When deprived of flavorful sustenance, the mouth will often retaliate by shouting your bank-account number at sporting events or turning every sentence into a high-pitched jingle. Tame an unruly tongue with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of European pub fare and drinks at Catacombs Pub.
Nestled in the century-old cellar of the landmark Montvale Hotel, Catacombs crafts a menu of traditional Central European fare in a sublime subterranean setting. Kindle appetite embers with a hot Bavarian potato salad strewn with bacon, herbs, and vinaigrette ($4) before fueling food engines with meatloaf enriched by seams of sausage, onion, bell peppers, and garlic, slathered in cranberry-barbecue sauce, and buttressed by mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms ($16). The Irish stew ($19) submerges beef, lamb, pork, and veggies in a Guinness beer-stock jacuzzi, and the chicken paprikash ($17) stokes gustatory fires with a precisely spiced bird served over homemade spaetzle noodles. Brick-oven pizzas brim with Old World sophistication, and all of Catacombs’ pizza recipes can be ordered in compact calzone form for tidier handbag storage. Avoid intertopping rivalries with the Quattro Staggioni, which assigns mushrooms, ham, mozzarella, and artichoke hearts to individual quarters of the pie ($14 small or calzone; $23 large), or fuse two Continental favorites in the bratwurst pizza dressed in sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and red or rosemary white sauce ($13 small or calzone; $23 large).
Pouring a panoply of imported suds and spirits, Catacombs Pub re-creates the rustic conviviality of a vintage European beer hall. The recently renovated underground edifice is built of smooth, sturdy stone and brick bolstered by impregnable oak pillars weighing more than 1 ton each and anchored by the warm glow and heady aromas of the brick hearth.
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.