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Spokane’s best 15 cocktail lounges, plus a few honorable mentions

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 12, 2017, 3:23 p.m.

If you’re looking to begin or end an evening on the town with a well-crafted cocktail, you’ve got options.

Spokane boasts a growing list of lounges where guests can sip a quality cocktail and receive excellent service from knowledgeable bartenders who press their own fruit for fresh juice and make use of – often housemade – flavorful bitters, syrups and herbs in their concoctions.

Here’s where to go for cocktails in Spokane.

Hogwash Whiskey Den

Exposed brick and wooden beams add to the ambiance at this dimly-lighted basement bar in the old Washington Cracker Co. building. Most of the wood in this speak-easy-esque establishment is reclaimed. The vibe is dark, masculine and den-ish – with booths, exposed masonry and pipes, and low-slung ceilings. Weekends, the place gets crowded. Come early, if you can, and chat with cocktail connoisseur Simon Moorby, who oversees the bar program and is particular about all of his ingredients, including ice. His preparation is thoughtful and he’s willing to share his knowledge. You can’t go wrong with his Old-Fashioned, unless you’re hoping for muddled orange and cherries. He’ll garnish with an orange twist, and that’s it. Look for rotating seasonal sips and classic cocktails such as the Scofflaw, Boulevardier, Manhattan and Sazerac. In winter, ask Moorby to make his Peated Tea, a smoky toddy with lemon, apple brandy, orange bitters, honey syrup and thyme-coriander liqueur. 304 W. Pacific Ave. drinkhogwash.com.

Durkin’s Liquor Bar

The restaurant upstairs is done like an American diner in the 1930s. Think subway and penny tile, a tin ceiling, dark booths and custom wallpaper with a vintage feel. The lounge downstairs could be your grandmother’s basement, if your grandmother was young and hip and it was 80 years ago. There’s vintage-inspired wallpaper down here, too, along exposed bricks and beams, estate-sale furniture finds and tattooed, suspendered and bearded bartenders. They’ll fix you a classic cocktail or a housemade creation. Try a Brass Flower, with gin, St. Germain, grapefruit bitters and bubbly. Or, opt for a Smoke and Choke, with Cynar, Laphroig, lemon oil and brown sugar cordial. Weekends it can be difficult to find a seat. 415 W. Main Ave. (509) 863-9501. durkinsliquorbar.com.

Volstead Act

This downtown bar, named for the law that launched Prohibition, is done in black and white with red accents. The south wall sports an enlargement of the front page of a vintage newspaper with the headline: “U.S. Voted Dry.” This contemporary cocktail lounge celebrates pre-Prohibition-style libations with house-pressed juices, housemade syrups, fresh herbs and garnishes, and plenty of rum, gin and whiskey. Vodka is available, but it isn’t a mainstay; the clear spirit didn’t become popular until Prohibition ended in 1933. (There’s Fireball and Redbull, too. Just ask. Volstead Act isn’t snobbish.) The Bugsy features rye, Averna, simple syrup, plum bitters and orange peel. Fireside Cider includes Aperol, Lillet Blanc, ginger, orange, hot apple cider, cranberry bitters and sauce, and cinnamon. Rosemary’s Dream is one of the bar’s vodka drinks – with Aperol, rosemary simple syrup, grapefruit and grapefruit peel. 12 N. Post St. (509) 808-2516. volsteadactspokane.com.

Bon Bon

Come here for happy hour and stay for trivia, bingo or a movie. The Bon Bon, a little gem of a bar at the historic Garland Theater, is cozy and eclectic. Film reels double as tables and light fixtures. Popcorn is served in glass bowls. Movies are $5 most days. Wednesdays, they are half price. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to close Friday and Saturday. Sunday, it’s happy hour all day. The vibe is casual and hip but not too cool for school. People here are friendly. The Peary Manilow – pear gin, lemon, ginger, simple syrup and ginger beer – goes down easy. So does the Carda-Bomb, made with vodka, grapefruit, lemon, simple syrup, ginger beer and cardamom. 926 W. Garland Ave. (509) 413-1745. garlandtheater.com/bon-bon.

Boots Bakery and Lounge

This vegan and gluten-free bakery does double duty as a cocktail lounge with whimsical vibe. Booths are fashioned from antique wooden doors. Old blenders are light fixtures. Worn wooden floors add to the eclectic boho ambiance. Expect freshly squeezed juices and an extensive selection of liqueurs and spirits. But, according to its website – click “booze” – “If you require at least three types of bitters in your drink, you’ve come to the wrong place. Your bartender at Boots won’t be spanking mint over your Mojito or whispering sweet nothings at your Negroni.” August 1974 features vodka, vermouth, Solerno, Luxardo, agave, lemon and Angostura bitters. Sunshine – vodka, freshly squeezed citrus juice and St. Germain – tastes like summer. 24 W. Main Ave. (509) 703-7223. bootsbakery.com.

