With so many tasty craft beers available these days, it’s hard to settle on just a few. That’s why the bartenders of Idaho Hop House not only rotate the brews inside their six taps constantly, but also frequently update their store’s selection of take-home bottles. Though stocking beers the world over, such as the Belgian staple Leffe, the store focuses on American breweries, such as California’s Stone and Idaho’s Selkirk Abbey. Idaho Hop House’s culinary team emphasizes local ingredients in their versions of classic bar food, such as hand-battered onion rings and beer-braised bratwursts.
R&R Public House regularly rotates the beer offerings on their 13-spigot tap, pouring domestic and international suds that accompany a menu of hearty, yet modern pub grub amid the sounds of televised sports. Grab, slice, or competitively discus-throw a steelhead burger, a third-pound Angus patty ground daily with herbs and spices and topped with sun-dried tomato, capers, and garlic aioli ($10). Otherwise, forks can impale the creamy penne pasta and crispy bacon found swimming in three-cheese blend that souses the broiled mac 'n' cheese dish ($9). To create the cured-meats flatbread dinner, culinarians bake the unleavened masterpiece from scratch before ladling on marinara, topping it with mozzarella, and speckling it with succulent morsels of salami, pepperoni, and a spicy italian sausage ($8). The braised osso bucco lamb shank is cooked in a stout and red-wine reduction before it licentiously poses on a bed of mashed potatoes, looking its best in case any food critics or recipe-magazine agents walk by ($15). Meanwhile, the Randel-family fingersteaks, summoned from Bud Randel's original recipe, sidle up to hand-cut fries and coleslaw ($10).
Health-conscious consumers can seek refuge in Tree City's tempting list of juices and smoothies without sacrificing dessert-like decadence. Keep a bad day at work from overwhelming your stress nodules by bringing a laptop to Tree City, and surf the free WiFi while riding a refreshing wave of Go Orange!, a citrusy soiree of OJ, orange sorbetto, and nonfat frozen vanilla yogurt ("berries and more" smoothies start at $2.99). Power up before hitting and defeating the gym with a protein-packed Triple Berry Blast smoothie, loaded with blueberries, raspberries, cranberry juice, skim milk, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, honey, and whey protein ("power up" protein smoothies start at $3.59). Dairy-free, vegan-friendly sips are also available, ranging from simplistic shots of wheatgrass ($1.49 for 1 oz.) to fancy crazy-straw fillers like Gingerwocky juice, a fresh blend of apple juice, carrot, and ginger (juices start at $3.19). An extra dose of health can be added to your frosty treat for free with smoothie supplements such as smart blend, hangover recovery blends, energy-boosters, and more.
Schooners forges a lively, welcoming atmosphere by hosting events throughout the week and employing an outgoing bar staff. General manager Megan Richards appeases neighborhood crowds by tuning the flat-screen and giant projection-screen TVs to football or UFC cage fighting as bartenders fill mugs with one of 25 ice-cold beers to pair with hearty burgers or wraps. Tall windows admit natural light into the roomy, red-walled bar, where diversions take the form of casual billiards showdowns, energetic music from live DJs, or toe-tapping karaoke. During trivia nights, minutiae-masters can claim victory based on their memorization of state capitals and knowledge of Shakespeare's unsuccessful attempts to pen instruction manuals for microwaves.
Though they share both a moniker and a multifarious menu brimming with eclectic American cuisine, Willowcreek's Vista Avenue and Eagle locations each boast their own set of genial qualities. Set dangling tonsils aside and hypnotize taste buds with eats such as the chicken, broccoli, and feta salad ($9.99), or the bestselling Payette club, a chewy ciabatta roll mounded with house-roasted turkey, hickory-smoked ham, and honey-cured bacon ($9.99). Diners in search of plant-happy hunger-busters can nosh on the portobello melt, a 'shroom harvested by a garden gnome co-op and slathered in swiss cheese and rosemary mayo ($9.99). Willowcreek also entices palates with traditional entrees, including the thai chicken pasta tossed in peanut sauce ($13.99) and the cedar-fired salmon ($16.99). Avoid tantrums from attention-seeking esophagi with liquidy love from a signature watermelon-cucumber margarita at the Eagle location's full bar, or a regional wine and northwest microbrew from Vista Avenue's drink selection.
The Big Three unites three bars under its umbrella, but that’s about the only thing the venues have in common. Each offers a completely different nightlife atmosphere, ranging from a rustic honky-tonk bar to a swanky lounge.
The dance floor throbs to the DJ’s pulsing beats under a pattern of colorful lights. Professional dancers gyrate on elevated platforms over the dance floor, and three different lounges provide a more laid-back atmosphere with elements such as exposed brick walls, leather sofas, and luminous aquariums behind the bars.
Main Street Bistro
Red billiards tables and neon beer logos fill one room of the tavern-style bar, but Main Street Bistro erupts with competition on Monday and Tuesday nights. Beer-pong tournaments pack teams into the bar, and the sound of cheers temporarily drowns out the commentary on the sports games playing on the wall-mounted TVs.
Dirty Little Roddy's
With its wooden plank walls and tabletops supported by sawhorses, Dirty Little Roddy's evokes a back-roads bar in all ways but one: the bar hosts bikini and boxer bull riding for cash prizes. The event provides risqué entertainment without asking firefighters to approximate a pole dance.