Special Issues » Coldest Beer in Boise

Boise Weekly's Eleventh Annual Coldest Beer

Dedicating ourselves to the fine art of cold beer



San Juan Capistrano, Calif., has its swallows, Washington, D.C., has its cherry blossoms, Scottsdale, Ariz., has its snowbirds, but Boise, ah, Boise has the very best sign of the season: cold beer.

Every year, just as summer hits its stride, Boise Weekly rolls out the annual Coldest Beer issue like a harbinger of the frosty, suds-laden afternoons to come. Yes, just like sailors spotting an albatross, this, the 11th annual Coldest Beer issue is your signal that happier shores lie ahead—shores where they serve really cold beer in frosty mugs.

Each spring, in our truly selfless way, we send out a mini beer army with only thermometers and their soon-to-be-fuzzy wits to test more than 200 locally owned and operated establishments that keep the taps flowing. The testers scatter across Ada County in search of the coldest, the warmest and everything in between, sacrificing any carb-restricted diets they might be on in the name of our completely unscientific survey.

And for such an unscientific survey, the competition can be rough. Many a tester has been on the receiving end of a lecture on the optimal temperature at which beer should be served, and that temperature is nowhere near the freezing point.

To that, we must simply applaud the beer joints that show such dedication to the art of the brew that they fine-tune their taps. Unfortunately, "The Most Precise Temperature for Each Variety of Beer" contest would be a lot harder to organize—and did we mention this is a completely unscientific contest?

Thanks again to our dedicated soldiers of beer for their swilling sacrifice. And remember, dear readers, we do it all for you.

Testers: Emily Anderson, Sarah Barber, Harrison Berry, Tabitha Bower, Jaclyn Brandt, Amber Clontz, Andrew Crisp, Todd Dvorak, Josh Gross, Anne Henderson, Jennifer Hernandez, Christina Marfice, Sarah Masterson, Amy Merrill, Jessica Murri, Trevor Villagrana, Sheree Whiteley, Carissa Wolf


Players Pub and Grill

Players Pub and Grill, 27.1 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

There are bowling alley bars and then there is Players--home of beer so cold it's not only below the freezing mark, but it's the winner of the 2012 Coldest Beer Contest. But it's not just about the frosty brews. The $4 BFD special gets you a burger, fries and a drink (beer or soda) before you head over to your lane for an evening of cosmic bowling. The kitchen inside Westy's Garden Lanes also whips up a respectable bowl of clam chowder and other soups from scratch. 5504 Alworth St., Garden City, 208-376-6563, playerspubandgrill.com


Pollo Rey

The brightly decorated taqueria with large windows and plenty of booths in the heart of downtown is already a lunch fave, now it can compete with the bars, too. 222 Eighth St., Boise, 208-345-0323, polloreyboise.com


Harry's Bar and Grill

Harry's is making an attempt at being a sports bar--an attempt that seems to have been thwarted by the neighboring movie theater. Still, there are plenty of distractions for the kids and those who want a few games, and the beer is undoubtedly cold. 20132 E. Overland Road, Meridian, 208-888-9868



Attached to the lobby of The Red Lion Downtowner, this bar decorated heavily with sports memorabilia offers games, out-of-towners and free popcorn. 1800 Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-344-7691


Quarter Barrel

While other bars along Chinden Boulevard are known for their high levels of drama and testosterone, the Quarter Barrel stands as the mellow, easy-going cousin at the west end of the Garden City strip. Wednesdays are popular for free pool (7-10 p.m.) and an open mike band jam session. 4902 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-322-3430, quarterbarrel.com


The River Rock Eagle

This family friendly, Northwest-style pub features 24 tap handles and an enormous Double R Ranch steak dip sandwich served with au jus and French fries. 228 E. Plaza Drive, Eagle, 208-938-4788


Idaho Pizza Company

Nothing about this pizza joint implies the coldest beer on Broadway Avenue, but that's what Boise Weekly promises you. After testing them all, the winner for this strip is IPC. The staff may have to search in back for someone old enough to pour, but when tapped, the beer is cold as an ice bath. 1010 Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-343-1011, idahopizzacompany.com


Red Room

Dim scarlet lighting and velvet art on crimson walls are complemented by a black tile bar. Though the space feels simultaneously antique and Gothic, the indie musicians who dominate the stage will keep you grounded in the present. 1519 Main St., Boise, 208-331-0956, redroomboise.com


Hooligan's Pub

Grab a beer or glass of wine and play some pool with the scariest, friendliest crowd in Boise. Choose from a huge selection of microbrews and get ready to make friends; you're guaranteed to be chatted up by someone in leather. 10704 W. Overland Road, Boise, 208-376-9800


Shorty's Saloon

This classic cowboy bar offers a 25 percent VIP discount to all veterans. Seven tap handles, six pool tables and a spacious dance floor keep the six resident ghosts entertained and will keep country music-loving mortals occupied, too. 5467 Glenwood St., Garden City, 208-378-7363, shortyssaloon.com


Angell's Grill

The African jungle-themed steakhouse and bistro with low lighting is perfect for high-maintenance dates. 999 Main St., Boise, 208-342-4900, angellsbarandgrill.com


Montego Bay

Montego Bay could be the set of a Jimmy Buffett music video­--as close to the sea as you can get in Boise, complete with a bay, beach music and some of the coldest beer in town. 3000 Lake Harbor Lane, Boise, 208-853-5070, montegobayidaho.com


Lindy's Steak House

While specializing in steakhouse fare, including Parmesan-encrusted halibut, sinful burgers and prime rib, this Chinden bar still revels in providing nightlife. While the restaurant/bar is now smoke-free, Lindy's still belabors over bringing the smoky flavor to its wide array of meats. After food, Lindy's serves up a variety of beers on tap and in bottles, and provides darts, billiards and shuffleboard to work off PBR-and-roast-beef benders. 12249 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise, 208-375-1310


Outpost Cafe at Boise Airport

So maybe it is your typical airport watering hole, but the Outpost has one way to get you ready for takeoff: Buy a beer and get a shot for $3. 3201 Airport Way, Boise, 208-941-0210


Overland Bar

Like many Boise bars, this longtime fixture on the Bench is adapting to the no-smoking policy. Here, it's a new covered patio out back with speakers. There is shuffleboard for gamers and Thursday nights promise $2 shot specials and an open mic. 3907 Overland Road, Boise, 208-336-4707


