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Published December 28 2010

"Neighborhood bar" opens in Osgood

With staples like darts, blackjack and Big Buck Hunter, Bulldog Tap in south Fargo isn’t out to set any new trends.

Instead, it’s a faithful execution of a tried-and-true concept: big televisions, a full dance card of sports channels and a cozy atmosphere – all lubricated, of course, with a healthy selection of beer.

“Simple, simple, simple is kind of the idea,” said owner Dave Erickson. The bar, which opened last month, is Erickson’s second, following in the footsteps of the popular Dave’s Southside Tap in Moorhead.

Situated at the south end of the Shoppes at Osgood strip mall at 4265 45th St. S. in a largely residential area, Bulldog Tap is meant to be a neighborhood bar; patrons must be 21 to enter.

Erickson said he wanted a spot that was accessible to people who live and work in the still-developing Osgood area, where most commercial development is still trickling south from Interstate 94, two miles up 45th Street. The nearest bars – Fargo Billiards and Gastropub and Justy’s Bar & Barbecue in the clubhouse of the Osgood Golf Course – are both about a mile and a half away.

“If people want to do the whole downtown thing,” they’ve got to drive a little ways,” he said. “We kind of decided Osgood could use a bar.”

The bar occupies part of the former site of the Fargo Coffee Co., which left that location a year ago. At the time, the owner called the spot “a really bad location,” but the area has grown at a brisk pace since then.

Bulldog Tap is bigger than its Moorhead counterpart – the centerpiece of the interior is a sprawling 360-degree bar – but Erickson said the goal is to make it just as cozy. “It’s a place where hopefully people can feel comfortable,” he said.

The food menu features standard fare such as burgers, wings and a variety of sandwiches and appetizers. The drink menu includes a full liquor bar and 15 beers on tap, ranging from Bud Light to Bell’s Two Hearted Ale to a beer of the month voted on by customers.

“That sure seems to be the hot thing at the moment, people trying different microbrews,” Erickson said.

He started thinking about opening another business to supplement Dave’s Southside Tap about a year ago. He settled on a bar in Fargo when he learned the city had a liquor license available.

He kept the “tap” in the name of the new venue to foster brand recognition, but dropped the “Dave.” “I wanted to kind of separate my name from the business,” Erickson said. Instead, he named the new bar in honor of his own French bulldog, Reggie (although neither the photos of bulldogs inside the bar nor the logo, which depicts an English bulldog, bear Reggie’s likeness).

“He has his own bar, too, now, I guess,” Erickson said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502