Country Western Bar Coming to Downtown Cedar Rapids

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

A view of the Cedar River and downtown Cedar Rapids early Wednesday, July 28, 2010, in northwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Kara Kelly

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Toocan’s Tiki Bar in downtown Cedar Rapids will soon be going country.

Owner Brian Hughes said the bar at 329 Second Ave. will be closing on Dec. 31, 2011, to make way for Hazzard County Saloon.

Hazzard County Saloon will cater to country and western music fans with a dance floor and a country music flavor, Hughes said.

A country western fan, Hughes said he considers the country market badly underserved in the local club scene. The name is an allusion to The Dukes of Hazzard, a CBS television series that ran from 1979-1985 in which a family of moonshine runners continually confounded a corrupt mayor and sheriff.

Hughes also owns the Wrigleyville sports pub in Marion and is opening another Cubs-themed sports pub at 315 Second Ave. SE.

The switch to country and western is the fourth format change for the 329 Second Ave. location since it was the Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant.

The first bar in the location was the Dragon Night Club, a dance club known for drag shows.

Hughes leased the club in 2007 and converted it to Volume, a dance bar. He converted it to Toocan’s Tiki Bar in July 2010.

The tiki bar concept sounded good, Hughes said, but ultimately attracted a younger market with different musical tastes than the one he expected. Patrons overwhelmingly preferred upbeat hip-hop and other dance music to the mellow tropical-inspired Reggae and Jimmy Buffet tunes.

Hughes expects the country western theme to attract a more mature audience that won’t bring with it the security problems he was having to deal with at Toocan’s.

“This way, I’m looking at more of an adult crowd that will take responsibility,” he said.

Hughes said the conversion of Toocan’s will begin after his new downtown Cubs bar is
open. An opening date has not been set.

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