MOORHEAD—Jerry's Bar is gone, but the north Moorhead establishment will live on in a rockin' new fashion after a change in ownership.
Jerry's Original Music Club, 1500 11th St. N., had a soft opening earlier this week leading up to its first concert that starts at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3. The lineup includes Fargo bands Anomic and Chaos in Question as well as Version 5 out of Minneapolis.
Insidious, Filthy Sweet and October Rage will play the next night, and a big crowd is expected Saturday, Aug. 5, when rockers Drowning Pool headline a show.
Music gets a lot of attention at the new incarnation of Jerry's Bar, which was opened by Jerry and Vera Jean Keogh in 1960 and sold by the family on May 24 to business partners Scott Nelson and Steven Langstaff.
The duo previously worked together about a decade ago as landlords and property developers. They have 19 bands booked in August alone, and Langstaff said he was looking for a bar to host concerts.
But both said Jerry's aims to be more than just another venue in town because they won't charge a cover at most shows, ensuring it can be a bar first and foremost.
"I want this to be the blue collar during the day 'Cheers' bar of north Moorhead, but yet on the weekend, you can come and see some of your favorite bands," Langstaff said.
Music in Moorhead
Since going their separate ways, Langstaff started The Shop Productions, a company that allowed him to get an early glimpse at artists.
"I've done sound for some bands that are now on a national level out there touring, and I did sound for them and heard their music before anybody heard it," he said. "I want us to be that at night."
Langstaff, the general manager of Jerry's, said he's partial to rock music. That's why the early lineup features a lot of rockers, but he plans to bring in bands of all genres as well as DJs spinning a good mix of music.
Nelson is still in the property business, and said he was attracted to joining Langstaff when Jerry's Bar went on sale.
"It's a great location," he said, especially as traffic has increased when the former toll bridge connecting north Fargo and Moorhead became toll-free in 2015.
It also could help Moorhead get back into the live concert game, something Nelson said he remembers fondly when the city still had Kirby's and Ralph's Corner downtown.
"Moorhead was the place to go when I was young," he said. "It just seems like the right fit."
Nelson and Langstaff have made some big improvements in the past couple months to the bar's stage area. That whole side of the building has new flooring, a much-expanded stage and higher rafters above the stage.
Another upgrade is obvious during the day—Jerry's now has seven windows on the west side, a welcome addition to the formerly windowless business.
But longtime patrons will find plenty of familiar sights, including a largely untouched main bar area.
Nelson said they could add food options to the 21-and-over business down the road, but they'd have to remodel the kitchen first. They're also willing to host special events, such as the monthly drag shows and Mexican nights that the establishment was best known for in recent years, when it makes sense.
But the duo mostly want to make Jerry's Original Music Club a place to have fun, whether it's getting a low-key beer in the morning or enjoying a heavy metal concert with up to 300 other people at night.
"I want that atmosphere where people can come here and visit," Langstaff said.
What: Jerry's Original Music Club
Where: 1500 11th St. N., Moorhead
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday
Phone: (701) 936-0834