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Fort Collins enacted Prohibition Laws in 1896. Colorado ended prohibition along with the rest of America in 1933, but Fort Collins still didn't allow full strength alcohol. Citizens continued to drink alcohol illegally in restaurants, clubs, and speakeasies. This proved to be a problem for Fort Collins businesses attempting to compete with nearby towns, especially as automobiles made travel easier. Fort Collins had legalized the sale of 3.2% beer but prohibition continued to hurt businesses. Finally, in October of 1969, Fort Collins City Council fully repealed prohibition laws. The first liquor license was granted to Les Ware, owner of the Top Restaurant on the top floor of the now-closed Rocky Mountain Bank and Trust Building. The end of prohibition in Fort Collins attracted attention from across the town and surrounding areas. Ware paid photographers to commemorate the event and cement the Top’s place in history. Reporters joined the celebration as well. According to a Coloradoan article covering the event, “The first legal drink of spirituous liquor sold in Ft. Collins since 1896 was served about 5:00 p.m. August 8.”

  • Passing the first restaurant liquor licence, 1969. Courtesy of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.
  • The first drink legally served in a restaurant, 1969. Courtesy of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.
Hannifin, Jenny. "First Spirituous Drink in 20th Century Fort Collins," Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, August 2, 2017. Accessed October 19, 2018. 

Gorrell, Rose, Colton Morton, and Keanu Squire, Colorado State University, “A Thirst for Freedom in a Dry Town,” Intermountain Histories, accessed October 19, 2018,