Safari Room

This swanky hotel bar, outfitted in elegant animal prints, is hopping for happy hour, which takes place daily – even on the weekends – from 4 to 6 p.m. It’s open seating, and it fills up fast. That’s because drinks and flatbreads are 50 percent off. Try a St. Safari with St. Germain and a tomato-pesto or Thai chicken flatbread. Davenport Hotel Tower, 111 S. Post St. (509) 789-6800. davenporthotelcollection.com/our-hotels/the-davenport-tower/dining.

Ruins

This eatery and lounge in a low-slung blue building on North Monroe Street offers vintage art-deco diner vibes and well-crafted cocktails. Menu items here – from both the bar and the kitchen – are creative and eclectic. They also change frequently, which keeps things interesting. 825 N. Monroe St. (509) 443-5606. facebook.com/ruins.spokane.

Butcher Bar at Sante

Sante, in the historic Liberty Building, is the flagship restaurant of Spokane restaurateur power couple Kate and Jeremy Hansen, who also own Hogwash Whiskey Den, among other downtown offerings. Here, the ambiance, like Butcher Bar’s cocktails, is sophisticated yet approachable. Come in for a craft cocktail before dinner. Or just come in for cocktails. But note: this is not a late-night place. The restaurant and bar are typically closed by 10 p.m. 404 W. Main Ave. (509) 315-4613. santespokane.com.

Rain Lounge

This brick-lined lounge, situated across the street from The Fox and adjacent to Scratch Restaurant, is popular pre- and post-theater as well as Monday and Tuesday, when it’s happy hour all day. Also popular: its late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to close Wednesday through Saturday. The signature Rain Drop Martini – citrus vodka, lemon, simple syrup, Blue Curacao – is on special during happy hour. So is draft beer. Cocktails here are creative. And the kitchen is open late. 1009 W. First Ave. (509) 456-5656. rainspokane.com.

Sapphire Lounge

Happy hour at this contemporary but cozy bar at the Hotel Ruby is one of Spokane’s best cocktail secrets. The timing is right: from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday so people with day jobs with regular hours can still partake in the special pricing. Friday, it’s even better; it starts at 4. Sunday, it lasts all day. Look for $5 flatbreads, $4 well drinks, $3 off menu drinks and $2 off beer and wine. Signature cocktails include the Rosemary Gimlet with gin, rosemary agave and fresh lime. Smoke and Fears is Cynar, absinthe, lemon and Macallan 12-year-old single malt scotch. 901 W. First Ave. (509) 747-1041 sapphireloungespokane.com.

Bistango

During happy hour – 4 to 6 p.m. daily – select martinis are on special at this lounge, established in 2005 in the heart of downtown Spokane. Specialties include mojitos in assorted flavors: classic, apple, jalapeno, mango, passion fruit, pomegranate and watermelon. The Huckleberry Martini – with citrus vodka, lemon and huckleberry – is popular. Look, also, for the Bistango Cocktail with tequila and hibiscus. Thursday is “Ladies’ Night,” with happy hour all night for women. 108 N. Post St. (509) 624-8464. bistangolounge.com.

Twigs

This growing Spokane-based bistro-and-martini-bar chain has several nearby locations. The flagship, on the third floor of River Park Square, features a 1,200-square-foot landing overlooking the mall’s atrium and heart of the city. Fare is casual, modern and American. Martinis have names such as Razitini, Sexy-Tini, Bellini Tini, Caramel Appletini, Kosmonaut, Kinky-G, Cucumber-Lime-Basil-Kazi and Chocolate Kiss. Find a location at twigsbistro.com.

Churchill’s

A professional piano player adds to the ambiance every night of the week beginning at 6 p.m. or, at 5 p.m. on Sundays, in the downstairs lounge in this dignified steakhouse, reminiscent of establishments you might find in Chicago or New York City. 165 S. Post St. (509) 474-9888. churchillssteakhouse.com.

Masselow’s

The casually elegant lounge, set around a contemporary fire feature in the foyer at Northern Quest Resort and Casino, offers classic cocktails and innovative creations. Look for the Grapefruit and Basil Martini with vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit and basil. Or, opt for the Huckleberry Martini with huckleberry vodka, huckleberry puree, Chambord and sour mix. Small plates from the restaurant are available. So is lodging upstairs. 100 N. Hayford Road in Airway Heights. (509) 481-6020. masselows.com/lounge.

Bardenay

The cocktail list is extensive at this restaurant and distillery overlooking Riverstone Pond in Coeur d’Alene. Many beverages here are made with Bardenay’s own vodka, gin, rum or lemon vodka. Look for a Huckleberry Lemon Drop, Bardenay House Martini, Key Lime Martini and something called a Stormcloud with Kahlua, Bardenay vodka, Frangelico, Bailey’s, light creme de cocoa, cream and Rumple Minze. 1710 W. Riverstone Drive, Coeur d’Alene. (208) 765-1540. bardenay.com.


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