Craft breweries rightfully receive a lot of attention and accolades from beer fans. We obviously love them here in the Pacific Northwest, but, amid all the hype and praise we shower on our favorite breweries, people sometimes forget about another great entry point into the world of craft beer: the local beer bar.
At their best, local beer bars are one-stop shops for people to experience a huge variety of beer, and the owners and staff of these establishments have just as much love for beer as any brewer. So, in honor of National Beer Day on Wednesday, we celebrate these unsung heroes of the craft beer world with a list of some great locally owned beer bars to check out. Cheers!
This East Sprague gem has an expansive and frequently changing tap list that features local and regional favorites. Owners T.J. and Sarah Wallin have many connections in Portland, which makes Community Pint a great place to find pints and cans from popular Portland area breweries like Great Notion, Ruse, Wayfinder and many others.
Major changes are in store for Community Pint this summer. Due to the planned construction on East Sprague Avenue, the Wallins have decided to temporarily close their current location and move the operation a few miles north to the Garland District (630 W. Garland Ave.) into a space that will eventually serve as the taproom for their own brewery, Garland Brew Werks.
While the new brewery is taking shape, old fans and new customers alike can continue to enjoy the same great beer and service for which this local beer bar is known.
If you go: 120 E. Sprague Ave., (509) 624-1631, facebook.com/communitypint
Steel Barrel Taproom
After a lengthy shutdown due to COVID-19 last year, Steel Barrel is back up and running with a new food menu but the same great rotating selection of beer. Steel Barrel is the only brewery incubator in Spokane, and several breweries are currently members, including Hello Brewing, No Drought and Golden Handle Project.
In the taproom, you can find beers from these places as well as taps from all over the region. If you aren’t feeling beer, this is also one of the few local beer-focused bars to also include a full selection of liquor and craft cocktails. If you can pull yourself away from the full-size shuffleboard table, the renovated patio is sure to be a favorite hangout this spring and summer.
If you go: 154 S. Madison St., (509) 315-9879, thesteelbarrel.com
After several years of being the spot for craft beer fans in north Spokane, Pints Alehouse recently started its own in-house brewery, Hop Chaos Brewing Co., which can now be enjoyed right alongside beers from Washington favorites like Fremont Brewing, Bale Breaker and Reuben’s Brews.
Pints also stores an impressive collection of barrel-aged beers, which are brought out for special barrel-aged events and other times throughout the year.
If you go: 10111 N. Newport Highway, (509) 368-9671
If you’re looking for a place to go before or after an Eagles football game, NorthStar is definitely one to check out. Since opening a few blocks off Eastern Washington University’s campus in 2019, NorthStar has worked hard to bring a great combination of selections from Spokane breweries and hard-to-find releases from craft breweries all around the country to Cheney.
You can also find a great selection of cans and bottles to go, and be sure to keep an eye out for occasional releases of custom-designed glassware.
If you go: 1818 Second St., Cheney, (509) 498-4052, northstartaps.com
The Filling Station
The aptly named Filling Station has one of the largest taps lists in North Idaho. Even better, the taps are filled with an incredible selection. There are many of the regional and West Coast staples you’d expect to find, but the Filling Stations also make an effort to feature beer from North Idaho, including Post Falls Brewing Company, Radio Brewing in Kellogg and even Hardware Brewing from Kedrick (pop: 303.)
This dedication to finding great craft beer wherever it might be hiding has made the Filling Station a must-visit when you cross the state line.
If you go: 306 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, (208) 981-0444, fillingstationpostfalls.com
Here are other great local beer bar options in the area:
Nectar Wine and Beer
With sweeping views of downtown, this Kendall Yards favorite also features a great monthly beer club. Get there early, or expect to wait for a table on the patio during warmer days – but with the beer selection at Nectar, you won’t mind.
If you go: 1331 W. Summit Parkway, (509) 290-5239, nectarwineandbeer.com
Bottles has been serving Millwood for years, and, after moving into a larger space down the road from the original location in 2018, it has only gotten better. Absolutely one of the best bottle and can selections in the region.
If you go: 3223 N. Argonne Road, Millwood, (509) 443-4027, bottlesspokane.com
Happy Trails to Brews
When Happy Trails to Brews opened in 2018, it seemed like there was some kind of event practically every night at the Indian Trail tap house. Although COVID-19 spoiled the fun, as things begin to get back to normal, you’ll have more reasons than ever to check out the 18 taps and impressive cooler.
If you go: 9025 N. Indian Trail Road, (509) 822-7037, happytrailstobrews.com
Steady Flow Growler House
Boasting an impressive 43 taps, Steady Flow is almost sure to have something every beer fan will enjoy. Steady Flow is also known for hosting brewery battles several times per year pitting two local breweries for bragging rights and ownership of the traveling trophy.
If you go: 328 N. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley, (509) 598-8297, steadyflowgrowlerhouse.com
Opened during an extremely challenging 2020, Pour Company has thrived by always having a solid tap list and stocking cans and bottles of very difficult to find craft beers from across the U.S. and even Europe. If you’re looking for a beer you’ve never had before, this is the place to go.
If you go: 402 W. Sixth St., Moscow, (208) 596-4517, pourcompanymoscow.com
Find more beer news by Greg Wildermuth at 509beerblog.com.
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