Boulevard Bar

This authentic dive bar has many dive-bar requisites like a dart board, jukebox, pool tables and a winning bowling team. The small patio out back is the icing on the cake. 4079 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-342-9906


Chandlers Steakhouse

Foodies find fresh seafood, legendary steaks and generally haute cuisine in an ambiance that would make the James Bond in all of us feel at home. If that's not enough, the 10-minute Vesper reconstituted martini has a way of turning folks a little 007. 981 Grove St., Boise, 208-383-4300, chandlersboise.com


Sockeye Grill and Brewery

Sockeye needs no introduction. To find chicken wings, live music and craft beers under one roof is the Boise boozer's dream. The handcrafted brews will get you in the door and the staff will have you coming back to "drink like a fish." 3019 N. Cold Road, Boise, 208-658-153, sockeyebrew.com


Flatbread Community Oven

Real Italians never order cheap beer and crappy, dense pizza. And you'll find neither on the Flatbread menu. Gluten-free options, including pizza, are also available. 615 Main St., Boise, 208-287-4757, flatbreadpizza.com


Brews Brothers

Tucked into a strip mall, the linoleum bar and big windows make this sports bar eerily sterile, but plenty of games, 23 beers on tap and five televisions almost than make up for it. 6928 W. State St., Boise, 208-853-0526, brewsbrothersonline.com


Pinnacle Sports Grill

If the large clean-cut stone fire pit at the entrance doesn't look the epitome of inviting relaxation, the large horseshoe-shaped booths, Boise Cherry Picker baseball team memorabilia plastering the walls and the stained glass windows spell comfortable with a capital C. 2902 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, 208-884-4400, pinnaclesportsgrill.com


The Stagecoach Inn

Plate-size steaks, hand-breaded jumbo prawns and thick slices of chocolate cream pie have kept the clientele coming back since 1959. Get a mean pour and affordable drink prices all the time. 3132 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-331-0336, stagecoachboise.com


Willowcreek Grill and Lounge

Escape the heat on the breezy, east-facing patio, where a burbling creek and lush foliage soothe the senses. Wash down cedar-fired salmon or cioppino with a selection from the rotating tap handles, wine list or full bar. 1065 Winding Creek Road, Eagle, 208-938-3010, willowcreekgrill.com


Buster's Bar and Grill

Buster's Bar and Grill, 33.6 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

Strolling into to Buster's before 5 p.m. may score you a spot at the bar, but forget trying to get a word in with the pretty bartenders. You'll get served, but their attention is captured by the men asking if they have boyfriends. This is a great place for a girl to get an ego boost. 1326 Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-345-5688, busterssportsbar.com


Suds Tavern

What Suds Master and Commander Griffy says was stupid luck landing the location, the rest of Boise recognizes as a blessing on the Broadway bar scene. Best-kept secret: Suds' courtesy taxi that will pick you up and take you home. 1024 Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-345-9656, sudstavern.com


Bella Aquila

Two burbling waterfalls and an unobstructed view of the Boise River make Bella Aquila's patio the finest in Eagle for enjoying a cold beer or chilled glass of wine. This classy little hideaway serves contemporary Italian fare under the direction of chef David Knickrehm. 775 S. Rivershore Lane, Eagle, 208-938-1900, bellaaquila.com



Easygoing atmosphere and always-unorthodox brews on tap make Pizzalchick a fun little eatery--and drinkery. 7330 W. State St., Boise, 208-537-7757, pizzalchick.com


Jim's Alibi

Anyone who is looking for a quality conversation and barley soda at 7 a.m. will not be let down at Jim's Alibi. Enjoy both inside or outside, where a manicured covered patio and horseshoe area is cleaner than any public park in Boise. This is a place where if the owner stopped pouring, people would still come to spend time together. 2710 S. Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-342-9220


The Brickyard

A touch of class at Sixth and Main streets, with tasteful leather booths and a marble bartop basking in natural light form large windows and the soothing sounds of live piano. 601 Main St., Boise, 208-287-2121, brickyardboise.com


The Buffalo Club

Walking into the Buffalo Club may seem intimidating to those who have never gone the full eight seconds. But never fear, even those who don't enjoy the shade of a cowboy hat can find a stool and a frosty glass. The animal heads mounted on the walls are alarming at first, but the free country dance lessons and episodes of Glee projected on the walls are plenty distracting. 10206 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-321-1811


Dry Creek Mercantile

Situated at the entrance to the charming Hidden Springs community, this old-style mercantile is outfitted with plank flooring and a high tin ceiling. The huge front porch can't be beat for watching the sunset turn the Foothills purple at the end of a summer day. 5892 Hidden Springs Drive, Boise, 208-229-2001, hiddensprings.com



Paramount is the horseshoe-shaped bar from which all manner of beer and liquors are poured. Specializing in late-night grub as the only after-hours eatery in Kuna, the Longhorn prices drinks cheaply and never skimps on the charm. 458 W. Main St., Kuna, 208-922-4163


Lucky 13

A cyclist destination along the Greenbelt with pizza, salad, plenty of taps and an interior that opens wide to the great outdoors thanks to large garage doors. 3662 Eckert Road, Boise, 208-344-6967, lucky13pizza.com


McCleary's Pub

No frills and gimmicks, just a neighborhood bar with affordable drinks, pool, darts, shuffleboard and potlucks during Boise State football games. For those confused with the McCleary's on State, they have the same owners, but the one on the Bench is the original. 604 N. Orchard St., Boise, 208-342-3007, mcclearys.net


Jakers Grill

Brushed stainless steel, cool granite countertops, slate-colored walls, orange hints of wood and warm lighting complemented by jazz music, Jakers' new location gives the Chandlers' mood a run for its money. Now, if the martinis compare likewise, the staff might be on to something really special. 268 E. Pine St., Meridian, 208-288-0898, jakers.com


Buddies Pub and Deli

This bar smells like smoke and is packed with dogs (the pet kind, mostly). If the bartender doesn't know your name, be ready for a side of suspicious glances with your beer, pool, darts and Wednesday poker tournaments. 8654 W. Overland Road, Boise, 208-658-0906


Pitchers and Pints

Possibly the most unassuming bar in Boise, Pitchers and Pints offers up a comedian bartender and cold beer in a space small in size but not in character. 1108 W. Front St., Boise, 208-906-1355


