Boise’s oldest bar set for big upgrades. But the history won’t be touched


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It’s been named the best dive bar in Idaho, the most popular Uber destination, and, simply – Boise’s oldest bar. The Cactus Bar on Main St. is known for cheap drinks, loads of history, and notorious bathrooms. And soon, it’s about to see a few changes.

In 2019, property owner Daniel Rockrohr applied to revamp the historic bar’s back patio – which would significantly add to the bar’s capacity with outdoor space. Now, Rockrohr has applied for a building permit signaling work could soon start.

Crews would thoroughly redo the space between the bar building and the alley. A new structure at the rear of the patio is proposed, which would add a second bar to service the outdoor seeing – and provide a much-needed set of new bathrooms.

[Downtown Boise’s Spacebar will expand, move – but not too far]

Rendering of the new back patio at The Cactus in Boise. Via Cole Architects

The patio remodel is top-to-bottom. A new steel and wood-slat pergola would provide shade, an upgraded fence would surround the space on all sides, new tables and barstools would go in — and even the existing blacktop would be ripped out and replaced with concrete. A small space for a mobile food cart is also shown on project plans.

Renderings also show a possible mural carrying on the cactus theme painted on the mason block wall along the new outdoor bar.

The building permit values the remodel at $300,000.

The 1936 mason-block bar building will see no changes, according to the application.

Upgrades at The Cactus are the latest changes on the block. Two new apartment buildings and a small office building will open early next year across the alley.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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