There are a lot of places in the world known for their dynamic nightlife: New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rio. South Africa, on the other hand, has never come to mind. Tusk, a high-end African safari lounge in the Prospect neighborhood, is working to change that image while bringing a youthful club vibe to Longmont.
We decided to give the place a once-over. It took a few laps around the “town” of Prospect, that Disneyland meets Dr. Seuss-looking neighborhood in south Longmont, to find it. Each house is different and oddly colored, yet somehow they all looked the same. It’s almost like being on a movie set.
We stopped the only person we found on the street to ask for directions.
“Oh, I hear that place is great. Everyone’s talking about it,” she smiled. It turns out we had passed it on our first lap.
Finally inside, the atmosphere impressed. The lighting was nice, the reggae music at a respectable volume and the décor amazing. Safari photos on the walls accented animal print pillows, African art and oodles of natural wood. Oh, and two plasma TVs, which I believe is an American twist and not so much a nod to African safari atmosphere. There seemed to be some regulars inhabiting the corner (sprawled over couches like they owned the place), so my girlfriend, Maria, and I bellied up to the bar.
“These chairs suck,” was my first impression. My lady agreed, but with more eloquence. “Yeah, let’s go try
Unfortunately, we found all of the seating equally uncomfortable. We settled into the sofa as opposed to the plastic chairs at the bar tables. The chesterfield-style seating looked great, but we were hoping to sink into something comfy after work on a Tuesday evening.
The menu—chock full of drink options with names like the Lioness, the Zebra, Black Mamba and Cape Buffalo—might cause a little sticker shock to anyone not drinking on the company dime. Since I was, though, we sampled a fair number, as well as some truly unique small plates. These included prawns with Zulu sauce, lamb sliders and green beans with South African dipping sauce. Truly wonderful snacking options.
The drinks were equally well prepared and quite tasty. The hip, attractive waitress let me order a “lion” in lieu of the Lioness (a fruity fru-fru drink), but I asked her to keep it sweet, nonetheless. To counter balance, I also tried a whiskey and cola, which was poured quite strong. Maria gave the African mojito a rave review.
A couple of others milled in and out while we made ourselves at home. Guys with perfect hair and perfectly placed holes in their jeans with cute, hip ladies at their sides. Not much of a singles scene, it would seem.
“Might have something to do with it being a Tuesday night,” Maria agreed.
“Hey look, they do have trivia,” I pointed out, excited by the prospect of a nice, mellow place to get my brain-game on. “Wednesdays nights…it’s ON!”
Wednesday came and went, but we did return that weekend to see how the scene differed. We were told it was an “unusually slow Saturday.” We were there an hour before the DJ was set to spin, but took note of the crowd that was beginning to pour in as we were getting ready to leave.
Maria and I decided that Wednesday nights, trivia night, would be our night. Judging by the crowd that was showing up—young hipsters seemingly plucked right from LoDo—we should be able to kick their butts in a game of knowledge.
Tusk Safari Lounge, 2020 Ionosphere Dr, Unit A, Longmont, 303.776-6347