R Bar

Never judge a bar by its website. If it hasn't been updated in the last five months, that indicates all the good times being had there have put digital media on hold. For face-to-face interaction with a slew of new acquaintances, R Bar is a gem and taps into the Northwest's fine microbrew selection. 1041 S. Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-629-0029, rbarboise.com


The Flicks

The Flicks cannot be held responsible if you drink and forget the ending of that foreign film. But a lineup of micros, fine wines and gourmet noshes make the civic-minded, independent theater unforgettable. 646 Fulton St., Boise, 208-342-4222, theflicksboise.com


Willi B's Saloon

With a new home, the Willi B's folks have capitalized on the larger space, trucking in a pool table, stage and huge seating area. A new patio, updated menu and an unshakable Western vibe make it a prime location for nursing brews or a plate of Frito nachos. While it specializes in "bunkhouse cooking," it slings domestic and microbrews on the regular as well. 12505 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise, 208-331-5666, willibs.com


Cheerleaders Bar and Grill

The bar boasting beer bongs and fluorescent alcohol signs makes it quite plain that this is a place for 21-and-up fun. Yet, afternoon booths are filled with children ogling arcade games that seem to challenge those wee buffalo wing-stained fingers to a playoff. 3541 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, 208-939-9204, cheerleaderssbg.com


Cricket's Bar and Grill

A day spent casting in the Boise canals catching nothing is never a complete failure. Let Cricket's be your honey hole. With halibut batter fish and chips for $7 every day, this unmarked Boise Avenue score is more than shuffleboard and arcade games. 1228 Oakland Ave., Boise, 208-344-6235


The Dutch Goose

Cool and cavernous, the Dutch Goose is a classic hole-in-the-wall pub, complete with pool tables and surprisingly great food. Be sure to check out the expansive patio out back. 4295 W. State St., Boise, 208-342-8887, dutchgoose.com


Shotsie's Pub and Eatery

A stone's throw away from Plantation Golf Course, this full-service pub has something for everyone. 6100 State St., Ste. 101, Boise, 208-629-7381, shotsiespub.com


The Village Pub

Tucked behind Europe Delicious and Capital Sports Sales is the quaint Village Pub. From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but upon entering, visitors can enjoy a fireplace, birthday tacos and $1.75 Miller High Lifes for all the troops out there. 9936 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-375-3085


Visual Arts Collective

The coolest thing about this art gallery/concert space is how it brings together different communities by hosting concerts, theater performances and art shows. There's nary a bad seat inside this small, energetic venue. 3638 Osage St., Garden City, 208-424-8297, visualartscollective.com


Humpin' Hannah's

Humpin' Hannah's, 35.2 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

There's no place like home when you want to relax. And there's no place like Humpin' Hannah's when you want to drink, dance and delight in debauchery. Two bars, pool, a dance floor and constant live music make this the perfect place to party down. 621 W. Main St., Boise, 208-345-7557


Busted Shovel

The Busted Shovel seems to be the bar that time forgot. Self-described as "Meridian's only biker bar," the bar has one small window providing the only light shining in. With smoking, video games, pool tables and a full-size lottery machine, the lack of extra frills is almost comforting. 704 Main St., Meridian, 208-288-2217, bustedshovel.com


Falcon Tavern

Watch a game at this downtown man cave, where the ladies are always welcome and the Cordon Bleu-trained owner puts a gourmet spin on everything from grinders to homemade soups. 705 Bannock St., Boise, 208-947-3111, falcontavern.com


Burger 'N' Brew

Burger 'N' Brew has 15 flat screen televisions and 24 beers on tap, making it an ideal full-service sports bar. 4295 W. State St., Boise, 208-345-7700



This ristorante's Tuscan vibe is ever-present. Be it lounging on the patio, drinking a primo vino or a frosty brew while sampling authentic Italian eats courtesy of Chef Gino, the atmosphere beckons patrons to drink in old-world flavor. 3015 W. McMillan Road, Ste. 108, Meridian, 208-887-7710


Jumpin' Janet's

On summer Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, staff clears out some dining tables to make way for four ping pong tables. And no, this ain't beer pong. Everything on the menu is homemade and there's no deep fryer in the kitchen. That means tasty salads, slaws and soups with the burgers. 574 S. Vista Ave., Boise, 208-342-7620


Ranch Club

If you like your bar gritty and smoky, you'll love it here. The air at the Ranch Club is so thick with testosterone, you can cut it with a switchblade. 3544 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-343-7447


Cosmic Pizza

The Intergalactic Confederation of Aliens agrees, Cosmic Pizza has the hottest drink deal on Earth. Eight-dollar microbrew pitchers during happy hour enjoyed underneath a ceiling solar system mobile--it's a no duh. Search no further for strange encounters of the seventh kind. 1221 W. Boise Ave., Boise, 208-258-3871, cosmicpizzaboise.com


Berryhill and Co.

An upscale bistro and bar with a neo-industrial vibe. Nothing Budweisery on tap, and plenty of fancy desserts. Perfect to impress your clients and your dates but not your accountant. 121 Ninth St., Boise, 208-387-3553, johnberryhillrestaurants.com



This cozy, family-friendly sports bar is the place to view hard-to-get sports thanks to an old-school satellite dish. Finger steaks, buffalo wings, juicy burgers and female servers clad in tight tees and skimpy shorts are longstanding hallmarks of Buster's. 1396 E. State St., Eagle, 208-938-1800, busterseagle.com



Two words: dart league. Striker's may have been an afterthought as a bar next to a bowling alley. But with a friendly staff, very inexpensive beer and said dart league, Striker's now has its own identity. 324 S. Meridian Road, Meridian, 208-888-2048


Rockies Diner

Classic '50s diner scene with roller-skating servers, homemade chili and all the DJ-spun Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry you can handle. 3900 Overland Road, Boise, 208-336-2878, rockiesdiner.com


Lucky Dog

A down-to-Earth gay bar with an enthusiastic staff, Lucky Dog offers good music, intellectually engaging wall art and $1 PBR on Thursday to those who shed their pants and/or shirt. 2223 Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-333-0074


Plan B Lounge

Liquor and leather is the theme in this classy nook. The flat screen is silenced, allowing jazz to fill the air while you ponder: Why did we ever bother with a plan A? 121 N. Ninth St., Boise, 208-387-3553, johnberryhillrestaurants.com


The Lift

With a full menu of beer, liquor and food, this is an easy place to go to on Saturday night and return to Sunday morning for brunch. 4712 W. State St., Boise, theliftboise.com



It might be rock solid or solid as an oak, but this joint has more in common with solid gold. It's airy and bright, with an emphasis on local brews to quench your thirst no matter what your state of matter. 405 S. Eighth St., Boise, 208-345-6620, solidboise.com


Leku Ona

Leku Ona, 36.3 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

The wooden bar takes up a good portion of this Basque Block haunt, providing plenty of spots to pony up and imbibe something tasty. The patio also provides primo people watching along the Sixth Street bar block and Grove Street. Take your beverage outside and bask in the Boise sun. 117 S. Sixth St., Boise, 208-345-6665, lekuonaid.com.


