After being shut down for almost a year, Bullwinkle’s Saloon will reopen under a slightly different name — Bullwinkle Saloon.
Bob Rick, chief manager and new owner, is aiming to get the bar open by Mar. 17, pending a liquor license renewal from the city of Minneapolis.
The bar was shut down last year after Gary Holmes, the previous owner, did not renew the liquor license.
Holmes had difficulties meeting the city’s maintenance and licensing expectations while keeping up with a troublesome economy, Rick said.
Since Rick purchased the business within a year after its license expired, he will not be required to go through a public hearing for a new license. Instead, he simply has to run the new bar in line with the business model of the previous owner.
“Our desire is to open with not too many changes,” said Tom Williams, the bar’s general manager. “But we also hope it will go in exciting new directions.”
Williams said he used to frequent the bar when he was younger.
He won the first annual Mr. Bullwinkle contest the bar held, which consisted of trivia, an eating and drinking competition and an obstacle course.
“I’m the original Mr. Bullwinkle,” he said.
Williams said the new bar will likely continue the tradition.
Rick, who bought the bar after retiring six months ago, has also reached out to the local business community. The bar is located in Seven Corners –– a pub hub popular with many students, and many businesses in the area are part of the West Bank Business Association.
“I think a business with an engaged community member going into a vacant space is a healthy sign,” said Jamie Schumacher, WBBA’s executive director. “And some people are mixed on whether it’s a bar or another restaurant –– is it competition? But, having a vacant store front really isn’t helping anybody.”
Rick said the bar will work according to three tenets: minimize binge drinking, welcome back old customers and be a good neighbor.
“This is my neighborhood. I live here,” he said.
The bar is currently looking to hire about 11 servers and bartenders.