You have the tickets. Now you need a reservation.
And the restaurant, well, it should be within walking distance of the venue.
Dinner and a show is a classic combination. And one of the keys to pre-theater dining – or post-performance drinks or dessert or both – is having to park the car only once.
Spokane has plenty to offer within a few blocks of its largest venues. This is where to go pre- and post-theater in downtown Spokane.
Near the Bing Crosby Theater, Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox and Knitting Factory
Scratch and Rain: This restaurant and lounge sits directly across from the Fox and grew alongside the reinvention of the theater. Scratch opened just days before the 1931 art deco theater reopened in 2007 after a major renovation. Several signature menu items haven’t changed since then, including the popular “grown-up” grilled cheese with pear, bacon and basil. Theater-goers can catch happy hour at Rain before or after the show, if they plan it right. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Wednesday through Saturday (and all day Monday and Tuesday). 1005 and 1007 W. First Ave. (509) 456-5656. scratchspokane.com and www.facebook.com/RainSpokane.
Steam Plant Kitchen and Brewery: The restaurant at one of Spokane’s most iconic properties recently reopened after an almost seven-month closure and $4 million renovation. Built in 1916, the highly recognizable former steam works – with its twin stacks rising 225 feet above downtown – has housed a restaurant and bar since 1999. Its new, streamlined menu features approachable yet elevated modern American fare. Mains include rotisserie chicken, wood-grilled salmon, a bone-in pork chop, Coca-Cola-braised beef ribs and smoked salmon carbonara. Sandwiches, salads, shareables and wood-fired pizza – including a classic margherita and a Granny Smith apple and fig – round out the menu. 159 S. Lincoln St. (509) 777-3900. steamplantspokane.com.
Wild Sage American Bistro: The specialty here is seasonal, elegant, scratch-made Inland Northwest cuisine: Silver Creek rainbow trout with a Meyer lemon glaze and ancient grain pilaf, pepper-rubbed Kurobuta pork tenderloin with a brandy-and-green-peppercorn demi glace, steelhead and crab with a tomato-caper relish. Start with a craft cocktail and try not to fill up on the complimentary – and completely wonderful – mini popovers with honey-lavender butter. You’ll want to save room for the signature creme brulee or Soon-to-Be Famous Coconut Cream Layer Cake. Wild Sage is popular, and seats fill up fast on weekends and performance nights. Reservations are highly recommended. 916 W. Second Ave. (509) 456-7575. wildsagebistro.com.
Twigs: The flagship location of this growing Spokane-based bistro-and-martini-bar chain sits on the third floor of River Park Square and features a 1,200-square-foot landing that overlooks the mall’s atrium and heart of the city. Starters include loaded waffle fries, bruschetta flatbread and Twigs’ signature crab-and-artichoke dip. Time it right, and you could go for happy hour before and after the show. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6p.m. and 9 p.m. to close daily. 808 W. Main Ave. (509) 232-3376. twigsbistro.com.
Palm Court Grill and Peacock Lounge: Enjoy a side of history along with pre-theater drinks and noshes. Seating for the Palm Court Grill is available in the gilded lobby of the Historic Davenport Hotel, built in 1914 across the street from the Bing. Choose from a menu of classic and hearty American fare, including the signature crab Louis salad, grilled king salmon with huckleberry sauce and five-course, $50 prix fixe Titanic menu, available through May 20. Or, opt for a table in the lounge where dark wallpaper carries images of its namesake bird. Expect a large selection of cocktails to accompany the signature Cougar Gold Cheese Dip. Note: The Safari Room at the hotel’s sister establishment, the nearby Davenport Tower, features flatbreads and myriad cocktails, too. Historic Davenport: 10 S. Post St. (509) 789-6848. Davenport Tower: 111 S. Post St. (509) 789-6800. davenporthotelcollection.com.
A few more: On the menu at Churchill’s Steakhouse: high-quality steaks that will put a dent in your pocketbook. 165 S. Post St. (509) 474-9888. churchillssteakhouse.com. Tamarack Public House sits across the street from the Bing and Fox, and shows tend to bring in more customers. 912 W. Sprague Ave. (509) 315-4846. tamarackpublichouse.com. Red pepper tortellini is a specialty at Europa, which has an Old-World feel. 125 S. Wall St. (509) 455-4051. facebook.com/europa.pizzaria/.
Near the INB Performing Arts Center
Table 13: Small plates are the focus at this restaurant, located inside the Davenport Grand Hotel. Shareables, or tapas dishes, make up most of the menu: farmer’s cheese and Medjool dates, ahi tuna poke with avocado mousse and Walla Walla onion, prime rib sliders, burrata cheese and beets, lamb meatballs, shoestring potatoes, Korean short ribs, street-style tacos. But, there are some regular-sized entrees as well as extensive wine and whiskey selections. 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (509) 598-4200. davenporthotelcollection.com.
Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie: Start with a quality craft cocktail in the restaurant’s Butcher Bar, where you might also opt to share the charcuterie platter, a house specialty. It could serve as a pre-theater snack if you don’t have time for a full-length dinner. But consider arriving early enough to have the entire experience. The emphasis here is high-quality, scratch-made and seasonal Inland Northwest cuisine with attention to detail and employ of traditional culinary techniques. 404 W. Main Ave. (509) 315-4613. santespokane.com.