Mickey Ray's Roadhouse Barbeque

Bring a bib for prime rib and catfish specials weekly paired with Mickey Ray's specialty bbq sauces. Ten rotating beers on tap and service with a sense of humor. 2325 Apple St., Boise, 208-344-7427, mickeyraysbbq.com


Smoky Mountain Pizza

Enjoy beers and pizza under the shade of three giant pergolas. Free meals on your birthday and kids eat free on Sundays so bring the whole family. 415 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise, 208-429-0011, smokymountainpizza.com


The Beer House

The Beer House is rough in the front and tumble in the back. The bartenders don't hesitate to give drinkers a hard time and the crowd is boisterous; but it's all in good fun. If you're in the area, expect darts, volleyball and an unavoidable hangover. 9751 Cory Lane, Boise, 208-345-1813


Little Dutch Garden

This little hideaway on Owyhee Street has been a secret among neighbors on the Bench for decades. The best way to describe it: It's like hanging out in your buddy's garage, albeit a garage equipped with taps and coolers. The LDG also has horseshoe pits outside and is dog friendly. 1910 Owyhee St., Boise, 208-906-3719


The TapHouse

The TapHouse is Boise's newest brew pub and it fits the sports-bar description to a T--from the 15 big screen TVs fighting for wall space down to the patrons clad in sneakers, jeans and baseball caps. Although there is a full bar, this place is definitely about the beer, with 44 selections on tap. 760 Main St., Boise, 208-336-6991


The Symposion

A difficult bar to find, the Symposion is even harder to leave. With snacks to keep the munchies at bay and drink specials that keep you glued to your seat for fear of falling upon standing, you won't even notice the lingering smell of pre-smoking-ban cigarettes clinging to your clothes and hair. 2801 W. Fletcher St., Boise, 208-342-9420


Turner's Sports Bar

Located behind a bait shop, Turner's has loyal customers, a few pool tables and enough sports fans to make this a cool, relaxing place to watch the game. 4022 W. State St., Boise, 208-342-9003



There are few places, let alone bars, that leave the customer thanking the establishment for a wonderful time and happy atmosphere. Endzone is that place. Its non-assuming entrance does nothing to foreshadow the experience. It is dog friendly, has outdoor TVs, horseshoe pits and a patio that would cause a Corona commercial to blush. 1010 Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-384-0613



This bustling Northwest pub is as popular for its patio as it is for its distillery, where gin, vodka and rum are handcrafted onsite. Located next door to the Eagle Hilton, Bardenay's contemporary fare and Sunday brunch keep the business travelers and the local residents coming back. 155 E. Riverside Drive, Eagle, 208-938-5093, bardenay.com


Crescent "No Lawyers" Bar and Grill

The Crescent is the creme de la creme of sports bars in West Boise. The beers aren't cheap, but the overhead TVs, extensive collection of memorabilia and half-price drinks during happy hour make this bar a worthy adversary. 5500 W. Franklin Road, Boise, 208-322-9856, no-lawyers.com


Navajo Room

We dare you to find better wall art than the campy cowboy and Indian paintings hanging in this longstanding saloon. Free pool on Sunday and Wednesday and Karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights. 4900 Emerald St., Boise, 208-343-5817


Cassanova Pizza

This eatery was started by a Connecticut transplant who got tired of selling pizzas to neighbors out of his home kitchen. The Eastern Seaboard influence shows in its wood-fired pizzas with clams. 1204 S. Vista Ave., Boise, 208-331-3535, cassanovapizza.com


Crooked Fence Brewing

If you missed the grand opening in February, you missed one hell of a barrel-draining party at Garden City's newest microbrewery. Crooked Fence earned the Golden Keg award at Treefort Music Festival. Pedal your bike to the tasting room on Thursdays and your second beer is on the house. 5242 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, cfbrewing.blogspot.com


Goodwood Barbecue Co.

Quiet and warm with stylish decor, Goodwood offers a classier twist on the classic hillbilly staple. Diners are greeted at the door by mouthwateringly unmistakable aromas of meat slow cooking in made-from-scratch barbecue sauce. 7849 W. Spectrum St., Boise, 208-658-7173, goodwoodbbq.com



This club is as fluid as its name connotes--Mondays feature punk music, Wednesdays are open mic nights and Thursday-Sunday it's the place for a comedy show. If that's not enough, a pool table, pinball and ski ball set-up provide hours of entertainment at this happen' BODO bar. 405 S. Eighth St., Boise, 208-287-5379, liquidboise.com


Creekside Lounge

The wood-paneled lounge is where a large wooden bar and smoky vibe serve as a quiet aside from the Main Street Kuna bar scene. A large stage, cheap drinks and a TV known for broadcasting Boise State football round out the cozy establishment. 751 W. Fourth St., Kuna, 208-922-4421


El Gallo Giro

While not the watering hole its Main Street bar crawl peers aim for, the selection of Mexican brews and slew of domestics mark a good way to begin a night out, with a belly full of $1 tacos almost required. Bottled brews are favored, but Tecate is on tap. Especially alongside a smoldering pile of chicken mole, a Dos Equis or Negra Modelo is a perfect companion to the house-made Mexican eats. 482 W. Main St., Kuna, 208-922-5169, elgallogirokuna.com


Legends Sports Pub and Grill

Loud and family friendly, but sporting (pun intended) a full bar and all the plasmas a sports fan could want. 7609 W. Overland Road, Boise, 208-377-1819, legendspubandgrill.com


The Reef

This bar's linear footage alone welcomes crowds to belly up under its thatched roof. The longboards, bamboo and shark teeth make you want to catch a wave. 105 S. Sixth St., Boise, 208-287-9200, reefboise.com/reef


