The Bison Turf, a bar just off University Avenue, is set to reopen Tuesday, May 8. The bar was closed in July 2016 after a fire put the local watering hole out of commission.
According to Pete Sabo, the owner of the bar, the establishment is going to have a couple soft openings to acclimate the workers, both new and old, to the new systems.
It could get a little hectic because the bar has “tripled the seating” available, Sabo said.
Sabo said the bar is going to look familiar to local patrons. “We salvaged every piece of the original bar we can and then we sanded it, and stained it and refinished it, and we virtually have the same great menu that everyone loved. We order the same products that we had before. We’re trying to make it look like the original 1933 Bison Turf.”
Mitchell Fokken, a student at NDSU, said he’s excited for the Turf to open. “It looks like they kept things the same, so I’m pretty excited to go back,” Fokken said.
The bar looks the same as it used to, according to Fokken. “The main area looks pretty similar to before,” Fokken said. “There’s still the booths and the tables, and the bar looks like it did before, so it’s going to be good old memory’s back.”
According to Sabo, the bar did add some new additions, including brand new heating and air-conditioning. The bar also added a new tap system that will keep the beer colder, according to Sabo.
The upper level of the bar, which used to be a run-down apartment according to Sabo, was renovated around a 1933 mahogany bar that Sabo said was salvaged from an old place in northeast Minnesota.
The bar laid its roots by the workforce campus in 1933. Sabo said he acquired the bar in the ’80s “from the 92-year-old woman” who had built the bar with her husband.
When the Turf burned down, Sabo said he “kind of felt responsible to bring it back because it was such an iconic place.”
The Bison Turf has “almost tripled its workforce,” according to Sabo. The soft openings will help these new employees learn the ropes and get ready for what Sabo said he expects to be a crazy period of business.
The Turf will now also have mugs that say “Risen from the Ashes” on them.
The building was a reported $1.3 million to rebuild.