Big changes ahead for Dinkytown business

The Library Bar and Grill will undergo a facelift and reopen in September.

A former popular Dinkytown bar will reopen this fall with the same name and a major makeover.

Saws and jackhammers can be heard roaring at 1301 Fourth St. S.E., where the former building of the Library Bar and Grill and the H20 dance club is being renovated. The building has been closed since January.

Library Management Group, based in Austin, Texas, took over the property and began refurbishing it in June. The group did not return several phone calls for comment.

Elder-Jones General Contractor is remodeling the building, and project superintendent Dave Elstad said the project is on schedule.

“We’re waiting for a health permit, but otherwise everything is going well,” he said.

Construction on the three-story building will include some large-scale changes.

The workers are removing the center of the building’s front wall and replacing it with glass that will run from the roof to ground level. They are also removing 16 square feet of the second floor to create a balcony, Elstad said.

A bar will be located on the first and second floors, with the kitchen on the main level.

Elder-Jones officials said the Library name will remain with the establishment.

Nearby businesses said the building needed improvements. They also hope to benefit from increased business when the Library reopens.

Though the bar typically had busier night traffic, store owners hope some daytime business will increase shoppers.

Eric Zoerink, owner of The Connect clothing store, said he wants to see the restaurant offer a lunch menu that would bring in daytime business.

“I think it would generate a lot of walk-by traffic,” he said.

Bruce Benson, owner of Know Name Records, said he hopes for the same.

He said he remembers the building’s reputation with past owners and said a cleaner, more upscale restaurant would be an asset to the area.

“It was such a dump,” Benson said of the building’s past incarnations. “You didn’t even want to go in there.”

He said he hopes the new restaurant will be in place for awhile.

“So many different businesses have been there before,” he said. “Things change so fast around here. But with the amount of work they are putting into it, it should be top-shelf.”

Officials expect the project to be completed in mid-September, Elstad said.

Freelance editor Anna Weggel welcomes feedback at [email protected]