximately 20 different species inside the building, including philodendrons, monsteras and ferns. 

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“It is uniquely lit with lots of different colors, unique seating that fills the space very well, a big, beautiful stained glass window that catches your eye and an awesome wraparound bar,” Costanza said. “All the plants make it feel alive and bring natural energy to the space, for sure.”

The Atrium also features a monthly art show. Horsfall said all proceeds from the artwork sold go directly to the artist. The current artist on display is Aerica Raven Van Dorn. 

“This has really all been about creating a community gathering place that can function as a slightly older and more social component of The Alley Cat to foster music, art and creative projects of all types,” Horsfall said. “We love connecting with our local community and holding space for people.”

Reach Brooke Pippin at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @brookepippin00.