Torch II

Does it really matter how cold the beer is? Or how many beers are on tap? Nope. Those aren't the key selling points at this Boise Bench bikini bar. 610 Vista Ave., Boise, 208-336-4747, thetorchlounge.com


Varsity Pub

This place certainly sports Boise State pride, but its enthusiasm extends to more than the more notorious college sports. Anything from weekly free dance lessons to dueling pianos and live comedy is on the menu for the lively Meridian crowd. 1441 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, 208-906-0658, varsitypubmeridian.com


Ves's Broadway Bar

You'll never get flack from us about too many people enjoying a cold one, and with $2 all-day, everyday drink specials, it's common sense that Ves's bar is standing-room only by 10 a.m. Start off the day with Beerios and seven televisions showing nothing but Nascar and golf. If hunger and sobriety strike at noon, there are Bugles in the vending machine and Fireball Whiskey on tap. 1712 Broadway Ave., Boise, 208-342-9951


The Gathering Place

What used to be the 102-year-old lunch counter inside Orville Jackson's general store is now the only beer bar with a shuffleboard table in downtown Eagle that stays open past 10 p.m. Drink a pint from each of the 19 tap handles and you'll get a free T-shirt, but you'll need a serious commitment and help from a local cab company to beat the current record for completing the challenge in just two and a half days. 50 E. State St., Eagle, 208-230-1180


Gil's K-9 Bar

Contradictory to this bar's name, no K-9s are allowed. With the bar top spanning nearly the length of this dimly lit dive, drinking is king. 2506 Main St., Boise, 208-345-4420


Grove Hotel Bar

The Grove bar offers a classy granite countertop to sip drinks in business casual while listening to the piano player and the chance to sink into a comfy chair. 245 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, 208-319-9830


Q's Billiards and Eatery

Nestled between Flying Pie and the rugged Fairview strip, Q's is a haven for pool junkies and fans of cheap beers. $2.50 for a PBR? Yes, please. 6570 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-322-9122.


The Huddle

What was once the chic Milky Way has morphed into a sports haven, resulting in an eclectic atmosphere of modern metal chairs mixed with plasma TVs. Enjoy a brew alongside a selection from the mac-n-cheese or burger "bar" and get ready to watch your favorite athletic contest. 205 N. 10th St., Boise, 208-338-5454


Kit Kat Club

The Kit Kat Club is a strip club (ahem, bikini bar) on the outskirts of Meridian, in what used to be rural Ada County, and it has been in that location longer than most of us can remember. The atmosphere isn't bad, as strip clubs go. It's dark, with the distant smell of smoke (perhaps mixed with Febreze), but no liquor and only four beers on tap. 4842 W. Franklin Road, Meridian, 208-886-7731


36th Street Bistro

Looking for a classy date spot? Immerse yourself in the airy well planned architecture of the 36th Street development. Don't miss the popular weekend brunches. 3769 Woody Lane, Boise, 208-433-5108


Construction Zone

It's been Bill and Lynn's for as long as anyone can remember, but Meridian's hometown bar is now under new ownership. With its new name comes a remodel and a new outdoor space with activities, live music and karaoke livening up the scene. 229 W. Franklin Road, Meridian, 208-888-4075


Fireside Inn

A loud, proud, no-frills sports bar where the regulars have claimed stools for years. 1610 N. 31st St., Boise, 208-342-9075


Moe's Place

Moe's Place, 37.9 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

What used to be Club Savvy's is now Moe's Place. The spacious dance floor is still the main attraction and the DJ plays hip-hop or whatever the crowd wants to hear. 3933 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-343-1243


Kay and Traci's 127 Club

With pool tables, loud people and a jukebox--Kay and Traci's is a true bar. 127 E. Idaho St., Meridian, 208-884-0122


Proto's Pizzeria Napoletana

The bar provides some of the best people watching downtown.. With wood-fired pizza, any brew will go down easily. 345 S. Eighth St., Boise, 208-331-1400, protospizza.com


Twisted Timber

Subdivision suburbia meets farmland: Twisted Timber is right between the two on Boise's outskirts. Absolutely packed even on a weeknight, this family-friendly pub is a neighborhood favorite. Bring the kids and enjoy beer, wine and pub fare surrounded by kitschy decor and plasma screens showing whatever game is on at the time. 4563 S. Cloverdale Road, Boise, 208-362-7157



Take a Sixth and Main streets meat market, punk up the crowd and give it food, and you'll have Mulligans. There is a Mulligans in every town and they are all the same: the place where your night ends. 1009 W. Main St., Boise, 208-336-6998


Rick's Press Room

Rick's Press Room may be a local restaurant attempting to be a sports bar or a sports bar attempting to be a local restaurant. The restaurant feels like a mom-and-pop shop, which is magnified by the home-cooked food. 130 E. Idaho Ave., Meridian, 208-288-0558


Sammy's Bar

Sammy's Bar, 38.3 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

Limited seating means the concrete floor is for move-busting and hip-grinding, but don't let the shuffleboard table fool you. The crowd here is too young to know how to play. 509 Main St., Boise, 208-343-5159


Cafe Ole

Expansive basement Mexican restaurant with a fountain, salsa bar and dozens upon dozens of large booths. 404 S. Eighth St., Boise, cafeole.com


The Curb Bar and Grill

The Curb Bar and Grill has conflicting identities. With cement floors, mostly male clientele and many TVs, it looks like a sports bar. But with a full menu and nice outdoor patio, it also seems like a family restaurant. This combination results in a fun neighborhood hangout. 1760 S. Meridian Road, Meridian, 208-855-0202, curbbarandgrill.com


Lock Stock and Barrel

Steakhouse and jazz hut decorated in a wine-country theme. Plenty of wines and tasteful frivolity. 1100 W. Jefferson St., Boise, 208-336-4266, lsbboise.com


Sam's Place

Sam's Place is the Moe's Tavern of West Boise. Complete with karaoke, pool tables and darts, Sam's is the spot for the locals. Beware: If you don't know the crowd and you're under the age of 40 expect to get some stares. 3395 N. Five Mile Road, Boise, 208-376-0074


Bier:Thirty Bottle and Bistro

One of the most impressive beer selections in Boise. Ten taps on rotation, hundreds of bottled varieties and growlers for sale. If you still aren't sick of beer, there are tastings and beer dinner events. 3073 S. Bown Way, Boise, 208-697-6443, bierthirty.com


