The term “scofflaw” was coined during Prohibition to describe someone who drank illegally.
Nowadays, it simply means any brazen lawbreaker, but Bryan Harkey, who is opening Scofflaw’s Books in downtown Spokane, hopes it becomes synonymous with high-end cocktails and a fake book club.
“It’s going to be a speakeasy, as much as you can do a speakeasy on Riverside and Washington,” Harkey said of the bar he’s opening in the American Legion Building at 108 N. Washington St. in downtown Spokane. The bar will be on the building’s south side, facing Riverside Avenue, next to the Unforgiven Lounge.
To enter the bar, Harkey is building a false-front bookcase to greet visitors. To enter the bar, they’ll have to pull a book out of the case, which will swing open to reveal the bar.
“I wanted to make it unique,” Harkey said.
Scofflaw will be focused on spirits, with only three beers on tap. Harkey promised a “couple hundred types of whiskey.”
“A lot of booze. That’s what I’ve done for a long time. I love to walk into a bar and just look at what they have,” he said, adding that he will also have three cocktails on tap, which will be “a little bit cheaper” than the rest of the offerings.
Harkey has worked at numerous local bars in recent years, including the old Blvd Tavern on Spokane Falls Boulevard, the former MarQuee Lounge, Press, Zola and Wave Island Sports Grill and Sushi Bar.
Harkey began work on opening his own bar in November, and now says he anticipates an Aug. 1 opening. In the meantime, the raw space is still being converted. He’s having custom booths and tabletops made to fit into the tight space, which is about 1,100 square feet, with a capacity for 50 people.
The bar will not have a kitchen or its own bathrooms. It will share restroom space with Unforgiven and LeftBank Wine Bar, which are in the same building. It will have “bar snacks, and I may work with a couple local purveyors to get charcuterie boards,” Harkey said.
True Temper Building, of Spokane, is doing the interior renovation, valued at $50,000. HDG Architecture, also of Spokane, designed the project.
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