Turn out the lights, the party's over for Borrowed Bucks in Bismarck

The popular nightspot, the last of the concept in North and South Dakota, "had its run," one of the owners told The Forum.

Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse, 118 S. 3rd St., Bismarck, closed for good on Wednesday, Jan. 11,
Contributed / The Bismarck Tribune
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BISMARCK — The party’s over at Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse.

The nightspot at 118 S. 3rd St. in Bismarck closed for good on Wednesday, Jan. 11, the last of four that had operated in North and South Dakota.

Warren Ackley, one of the owners of Fargo-based Global Development, said Thursday, Jan. 12, that he and his partners, Randy Thorson, and Brad Erickson (who was also general manager of the Bismarck location), decided that it was time to move on.

“With that one I just wanted to go out when we were on top. It’s still the No. 1 nightclub in Bismarck. It always has been for the last 30 years and our manager (Erickson) was just getting old and wanted to retire, and I’m old enough and Randy’s old enough that we decided that we just don’t want to do that anymore out there,” Ackley said.

“There’s no other Bucks. That’s the only other Bucks left. So it was just time to say, ‘Turn out the lights!’ So that’s what we did,” Ackley said.


The concept was still strong, he said

“That place was busy. It was full every weekend. The business was there, absolutely,” Ackley said. “It was very strong in Bismarck.”

But the partners have no intention to franchise the concept, either.

“No, we're going to call it good. It had its run. …. Let’s see, the first one was 31 years ago, then we did one in Sioux Falls and then we did one in Bismarck, and then one in Grand Forks,” he said. “It’s just time for us to do something different.”

Ackley said the property will be sold. Potential buyers can contact him at Global Development.

“It’s a great piece of property, an A-plus location, and on two acres of land in downtown Bismarck. It’s just time to see what somebody thinks that’s worth,” he said. “If they want to run it as a bar, they sure can, because they can just step right in there and have a full house right away,” he said.

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The bar, known for drinks and dancing, announced the closure via Facebook Wednesday afternoon, May 25.

An auction will be held in March to sell the nightspot’s memorabilia and equipment.

A news release from the partners thanked the nightspots’ customers, vendors, employees and managers.


“You all made Bucks an extraordinary place to have a good time! We’re going to miss seeing you all on a regular basis,” the release said. “At Borrowed Bucks we’ve always held the mantra that it’s “Cool to be Country” and we always wanted to “Save the Wild Life”.

One of the nightspot’s most popular fundraising events was Bucks for Bras.

“Together we raised over half a million dollars for the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation with this annual event!” the release said.

The Fargo Borrowed Bucks at 1201 Westrac Drive closed in June 2022. The Sioux Falls bar closed in 2017, and the Grand Forks location closed in 2016.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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