Midnight Oasis: "The Cactus Is Our Friend" 

Risking life and limb, I ventured downtown late, late, late on a Saturday night to the newly-reopened, rumored-to-be-remodeled Cactus Bar. True on the former with only a half-truth on the latter, I found myself in the mostly familiar digs of a bar that's been a Boise mainstay for decades. Confirming the old adage, "if it ain't broke don't fix it," the recent remodel has thus far only included the removal of the carpet and a the full-on status of the lights over the pool table. And neither change has diminished the size of the Saturday night crowd, the size of which, however, was not justification enough to wait as long as we did for cocktails while the male bartender poured drinks like it was his first time ever in a bar much less behind one. Good thing his female coworker could not only out pour him with one hand tied behind her back but ran circles around him.

Aside from the bare concrete floor, the two most noticeable differences between the new cactus and the old are the addition of a fenced-in alley patio and a line of black straps hanging from some heavy duty ceiling hooks (for hanging onto during the bar-top dance-off, of course). The crazy contingent is still well represented, the drinks are still reasonably cheap (two beers and two shots put me back $11.50) and that trademark neon cactus still lights up the bar. Change is on the make, however, and thanks to new management, both new drink specials and a new look--including a much needed remodel of the less-than-lovely-lavs--are forthcoming. Stay tuned ... sounds like a follow-up evaluation will be in order.

The Cactus Bar, 517 W. Main St., 342-9732

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