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.
Open late every night, The Blue Spark sops patrons with 26 tasty on-tap beers, a collection of cocktails, and delicious bar fare. Stop in for happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and enjoy $3 pints of Spaten Optimator, Samuel Adams, New Castle, and more (pints are normally $3.50–$5). Cheer up your melancholy stomach by snacking on tri-color tortilla chips and salsa (regularly $4.50, $2.50 during happy hour) or untangle a web of lies about your baseball career over a soft stadium pretzel ($3). For cheesier choosers, The Blue Spark offers a double cheese calzone with extra-extra cheese ($8), as well as a pizza stuffed with Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, and jalapeños ($11). Wine by the glass ($6–$6.50) is available for unparching palates; gargle Red Diamond merlot or Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling for a mouthful of fruity fun.
Dozens of glasses dangle by their handles from the humongous mug rack over Jones Radiator's bar, hinting at the pub's commitment to good drinks, classic cocktails, and current trends. These robust cups receive pours of stouts, IPAs, and lagers from the 25 taps of craft beer below, whereas bartenders mix cocktails with sprits such as rum and habanero tequila. In the kitchen, cooks prepare starter plates of pulled pork tacos and serve them street-style on corn tortillas and speckled with cilantro and onions. An array of flat breads?including chicken pesto, rosemary and mushrooms, and sausage and peppers?arrive at tables with an air of aromatic smoothness while classic french dip and gyros sandwiches provide classic satisfaction. Edibles act as only one draw to the venue, however. The staff welcomes live bands of all genres, from jazz to rock to bluegrass, and schedules themed movie nights.
Founded by lifelong Spokanites, Poole's Public House fosters a sense of community for locals from across the cultural spectrum. Throughout the week, special events cast a mass appeal with unplugged jam sessions for musicians on Tuesdays and drink specials for golfers who've just finished their rounds. For everyone else, the bar features 18 brews on tap and more than 30 flavors of bottled beer as well as hand-picked wines and spirits.
Even with the pub's distinct Spokane flavors, the menu leap-frogs between America and the British Isles. Along with Angus beef steaks, fish tacos, and 100% Angus burgers, diners enjoy transatlantic favorites such as bangers and mash and Brit-style corned beef hash. And since co-owner Scott is a University of Montana Alum, the pub pays homage to the Big Sky State with lots of Grizzlies memorabilia on the walls and broadcasts of UM games on the HDTVs.