Country bar in the works at former troubled nightclub spot in downtown Minneapolis

November 12, 2018

A country-western bar is slated to move into a downtown Minneapolis nightclub address that has had its share of troubles over the years.

What used to be the longtime club Karma at 315 1st Av. N. closed in 2011 after the city declared it a public nuisance for a slate of robberies, shootings, assaults against police officers and other violence in or near the club.

More recently, the site was home to Priv, a nightclub and music venue that hosted big name hip-hop performers like Cardi B, Migos, Gucci Mane, Mobb Deep, Scarface and Snoop Dogg. (Cardi B got some flak for an underwhelming appearance at the club on Super Bowl weekend.) Priv closed in September.

Now, a Vadnais Heights city councilman is bringing new life to the address with Wild Gregs, a country-themed nightclub.

Itll be very different from its former occupants, said owner Greg Urban.

Urban is currently applying for a liquor license, and hopes to open the venue by mid-December.

The concept and the theme is country dancing, line dancing and things of that sort which are unique [in] Minneapolis, Urban said. The city does not have a location that has that now.

Cowboy Jacks a couple of blocks away (126 N. 5th St.) is more of a restaurant, Urban explained. I think my bar will be a destination. I think we will add to the momentum of downtown.

Urbans two-story nightclub will focus on country music (including free line dancing lessons twice a week) on the first floor. The second floor will be a Top 40 dance club. Urban also plans to bring in national live-music acts periodically.

This isnt Urbans first rodeo.

He also owns two Wild Gregs Saloons in Florida (Lakeland and Pensacola).

His Pensacola club made local headlines for a string of alleged assaults at the venue. Urban was one of a handful of staffers arrested; authorities claimed he was misleading police in their investigation. There were no convictions related to the incidents, and Urban maintains that his business was targeted because he is from Minnesota.

Those were quite the news stories, he said. They certainly dont look good.

Urban was appointed to the Vadnais Heights City Council in 2017, and just won re-election to a four-year term last week. He previously served on the citys planning commission.

Urban said hes aware of the bad reputation of his new venue. But our concept, by nature with the country saloon, it brings in a nice crowd, he said.

The jury is still out on whether there will be a mechanical bull.

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