A night club with a decade-long legacy in the Capital City is now back open.
The Sahara was shut down in September after Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken made a call to the landlord about security and noise concerns.
Ultimately, it was confusion over who made the final decision about the club’s fate that kept it closed for months. KX News was able to clear this up between phone calls with owner Ivan Makuve and Mayor Bakken.
As of this month, the after-hours nightclub, located in the old Sears store in the Gateway Mall, is reopened as an alcohol-free hangout spot for 18 to 20-year-olds.
Makuve says he’s taken drastic measures to improve safety. He says they’ve had security for years within the club. Now, it will be outside too, covering the parking lot.
Makuve says the club is also now requiring an application for membership so that they know who will be coming in ahead of time.
“That’ll weed out, and it has weeded out, a lot of the people that we don’t need. People that are troublemakers,” Makuve explained.
The space reopened mostly as it was before with some adjustments for mitigating coronavirus spread. There are tables now, all newly added in place of a dance floor, to keep groups spread out.
When winter months get long, Makuve turns on the dancing lights, adding, his goal has always been for the Sahara to be a positive addition to the city.
“We’re here to give the kids in Bismarck something to do,” he shared.
“You know, we know that this community is ravaged by drug use and all kind of different things, and you know, while we’re in this ecosystem, we want to be a part of this community and help the community.”
Right now, the Sahara is just on Saturdays but that will soon change to add Fridays as well.
The membership application can be found on the club’s Facebook page.