Kahootz Steak and Alehouse

Quiet, cozy and antique with comfortable booths and a genuinely interested staff. Forty-three beers on tap and special European-style cask conditioned beer kept at 65 degrees and not carbonated. 1603 Main St., Meridian, 208-895-9861, kahootz.com


Vista Bar

New ownership has added a patio out back for the summer and year-round for smokers. The iconic A-frame set back from Vista Avenue touts its cheap, stiff drinks and all the fun of Wednesday Flip Night: Flip a quarter with the barkeep to win a buck off your next beverage. 813 Vista Ave., Boise, 208-345-5058


Balcony Club

Cavernous second-story dance club overlooking downtown and catering to the queer crowd. Shirtless bartenders and stiff drinks make Jack a happy boy. 150 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-336-1313, thebalconyclub.com


Bar Gernika

Charmingly intimate hole in the wall serving a rotating selection of fine microbrews and traditional Basque food. Try the croquettas or live the rest of your days in regret. 202 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, 208-344-2175, bargernika.com


Alterknit Lounge at Knitting Factory

Live music coupled with a full bar will complete any concert-going experience. Cap it off with a burger and fries and you have yourself a good ol' time. 416 S. Ninth St., Boise, 208-367-1212, bo.knittingfactory.com


Smoky Mountain Pizza and Pasta

This mini-chain restaurant has a comfortable setting with walls decorated by black-and-white photos commemorating outdoor recreation and sports. The curried chicken pizza should not be missed. 1805 W. State St., Boise, 208-387-2727, smokymountainpizza.com


Chicago Connection

Venture east of Boise's downtown core to find a quiet patio, deep dish pizza, a rare salad bar and coveted parking spot. 310 N. Fourth St., Boise, 208-342-3434, chicagoconnection.com


20th Century Lounge (at 20th Century Lanes)

What would a bowling alley be without a bar? 20th Century Lanes bills itself as a family establishment, but if you've got a hankering for an adult beverage, bowling pin-themed barstools and a pre-smoking ban musk will put you in the mood for a few more frames. 4712 W. State St., Boise, 208-342-8695, 20thcenturylanes.net


Mack and Charlie's

Looking for short skirts and muscle shirts but trying to avoid college bar prices? Mack and Charlie's is the loud, packed, dance-your-pants-off place for you. 507 W. Main St., Boise, 208-343-5159


Parrilla Grill

Parrilla Grill, 39 degees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

With a neighborhood bar vibe and inventive daily drink and food specials (on top of happy hour discounts), Parrilla Grill is a surefire winner when you feel like throwing back a few with a buddy. 1512 N. 13th St., Boise, 208-323-4688, parrillagrillhydepark.com


The Press

The black-and-white-checkered floor and sidewalk patio make this watering hole more wine bistro than beer bar, and the boisterous after-work bunch fills the tiny nook with happy energy. 212 N. Ninth St., Ste. B, Boise, 208-336-9577


Tablerock Brewpub and Grill

Sky-lit and high-ceilinged, this microbrewery lurks quietly on the southern fringe of downtown Boise. The forgettable location betrays the memorable handcrafted beers that have flowed from these taps for more than two decades. 705 Fulton St., Boise, 208-342-0944, tablerockbrewpub.com


Shige Steakhouse

The sexy S-curved bar with black leather cushioned barstools promises sultry saketinis and Sapporo. Tepanyaki and tempura remind us that Shige does more than just raw fish. 100 N. Eighth St., Ste. 215, Boise, 208-338-8423


Ahi Sushi

Although Kirin is the only beer on tap, it is suitable for squelching the fire from an A-Bomb roll made with fresh jalapeno peppers, spicy yellowtail, avocado, salmon and a dose of damn-hot basil-habanero sauce. Scorched tongue not your thing? The chefs at Ahi can fashion any raw delicacy you like at the large, three-sided sushi bar. 1193 E. Winding Creek Drive, Eagle, 208-938-3474, ahisushi.com


Firehouse Pub and Grill

The Firehouse Pub and Grill has a local restaurant vibe in a Meridian strip mall. Beer seems to be the No. 1 concern, and that is always a good sign. A sign that is confirmed by $1 tacos for a full eight hours each weekday. Kind of a surprise restaurant nestled between a car wash and Dutch Bros. 1767 Franklin Road, Meridian, 208-846-9535, firehousepubmeridian.com



Casual, chic foodies find special-occasion cuisine at everyday prices with Fork's sustainable, star-worthy local fare. Thoughtful flavor pairings, flame-roasted meats and fries that don't need ketchup give Fork bragging rights. 199 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-289-1700, boisefork.com


Tom Grainey's Sporting Pub

Everybody needs a standby: a standby friend, a standby meal and a standby bar. Tom Grainey's serves that role for many a Boise local and for good reason. On a slow weekday, the upstairs bar is a quiet, dark, yet neighborly place. On weekends, the basement bar is filled to the brim with partiers by midnight. So, whether you're in the mood to slow down or to party on, Grainey's could be your standby, too. Just make sure you pick the right day of the week. 109 S. Sixth St., Boise, 208-345-2505, tomgraineysboise.com


The Cactus

You remember that place where you embarrassed yourself on your 21st birthday by drinking half a dozen Jagerbombs in 20 minutes? With the high ceilings and tables, and all the Bronco stuff, the one with the back patio? No? Well, everyone else remembers that. 517 W. Main St., Boise, 208-343-9732


Louie's Pizza

Louie's remains an old family favorite. The bar is a place to have a drink before you fill up on Italian comfort food, though we miss the downtown location. 2500 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian, 208-884-5200, louiespizza.com


Ben's Crow Inn

Ben's Crow Inn is at the crucial halfway point between downtown and Lucky Peak along the Greenbelt, and its hasn't-changed-in-decades vibe is a siren's call to kick back on the patio and relax in the summer sun. Try a bucket of clams--seriously. 6781 Warm Springs Ave., Boise, 208-342-9669


Eastside Tavern

This bar is built for debauchery. Group poker games where the winner gets a $20 bar tab. Free bacon Fridays, pool, karaoke and canines aloud make for a rowdy bunch. 610 E. Boise Ave., Boise, 208-345-3878



Handmade sandwiches are the specialty at this 35-year-old establishment. Settled on a bench at one of the picnic tables and surrounded by rough-hewn tongue-and-groove paneling in the dining room, you might imagine yourself munching away in a rustic cabin. 4348 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-322-7401, cobbys.com


