Business

The old Turners bar on State Street closed. See what these new owners plan to do next

Yes, this bar’s new name was inspired by an ACHD project.

Turner’s Sportsfair, the three-generation tackle shop and cocktail lounge, will re-open this fall with a new name.
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Turner’s Sportsfair, the three-generation tackle shop and cocktail lounge, will re-open this fall with a new name.

As tributes go, the name Brad Fahey and Susan Quintana chose for their soon-to-open watering hole is one part straightforward and one part a little odd.

First, the straightforward part. They’re calling their new establishment The Turn, and they hope to pour the first local beer there sometime this fall. They’ve taken over the building formerly known as Turner’s Sportsfair, a landmark, multigenerational, one-time dive bar and fishing tackle emporium. The Turn. Get it?

Now for the confounding part. The Turn is also a nod to — wait for it — the Ada County Highway District and its never-ending State Street construction. Because ACHD is building the region’s first, and so far only, thru-U turn (ACHD calls it a ThrU-Turn) at the intersection of State, 36th Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway a few blocks east of the bar.

Fahey, standing beneath a marquee reading “The Turn Open — Soon,” said, “It kind of brings Turner’s name into it a little bit with the thru here on State Street. It kind of fits right in with what’s going on on State Street.”

Quintana, speaking up to be heard over cars and construction Tuesday morning: “They’re getting rid of the left turn in traffic. The left turn at the light is, now, you go through the light and loop around and take a right.”

Fahey: “You’ve got U turns instead of left-hand turns.”

Which isn’t a bad description of what will ultimately face State Street drivers as they head for a drink at The Turn once tavern and intersection are open for business. (Hopefully, they’ll have someone sober to escort them home afterward.)

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Before: The bar at Turner’s Sportsfair in April, about a month before the nearly 80-year-old business closed its doors. And after? Brad Fahey and Susan Quintana, owners of the newly named The Turn, have a strict pre-opening-day rule: No pictures. Maria L. La Ganga mlaganga@idahostatesman.com

Here’s ACHD’s official description of how the thru-U turn will work: “Instead of turning left at the intersection, left-turn traffic on State Street will: Continue through the intersection. Perform a U-turn at a downstream traffic signal. Head back toward the intersection. Make a right turn.”

Fahey and Quintana figure the new configuration will offer easy access to The Turn, which is scheduled to open right around their wedding day. That’s a good thing, because they hope to woo back all of Turner’s clientele and attract new customers at the same time.

John Turner put his double-barreled business up for sale last October. He was the third-generation proprietor, and there was no fourth generation to take his spot behind the cash register. The fishing gear store at the front of the building closed in early May. The dark little bar at the back poured its last drink on May 12.

Turner sold the property –an acre-or-so lot with Sportsfair and a duplex on it – to Michael Meuret, co-owner and co-founder of a Boise-based chain of automotive oil-change shops called Einstein’s Oilery. Price tag: $675,000 for the land and both buildings. Turner’s liquor license went to Albertsons for $180,000, so the the Boise-based supermarket chain could open a bar called Broadway on the Rocks at its tony new outlet at 1219 Broadway Ave.

Demolition of the duplex began Monday. By Tuesday, the rickety old house was a pile of broken lumber. An Einstein’s outlet will take its place.

That leaves the 3,500-square-foot combo store and bar, which Meuret leased to Fahey and Quintana in burst of serendipity.

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Brad Fahey, who owns an automotive business, and Susan Quintana, a freelance web writer, have taken over the landmark dive bar, Turner’s Sportsfair, and hope to reopen in the fall. “We want to sort of invite the local breweries, the local wineries and feature their drinks and also open up some wall space to local artists,” Quintana said. Maria L. La Ganga mlaganga@idahostatesman.com

Meuret “came in to get the keys from John one day, and I just happened to be sitting at the bar next to him,” recounted Fahey, a former Turner’s regular and the owner of Al’s Car Care at 16th and Grove streets. “I said, ‘What’s going on? What’re you doing with this place?’ And I went home, and we were talking about it: ‘Why don’t we see if we can get it, reopen it back up and do our own thing?’ ”

Fahey and Quintana’s original plan was to have a kind of beer and wine tasting room. But they soon decided just to update the dated original bar, which is a challenge in its own right.

The woven rattan back bar has been cleaned up and will remain. So will the matching bar top. The couple ripped up the dingy carpet, tore out the trellis that hung over patrons as they sipped well bourbon and Pabst Blue Ribbon, took down the Christmas lights, pulled out the dark wood paneling and painted the cinder-block walls in shades of tasteful gray.

The 39-year-olds talk over each other when they describe their plans, finishing each other’s sentences, creating a kind of echo effect.

Quintana, a freelance web writer: “We’re not going to have a liquor license at first.”

Fahey: “So we’re going to run beer and wine.”

Quintana: “Have horseshoe competitions. We’re looking into getting that, since we have that out back.”

Fahey: “We have two horseshoe pits. We’re going to have the sports theme, the Idaho theme. We’ve got a couple of ideas for putting up some different pictures on the wall of like, fly fishing and kayaking and rock climbing and stuff, just kind of keeping an outdoor sports bar kind of a deal.”

Quintana: “Local theme.”

Fahey: “Pub.”

Maria L. La Ganga: 208-377-6431, @marialaganga
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