Downtown hangout, Jackalope Lounge gets revamped to create Dakota Pub

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

The Dakota Pub’s jukebox-new, shiny, and filled with songs by artists ranging from Shania Twain to Everclear-typifies what the new owners hope to accomplish with the former Jackalope Lounge.

Co-owner Randy Hope says he has gotten calls from many different acts, including a solo blues artist and a local country band, and he hopes to have them all on the new stage.

“We still get calls,” he said. “We told them to give us a call in a couple of weeks when we get going.”

The delay is cause by the extensive repairs needed in the rundown building.

Hope bought the former Jackalope with Bill Thelen. The former owner, Max Fjelstad, moved north to Alaska on short notice, and the partners decided that, with a little work, the Jackalope could be turned into a nice place.

It turned out to be more work than they had expected. The wiring and sprinkler system were both not up to code, and the roof leaked far more than they had been led to believe.

“It’ll cost $20,000 to $25,000 when we’re done,” Hope said. “We didn’t expect anything like this.”

The leaking roof will soon be a memory, replaced by a new roof. That is, if the weather cooperates.

“Hopefully we’ll get a few good days,” Hope said.

When finished, Dakota Pub will have a new fully functional basement, a stage and a beer garden.

Hope and Thelen have yet to advertise due to the ongoing work, so business has been slow. But Hope says he feels like the revamp was the right decision on both safety and aesthetic grounds.

“I’ve had some college kids come in and say ‘thank you for cleaning it up’,” he said.