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Historic downtown building to be remodeled, classic Boise bar sign restored

Two pieces of Boise history will come together in one location next year — and a new bar will arrive on the scene.

Jade Stacey purchased the Smith Block Building at 1015 W. Main St. in Downtown Boise in the summer of 2020. Earlier this year, he began to work on a plan to remodel and upgrade the building.

Built in 1903, the Smith Block is currently home to the Art Source Gallery on the ground floor – and an empty second floor. It sits on a historic block of Main St. that includes the Bouquet building, Gem & Noble, the old Hannifin’s Cigar Store, and others.

Soon, the Art Source will give way to an updated retail space for a bar: The Cub Tavern.

If you’ve been around Boise more 40 years or so, you might remember that name. The Cub used to operate in an old building on Capitol Blvd., and from 1948 to the mid-1980s, patrons could grab a drink at The Cub before a movie at The Egyptian or after a trip to the Bon Marché. The building on Boise’s Basque Block is now home to Bar Gernika.

The Cub’s iconic sign, which used to be placed on Capitol Blvd., has been in storage all these years. It will soon go up on the Smith Block building.

Historic restoration

Cub Tavern Boise
The Cub Tavern sign will go back up on a downtown Boise building. Via CCDC

“A main goal of the developers to restore the building to its original look and feel,” Kassi Brown with the Capital City Development Corp. said. “This effort is apparent with the outer brick and sandstone columns, a new entry door and transom window pane at the center of the building, and reconstructed columns on each side of the door.”

A new staircase will go up the middle of the building, providing new access from Main St. to the building’s second floor. Office space is planned.

Art Source will soon move to a new location at 1516 Grove St. near A’Tavola. Amy McRae with ArtSource said they will remain on Main St. through the holiday season, and make the move to Grove St. early in 2023. They plan a grand reopening event in the new spot for First Thursday in February.

After Art Source makes its move, work on the Smith Block will start early next year and wrap up in 2024. CCDC, the city’s urban renewal agency, will reimburse some costs for upgrades to the streetscape in front of the building, as well as new “historically accurate” retractable awnings for the building.

“I’m really excited to see there is an investment in West Downtown and in historic preservation, specifically this building,” CCDC Commissioner Danielle Hurd said. “I’m excited this sign is coming out of storage and will be illuminated again.”

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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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