Ha'Penny Irish Pub

With such a strong Emerald Isle feel, it's tough to not crave a Guinness. But Ha'Penny has plenty of delectable barley concoctions, and you may be tempted into something new. Saddle up to the dark-wood bar or soak up some sun on one of the bar's two patios, relax and imbibe with an Irish vibe. 855 Broad St., Ste 250, Boise, 208-343-5568, hapennybridgepub.com



Patio seating welcomes a brunch crowd, and afternoon deals attract happy hour-seeking patrons with $3 small plates, beers on tap and house wine. 3110 S. Bown way, 208-338-8887



A dark hipster cave full of rock 'n' roll and starry-eyed plans. Go for the stiff drinks and killer jukebox; go back because you got so drunk, you left your debit card and possibly your underwear behind. 111 N. 11th St., Boise, 208-343-0886, neurolux.com


R&R Public House

Dining and drinking among stone walls and under elegant light fixtures gives R&R Public House a classy and new feel. With no domestic beers on tap, the often-local drafts and microbrews are in constant rotation. 1626 S. Wells Ave., Ste. 115, Meridian, 208-258-2080, rrpublichouse.com


Woody's Pub and Grill

Woody's is what happens when you mix a sports bar with a corner tap. Plenty of TVs and horseshoe pits and a great outdoor area. The bar has rotating taps and $5 PBR pitchers, and the kitchen has all kinds of ways to use the supply of daily smoked meats. Gotta try the Sriracha-Parmesan wings. 650 Vista Ave., Boise, 208-336-1790


Casa del Sol

Casa del Sol, 39.9 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

The smell of Mexican food keeps the air warm and pleasant at Casa del Sol, while the brick walls and low ceilings bring a cozy feel. If that's not enough, seven flat screen TVs broadcast every sports channel available. 409 S. Eighth St., Boise, 208-364-7800, mexicanrestaurantboise.com


Piper Pub

Perfect pre- or post-Alive After Five, the balcony with outdoor seating is the place to see and be seen. Perched handily next to the garage, parking is never an issue, even in the heart of downtown Boise. 150 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-343-24444, thepiperpub.com


Wiseguy Pizza

Wiseguy's downtown Boise location is a casual hangout worthy of solo lunch breaks or dinner out with your friends and family. The location's outdoor patio, situated just off hectic Main Street, affords a view of the street action without being stuck smack dab in the middle of it. Order a pizza and a pint and sit back to enjoy the view. 570 Main St., Boise, 208-336-7777, wiseguypizzapie.com


Papa Joe's

More than local beer and Idaho-bred staff, P Joe's is a choice squatter's hideaway. With homemade pasta and wine pairings that don't require a loan to be taken out to enjoy, it's a wonder longstanding citizens of Boise haven't encamped themselves there. 1301 S Capitol Blvd., Boise, 208-344-7272, papajoesboise.com


Quinn's Restaurant and Lounge

The prime rib, featured every night, is the same recipe today that it was 40 years ago. How about that for tradition? A popular hangout for the military crowd and service industry workers, who get a 10 percent break on drinks every Wednesday. 1005 S. Vista Ave., Boise, 208-345-5544


Red Feather Lounge

Ritzy cocktails, expertly mixed, perch atop a polished granite bar. Snuggle up in a booth in the darkened loft as you contemplate more than 100 different choices of fermented barley and hops. 246 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-429-6340, bcrfl.com/redfeather


White Water Saloon

This medium-sized bar has a Western feel and a popcorn machine but only seven beers on tap. 1646 N. Meridian Road, 208-888-3063



The historic Bank of Eagle building still bears worn plank flooring and an original wall safe. Billing itself as "the locals' Italian restaurant," DaVinci's offers spaghetti and meatballs, an interesting wine list, and eight tap handles. 190 E. State St., Eagle, 208-939-2500, davincis2.com


Lane 21 Bar (Emerald Lanes)

There's really nothing that goes better with cold beer than cosmic bowling. Whether you're swapping pitchers or sipping on a glass of wine, Lane 21 offers a plethora of good, clean fun with a twist. 4860 W. Emerald St., Boise, 208-344-2695, emeraldlanes.com


The Arlene

Though it's the newest bar on the Kuna downtown circuit, the Arlene is rooted in history with re-imagined local fixtures, like a century-old Cottonwood tree refashioned into giant, 400-pound swinging doors, as well as the outfit's mammoth carved-wood bar. With a Christmas light-ringed patio facing the train tracks that bisect Kuna, the bar offers up special prices on beer and the $2 "train shot" whenever a locomotive chugs by. 459 Main St., Kuna, 208-922-2018



The high-ceilinged lounge offers the arched and marbled feel an old-world Mediterranean cafe and blasts the finest in Eurotrash dance music. 211 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-381-0222


The Pocket

On the corner of Curtis and Fairview, you will find the Pocket, a dimly lit hovel for sharks and hustlers. Although not the fanciest place, you can't go wrong with daily free pool from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1487 N. Curtis Road, Boise, 208-375-2474


Cottonwood Grille

A Northwest-centric menu and fresh cuisine have attracted devotees from Boise's power elite to casual Greenbelt strollers who find 180 wines, decadent brunches and one of the best patios around. 913 River St., Boise, 208-333-9800, cottonwood.com


Basque Center

A large, open room filled with mismatched tables and chairs and a threadbare pool table, the Basque Center gives off a vibe that says "community center" more than "bar." Try a Basque wine or traditional kalimotxo, chat with 24-year bartending veteran Julian about fine liquors and settle into this rec center turned relaxed downtown hangout. 611 W. Grove St., Boise, 208-343-2671, basquecenter.com


Rudy's Pub and Grill

Rudy's is geared toward the male sports crowd, with shuffleboard, TVs and video games. But it attracts the after-work crowd with a full menu and respectable wine list. 2310 E. Overland Road, Ste. 150, Meridian, 208-884-4453, rudyspubngrill.com



The Irish pub and eatery boasts a huge patio and a menu that includes both Irish and American favorites. But any bar prides itself on beer offerings, and Sully's pours forth myriad beers with lots of Irish options, as well as domestic and craft alternatives. 11123 State St., Star, 208-286-7743, sullys-idaho.com


