If they can't make it to the game, sports fans find The Ref Sports Bar a good substitute for the live action. Flat screens flicker on all four sides of a jumbotron-style feature hanging above the bar. Friends gather around creatively named pizzas, such as the Classic Homerun Margherita and the The Man Cave, with buffalo sauce, crispy chicken, jalapeño bacon, and ranch dressing forming the image of the buttons on a remote control. They can also share a plate of chicken wings doused in various sauces, including six buffalo sauces in varying levels of heat. Ambitious eaters who complete the Unnecessary Roughness Challenge—devouring five total pounds of burger, toppings, and fries—get their meal for free plus a pallet in the corner to sleep off the food coma.
Barbecued meats and frosty brews are the main draw at Hot Rods Bar and BBQ, but you could probably guess that from looking at the name. What you wouldn't know without stopping in for dinner, however, is how much fun can be had when the plates are cleared away. A late-night destination no matter the night, Hot Rods pairs saucy ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches with entertainment options that range from live karaoke to beer-pong tournaments.
Rated the best Indian restaurant in the area by Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living, Top of India lives up to its name with tandoori staples culled from different regions of India. These include chicken tikka and lamb shish kebab. Beyond those meaty mainstays, the eatery cooks up more than 15 vegetarian options. Dishes like mushroom korma and chicken chili lend credence to the restaurant’s award-winning stature, and the full bar offers house specialities such as a hard mango lassi with a flare of coconut, a Royale Salute martini, and a margarita based on the classic Indian nimbu pani.
What was once the boiler room at the historical Montvale Hotel has turned into the Catacombs Pub, a European-style pub situated inside the building's cellar. The hotel, which is listed on the Spokane and National Registers of Historic Places, has served as everything from a hardware store to a bordello.
Today in this underground pub, a brick oven fires up made-from-scratch pizzas in the spot where coal was once shoved into the boiler. The original coal chute has been transformed into a cave-like seating area where servers deliver irish stew, bratwursts, European beers, and specialty cocktails. The pub's brick hearth and exposed stone walls, modeled after German and Viennese pubs, contribute to the its Old-World feel, along with 2,800-pound solid oak beams, which weigh as much as King Midas's cell phone.
Slinging spirits for nearly 80 years, the historic Checkerboard Tavern tackles appetites with a menu of gourmet hot dogs and slays thirsts with local brews. Toting the oldest liquor license in the state above its well-stocked bar, the Check sports a wide selection of domestics ($2.25), microbrews ($3.50), and regional suds ($3.50) from Golden Hills, Laughing Dog, and Iron Horse, as well as an old-timey jukebox that coughs up five spins for each greenback fed into its golden gullet. Get cozy in a fire-engine-red booth and anchor incisors into an assembly of encased meats, such as the Sonnenberg Dog, which tops a classic italian sausage with onions, ketchup, mustard, and relish, or the old-fashioned PB&J Dog, which arrives with crusts cut off in a He-Man lunchbox ($4). All dogs can be substituted for vegan tofurkey sausage, and assorted snacks and house fries are available for noshing ($5–$6).
While seemingly unorthodox, the melding of authentic Irish fare and Southern-style smoked barbecue creates a mouthwatering mix as tempting as the pub’s black and tans. Sink teeth into authentically appointed slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage served with irish stew, a dinner salad, and house-made horseradish sauce for dipping ($13.95). Freshly caught and covered in a Guinness beer batter, the fish and chips pairs deep-fried Alaskan white fish with steak fries and a house-made tartar sauce ($14.95 for two fillets). The smoked barbecue pulled pork spends more than 10 hours in an apple-wood burning barbecue pit before it’s partnered plateside with barbecue sauce, green salad, baked beans, and cornbread ($14.95 for a platter). Choose from an array of salads and sandwiches, including the ultimate chicken, a grilled chicken breast buried beneath smoked bacon, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($10.95). O'Doherty's also serves a hearty breakfast Saturday and Sunday, with favorites like corned beef hash and eggs and "smoked pit" ham and eggs benedict on the menu.