Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, December 8, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 32° Clear
News >  Business

The Dirt: Owner preparing Scofflaw’s Books, a bar in the speak-easy style, coming to downtown Spokane

UPDATED: Tue., July 16, 2019

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 speak-easy, as much as you can do a speak-easy 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.

The interior renovation, valued at $50,000, is being done by True Temper Building, of Spokane. It was designed by HDG Architecture, also of Spokane.

Beer and golf themes will mix at Flatstick Pub

The windows are covered and work has begun in earnest on downtown Spokane’s Flatstick Pub, a casual craft beer pub with a nine-hole miniature golf course, according to city permit data.

Permits for work valued at $700,000 have been issued for interior improvements at The M building, 612 W. Main Ave., the former Macy’s building that was largely converted into residential space.

The pub is taking the westernmost ground-floor space in the building, which is nearly 10,000 square feet.

Spokane natives and brothers Sam and Andy Largent founded Flatstick Pub in Kirkland, Washington, in 2014. They’ve since opened locations in Pioneer Square and South Lake Union in Seattle, with another expected to open in Tacoma this year.

Besides mini-golf, the pub will feature golf-themed games invented by the Largents. Duffleboard is a tabletop golf game with a hand-held putter. Stick Putt is like Skee Ball with a putter. Ball Jockey is similar to air hockey.

The project’s general contractor is Baker Construction, of Spokane. It was designed by Atelier Drome Architecture, of Seattle.

WSECU credit union to fill Aces Casino site

The former Aces Casino building on Division Street and Francis Avenue in north Spokane has been demolished to make way for a branch of WSECU, an Olympia-based credit union with branches in Spokane, Spokane Valley and Medical Lake.

The property has changed hands multiple times in the past two decades but was most recently purchased by Robert and Norma Jean Baker in November 2018 for $400,000 through their company Bluebird Investments LLC.

The casino had occupied the prominent barnlike building since 2005. The building was constructed in 1974 as a Country Cousins restaurant.

The site has been a gas station before. Historic photographs archived at the Museum of Arts and Culture show the intersection in 1949, when Francis was gravel. The B and J Service Station, which occupied a two-story houselike building, stood where Circle K is going in on the intersection’s northwest corner. A handwritten sign said “Fish Worms.” Another gas station – Mobilgas – stood on the southwest corner.

In 1955, as Division became more developed, the gas station remained but was then a Richfield. By 1967, the northwest corner had a Burgerhaus Carry Out restaurant, which served burgers and milkshakes.

This article was corrected on July 16. The business that will replace the former Aces Casino building, which was demolished, is a branch of WSECU, an Olympia-based credit union with branches in Spokane, Spokane Valley and Medical Lake.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email