Words & Deeds

A ‘massive change’ is coming where this Downtown Boise bar just closed: 2 new concepts

The bar formerly known as Fatty’s is about to bite off a bigger chunk of real estate.

A larger venue featuring two concepts — Karma nightclub and 8th St. Social Club — will open on the second floor of The Mode Building at 8th and Idaho streets. It could debut as soon as Halloween, co-owner Steve Masonheimer says.

“This will be the biggest remodel and relaunching of a bar ever in Boise, Idaho,” he says. “Our ultimate goal is to do something wow and big and different — and a massive change. Our ultimate goal is to create a fun, exciting environment.”

On Oct. 5, the Downtown dance club at 800 W. Idaho St. announced on Facebook that it would shutter at the end of the night. Fatty’s Bar ceased to exist this summer when the space was taken over by 8th St. Entertainment, which is owned by the Barros family and Masonheimer. After a short transition, the nightspot reopened under the 8th St. Entertainment name — but only temporarily. Under the direction of the Barros family and Masonheimer, the new concepts have been moving forward for months. “We’re now to the very final phase of the remodel where we need to shut down,” Masonheimer explains.

The project will cost about $300,000, he says, and involve about 10,000 square feet: roughly 4,000 for 8th St. Social Club, which is taking over space vacated last year by The North Face outdoor store, and about 6,000 for Karma nightclub in the longtime Fatty’s space.

“This isn’t going to be, ‘We’re painting some walls and we’re putting some flooring down,’ ” Masonheimer says. “We’re ripping out walls. We’re adding walls. We’re adding 20 VIP booths. We’re ripping out the bars, we’re putting in a massive new U-shaped bar. We’re completely redoing the flooring. We ripped out the entire DJ booth and are putting in a new stage. The girls bathroom is three times bigger. We’ll have a VIP bathroom.”

With upgraded lighting and sound equipment, Karma will provide a modern dancing and drinking destination for fans of music ranging from EDM to hip-hop. The bar’s name, Karma, reflects a goal to create an entertaining, safe environment, he adds. “The atmosphere we’re trying to create is, ‘Hey, Karma — treat people well when you come in. Everybody’s here to have a good time. Let’s create an amazing atmosphere.’ ”

At 8th St. Social Club, patrons will find a laid-back, lounge-style hangout, he says. It will include pool tables, shuffleboard, sports on TV and concession-style food. The area will be available for corporate events, too.

A 14-foot glass door will separate the two concepts. On a busy night, it might be rolled up to join the spaces, Masonheimer says.

After opening in 2010, Fatty’s carved out a niche with a young party demographic. Among Boise bars, it was the city’s 10th-largest liquor purchaser in fiscal 2019, according to data from the Idaho State Liquor Division. In 2018, Fatty’s made news by filing for bankruptcy during a legal dispute, but it remained open.

With Karma and 8th St. Social Club energizing curious crowds, a resurgence for the space seems inevitable.

This week, local artists are painting Freak Alley-style images in the stairwell leading up to the new concepts, Masonheimer says.

“Total reinvention,” he reiterates. “We want to make a big change. When you walk up the stairs, it will literally be like you’re walking into something you haven’t seen before.”

Online: facebook.com/8stent.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.