Seasoned barkeeps fill glasses with the aromatic pours from a rotating selection of 12 wines, and the cellar stocks a slew of bottled vintages from Idaho wineries to far-flung international locales. Guests can also indulge in sips of 38 domestic and international beers. It's all a part of the new ownership at Corkscrews, who complement their libations with a freshly concocted menu that showcases pizza, salads, a spread of cheeses, and desserts, from cheesecake to ice cream with almonds. On top of filling Corkscrews' cozy environs with daily live entertainment, the owners enjoy renting out the facility and its team of wine handlers for private events such as holiday parties and Flat Earth Society meetings.
Piloted by a professional driving staff, Boise Party Bus's fleet whisks between 16 and 24 clientele away on celebratory jaunts customized for special occasions and tours. Each non-smoking ride arrives equipped with a full bar, hardwood dance floor, and miniature water park built into the tire rims as a driver accommodates requests you make throughout the trip.
Alongside services for private parties, Boise Party Bus's passengers charter the fleet for the Best of the Northwest Wine Tour or Snake River Valley Vineyard Tour to sample boutique wines at five local destinations. Guests on The Great Idaho Brew Tour make pit stops at up to six of the state's best brewers for pours of craft brew on a voyage that Boise Weekly lauds as "a genius idea."
A fully operational winery since 1987, Sawtooth Winery was once under the care of the Pintler family, who had used their parcel of land as pasture for years. But the rolling, south-facing hills were a bit too robust to be limited to one use, and in 1982 15 acres of grapes were planted. Today, Sawtooth is one of the largest vineyards in Idaho, and those same vines produce the plump grapes destined become one of the eight wine varietals crafted onsite. Those wines have garnered Sawtooth a variety of honorable accolades and press, including a Winery of the Month designation from the Idaho Wine Commission.
Nestled on a sloping, well-manicured hillside, Ste. Chappelle Winery transports visitors to a gothic chapel in France. Rows of grapevines intersect with the stout, picturesque building, which houses a tasting room equipped with tall archer’s windows on all sides. There, 20 varieties of wine are uncorked by resident oenophiles, splashed into awaiting glasses for sampling or dyeing mismatched neckties. In the warmer months, crowds gather with blankets and bottles on the lawn for live music events, held as part of a summer concert series.
Payette Brewing Co. is an interesting mix of tradition and rebellion. It's founder, Mike Francis, gave up the corporate life to roll the die on a new venture in one of America's most time-honored industries. Using a 15-barrel brewing system, Mike and his staff cultivate high-quality brews in traditional styles—stouts, ales, and lagers—that aim to embody the adventurous spirit of Idaho and their own penchant for skiing, hiking, and kayaking. Inside the tasting room, they pour pint glasses or offer smaller samples for those who can't commit to one beer just yet.
With its sun-dappled outdoor patio, laid-back vibe, and cozy interior permeated with the sounds of live music, The Blue Moose Cafe has established itself as a local favorite for informal eats throughout the year. On the converted bungalow’s porch, umbrellas and ceiling fans create a comfortable ambiance that caused one Boise Weekly food critic to proclaim the eatery “hard to beat” when it comes to "casual summertime dining." Inside, hardwood floors and quirky artwork line the space, where cushioned stools dress ranks in front of a wood-and-granite wine bar.
No matter where you choose to sit, however, the savory selections from the kitchen staff’s eclectic repertoire are the stars of the show. On top of daily specials, which can include everything from green-chili chicken enchiladas to salmon pinwheels with garlic mashed potatoes, the cooks maintain an established menu of lunch classics. They toss crisp salads with ingredients such as fresh bay shrimp and housemade peanut sauce and prepare 19 gourmet sandwiches, including clubs, melts, and grinders. On Friday nights, live bands entertain crowds with original songs and SAT prep questions set to a melody.