Mizuna: Vegetarian and vegan options are always available. The menu features Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Inland Northwest influences. Mains include Moroccan chickpea tagine, pan-seared duck breast and sesame-crusted, seared ahi salad. 214 N. Howard St. (509) 747-2004. mizuna.com.
Steelhead Bar and Grille: Tasty pub fare is on the menu in this longtime downtown favorite. Look for various burgers and entrees, including their signature Steelhead fillet herb butter and a variety of appetizers. Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. daily and 9 p.m. to close Monday-Thursday. During warmer months, opt to sit in the alley that Steelhead shares with Mizuna. 218 N. Howard St. (509) 747-1303. steelheadbarandgrille.com.
Wiley’s Downtown Bistro: The former Herbal Essence Cafe has a new owner, new look, new menu and new name. Proprietor and chef Michael Wiley bought the business just more than a year ago and accepts reservations from INB ticket holders. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are noted on the menu, which features a mix of American and European-inspired fare. Clam chowder is the soup staple. Look for a mix of salads and hand-helds as well as entrees such as duck confit, prawn linguini, chicken linguini and braised short ribs with rosemary and green peppercorns. 115 N. Washington St. (509) 838-4600. wileysbistro.com.
A few more: Done in the style of a vintage American diner with dark tall-back booths and a basement lounge, Durkin’s Liquor Bar offers craft cocktails and a selection of small plates, eggs, sandwiches and entrees. 415 W. Main St. (509) 863-9501. www.durkinsliquorbar.com. Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops is a traditional hotel steak and chop house. At DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Spokane City Center, 322 N. Spokane Falls Court. (509) 455-9600. doubletree3.hilton.com. The Onion has been a Spokane institution since 1978. It’s family friendly and serves classic American fare in a casual setting. 302 W. Riverside Ave. (509) 747-3852. theonion.biz. Share the “Tower of Italy” at Italian Kitchen, which offers classic Italian specialties such as gnocchi, eggplant Parmesan and the multi-tiered appetizer of pan-seared calamari, stuffed mushrooms and roasted garlic focaccia. 113 N. Bernard St. (509) 363-1210. italiankitchenspokane.com.
Near the Spokane Arena
Ruins: Located in a vintage 1930s diner, Ruins, named for a Japanese psychedelic noise rock band and the state of affairs in which chef and owner Tony Brown found the place, has become not only a neighborhood bar and eatery but a destination for foodies and craft cocktail enthusiasts. Menus change fairly frequently. Plates are thoughtful, fun and well-crafted – and are intentionally on the smaller side. Be warned, Ruins seats 36 and doesn’t take reservations. 825 N. Monroe St. (509) 443-5606. www.facebook.com/ruins.spokane.
The Blackbird Tavern and Kitchen: This contemporary restaurant with a Southern twist specializes in smoky fare and generous portions. Located in the historic Broadview Dairy building just north of downtown, Blackbird pays homage to executive chef Molly Patrick’s Georgia roots. Look for smoked turkey and dumplings, smoked and roasted chicken, smoked, candied and roasted ribeye, and the amazing Mi Mi burger with smoked shoulder bacon, candied bacon, white cheddar and a pinch of pea shoots. 905 N. Washington St. (509) 392-4000. theblackbirdspokane.com.
Viking: This longtime dive bar reopened last year with new owners and a distinctly non-divey vibe. There are 24 taps, a full bar specializing in craft cocktails and a menu of upscale pub fare, including chicken wings by the pound, fried pickles, salads, wraps, sandwiches and burgers – as well as gluten-free and vegan options. Bonus: it’s open late. 1221 N. Stevens St. (509) 326-6241. spokaneviking.com.
David’s Pizza: Pizza comes in medium and large at David’s, located across the street from the Arena. Choose from 11 different combinations, including the Elvis with spicy Thai peanut sauce, chicken, green onion, and red and yellow peppers. Hot sandwiches and Italian-inspired offerings – stromboli, calzones, bread sticks, garlic-cheese bread – round out the menu. 803 W. Mallon Ave. (509) 483-7460. www.davidspizza.com.
Flour Mill: The old Flour Mill, located across the street from the Arena at 621 W. Mallon St., is home to several options.
Dishes are served with injera, a spongey crepe-like bread that’s made from teff and naturally gluten free at Queen of Sheba, an authentic and intimate Ethiopian restaurant which has only has eight tables. Tibs, a beef stir-fry with onions and greens peppers, is a top-seller. (509) 328-3958. www.queenofshebaspokane.com.
Clinkerdagger has been a Spokane favorite for more than 40 years. Fare is classic American, with a mix of salads, seafood, pasta and surf-and-turf combination plates. The rock salt roasted prime rib is a signature dish. So is the Broadway Pea Salad with bacon and a creamy pepper dressing. (509) 328-5965. clinkerdagger.com.
Ho Ho Teriyaki Chicken is an unassuming, no-frills spot with daily specials, stir-fries, egg rolls, tempura veggies, teriyaki plates, pot stickers and steamed rice. (509) 326-6344.
And last but not least: Don’t rule out dining at the arena itself. A food court with contemporary food options recently opened along the venue’s north concourse with four new concession stands. The Market offers pizza, burgers, hot sandwiches and Asian-inspired noodles in bowls and wraps. A new 16-tap beer, cider and wine anchors the space. Additional options include street-style tacos and, of course, the traditional arena hot dog. 720 W. Mallon Ave. (509) 279-7000 spokanearena.com.