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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

River Rock Taphouse planning Friday opening in downtown Spokane

Mike Magee, co-owner of River Rock Taphouse, is busy with his team preparing to open Friday in the Spokane Chronicle building. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A new taphouse featuring local craft beer, wine and food is opening Friday in downtown Spokane.

Spokane couple Mike and Denise Magee have been working around the clock to open River Rock Taphouse at 926 W. Sprague Ave. in the former Spokane Daily Chronicle newspaper printing room.

The couple is transforming the 3,500-square-foot space on the Chronicle building’s first floor into a taphouse that will offer 32 craft beers, wine and ciders from local breweries and wineries. Beverages will be available to go in 32- and 64-ounce growlers.

“We are here to support local and regional brewers,” Mike Magee said. “There’s so much great local food and beverages, so we’ll try to source everything local that we can.”

The taphouse also will offer kombucha and a variety of appetizers, salads and main dishes.

Mike Magee, who has a background in the restaurant industry and used to brew craft beer, said he considered opening a brewery, but it would have been more expensive and required additional work and infrastructure.

The couple opted to use their savings to open a taphouse instead, he said.

“We thought we would sell beer from all of our local brewers, and it’s a good thing for them to have a place to display their product and creativity,” Mike Magee said. “I’m passionate about the beer that’s made in this area, and it’s changing all the time. It seems like on a monthly basis, we probably have another one or two breweries that pop up.”

Doug Byrd of Byrd Real Estate Group showed the couple several potential sites for River Rock Taphouse before they chose a space in the Chronicle building.

“We came in and it was pretty amazing – the core of it and the history behind it being the old Chronicle building,” Mike Magee said. “Having grown up in Spokane, for a short time, I delivered the Spokane Daily Chronicle. So it’s nice to be here.”

The couple worked with StartUp Spokane, SNAP, Washington Small Business Development Center and Centennial Properties to make their dream of opening a taphouse come to fruition.

Centennial Properties is owned by the Cowles Co., which also publishes The Spokesman-Review.

Spokane-based Local Enhancements LLC is remodeling the space, which will retain the building’s original tile pillars and molding. The bar is made from reclaimed maple wood sourced from trees on the South Hill.

River Rock Taphouse aims to feature local acoustic performers, new releases of beverages, trivia nights and tap takeovers from local brewers. The taphouse also has a special event room for gatherings such as birthday parties, holiday events, book clubs and sports events.

Although River Rock Taphouse is opening Friday, the Magees are holding an official grand opening weekend in mid-July with live music and tap takeovers.

Once River Rock Taphouse is open, the Magees plan to host community events.

“We plan to take the benefits of having a taphouse and put it back into the community through fundraisers,” Mike Magee said. “We just kind of feel it’s our calling to do that.”