The “Cowboy” empire just keeps getting bigger and bigger. After taking over the suburbs (and Uptown), Cowboy Jack’s is coming to downtown Minneapolis. It’ll open in the never-opened Ahern’s Irish Pub space in late April or early May.

Owners Chris Diebold and Brian Asmus have Cowboy Jack’s locations in Bloomington (pictured above), Plymouth and St. Cloud, as well as Cowboy Slim’s in Uptown. The downtown version will be located next to Epic nightclub, just one block from Target Field. The prime location has been the subject of much speculation over the past two years. In early 2010, Ahern’s announced its intentions to open a 14,000 square-foot pub in the raw downtown space (corner of 5th St. and 2nd Av.). But it never did. I wrote about the mystery behind the unopened pub last summer. At the time, Ahern’s owner Kelly Jaedike said she still planned to open the bar, even though she had done very little in the massive space. Ahern’s issues, it turned out, were tied up in the financial problems of another Jaedike business, the Melting Pot (which was going through bankruptcy). As you might expect, Ahern’s was having trouble paying rent to the building’s owner Ned Abdul. Looks like he found a new tenant.

Asmus, who runs the day-to-day operations at all the Cowboy bars, said talks for a downtown location started heating up five months ago. His team began construction recently, with plans to pattern the bar after the Cowboy Jack’s in Bloomington (which is slightly larger). The bars feature loads of reclaimed wood furnishings, faux-rifles in place of door handles and peanut shells littering the floor boards.

This location will utilize a large mezzanine and feature a rooftop bar. The Cowboy’s menu is typical big-bar comfort food: ribs, wings, burgers and “country meatloaf.” Asmus said they’ll feature similar music at this location – solo or duo performers doing covers.

While the theme of these bars is cowboy-country, the owners are known as motorcycle guys (they also own the Joint).

“Right now we’re trying to figure out where we’re going to put the bikes,” Asmus said.

Stay tuned for more updates.

(Above photo by Marlin Levison)

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