Sam's Saloon

Not more than a step away from your car door sits the metal entranceway to Sam's, where denizens lose track of time in the windowless bar. It's an easy thing to do, given cheap, stiff drinks, pool tables and darts at this smoky oasis outside of Boise. 10937 W. State St., Star, 208-286-7794


Gelato Cafe

Walking into Gelato Cafe, you would probably expect to be treated to ice cream. But with a full sushi menu and beer on tap, you may be pleasantly surprised. A patio shared with neighbors often has live music, a change in the strip mall-land that has overtaken the corner of Fairview Avenue and Locust Grove. 2053 E. Fairview Ave., Ste. 101, Meridian, 208-846-8410


Grainey's Basement

This sibling to Tom Grainey's may be subterranean, but it parties just as hard. Boasting a sort of lounge-cave area with long booths, a big ol' bar in the middle and one of the best dance floors in Boise, this basement is a lot more fun than the one that housed your adolescent ping pong table. 109 S. Sixth St., Boise, 208-345-2505



Redefining a cultural experience with beer tasting, Boise State game nights, traveling shows and even shopping the shelves for craft brews, Brewforia puts an elegant and modern twist on the phrase "let's grab a beer." 3030 E. Overland Road, Ste. 100, 208-888-7668, brewforia.com


Hyde Park Pub

A North End institution, Hyde Park Pub is full on comfort, from the food to the low-key atmosphere. Make more than one visit a month and you're sure to know the bartender Don--you'll recognize him by his great handlebar mustache. He's the type of guy who makes you feel all right about showing up solo and cozying up to the bar. 1501 N. 13th St., Boise, harryshydepark.com, 208-336-9360


Payette Brewing Company

This 1-year-old brewery keeps the Outlaw IPA, Payette Pale Ale, Mutton Buster Brown Ale and seasonal offerings flowing from its four taps. Check out the foosball and ping pong tables in the brewery's game room. 111 W. 33rd St., Garden City, 208-344-0011, payettebrewing.com



Go big or go home in this fully decked-out restaurant and lounge. Come for the happy hour, stay for the people watching. 276 Bob White Court, Boise, 208-338-5000, barbacoa-boise.com


Tavern at Bown Crossing

Outdoor seating gets you out of the high-brow seafood and steakhouse atmosphere, but after two cocktails, you may find yourself gorging on a USDA prime grade steak and not complaining. 3111 S. Bown Way, Boise, 208-345-2277, tavernatbown.com



Visitors are greeted by a massive elk head mounted on the wood-paneled wall of this Main Street Kuna bar, giving the establishment a lodge-like vibe. A massive orange Jagermeister flag, three pool tables and a patio fill out the decor of one of Kuna's popular haunts. 379 W. Main St., Kuna, 208-922-1853


Stubbs Sports Pub

Flat screens in every direction and surprisingly diverse beer taps. For $25 a year join the pint club, which grants happy-hour prices anytime. 3662 S. Findley Ave., Boise, 336-7882


O'Michael's Pub and Grill

The bartenders know how to pour a good drink and sporting events flash across well-positioned TVs. Now and then, there is a decent band playing in the back. This place has been A-OK since 1966. 2433 Bogus Basin Road, 208-342-8948, omichaelspub.com


Sun Ray Cafe

A laid-back biker bar ... of sorts. Spandex-clad, endorphin-high road- and mountain-biking clientele fill the patio nearly every evening during the warm season, sipping beer and noshing on pizza, sandwiches and salads. Feel free to bring Fido--the patio is dog friendly. 1602 N. 13th St., Boise, 208-343-2887, sun-raycafe.com


13th Street Pub and Grill

13th Street Pub and Grill, 42.1 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

13th Street Pub & Grill may have the best new patio in Boise. It's heated in winter and cool in summer because of prodigious amounts of shade and overhead fans. Comfortable chairs on the outer edges of the patio make for idyllic people-watching sessions. Add in the fresh pub-style eats, a few happy-hour beverages and you've killed a perfectly good afternoon. 1520 N. 13th St., Boise, 208-639-8888


Bittercreek Ale House

Classic gastropub with low light and hardwood decor that has a vibe as soothing and comforting as a Thanksgiving dinner. 246 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-345-1813. bcrfl.com/bittercreek


Flying Pie Pizzaria

Flying Pie on State Street just remodeled its interior but didn't let polished countertops and shiny new watering hole kill its family pizza joint vibe. 4320 W. State St., Boise, 208-384-0000, flyingpie.com


The Refuge

A no-nonsense pub with live bands belting country covers, nonstop sports coverage on seven flatscreens and 20 rotating beers on tap. 404 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise, 208-424-8211, therefugeboise.com


Charlie Brown's

The bar celebrated its 40th anniversary in April, so that says something about its standing and committed clientele. There's a nice wood deck patio out back for smokers and NASCAR races are shown inside. 5783 W. Overland Road, Boise, 208-375-6541


Red Eye Saloon

On any given evening, the Red Eye jukebox is the most-modern feature of the establishment. The tunes picked out by faithful patrons err toward rock ballads and country tracks from the era of the bar's inception, and with nary a window, it's easy to get lost in time enjoying the atmosphere. Throwback charm abounds in the form of wood-paneled decor and colorful neon beer signs. 414 W. Main St., Kuna, 208-922-9797



Schooner's is a classic neighborhood bar where the crowd is looking for a drink, some wings and sports on one of the big screen TVs. 499 S. Main St., Meridian, 208-884-3737


Pho Nouveau

If you're here pho beer, go pho yourself. This tiny bistro's spicy bites beg for the company of frosty hopped beverages. 780 W. Idaho St., Boise, 208-367-1111, phonouveau.com


White Water Pizza and Pasta

The rough-cut log furniture, in addition to the full-sized kayaks and pro-rafting photos, embody a charisma that speaks to Idahoans' insatiable appetite for outdoors. 3223 E. Louise Drive, Meridian, 208-888-3063


Mai Thai

This upscale Thai restaurant and lounge with an indoor fountain and steampunk sculptures dishes up classy grub and fancy cocktails. Make sure to check out the Japanese-inspired happy hour. 750 W. Idaho St., Boise, 208-433-8424, maithaigroup.com


Pie Hole

One lonely tap pours all the draft beer, but it's more about thin crust pizza, served until the wee hours of the morning. Gulping down a few slices blunts the next morning's hangover. 205 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-344-7783, pieholeusa.com


Highlands Hollow

With eight or nine microbrews on tap and inventive pub food, this is a place where you can spend a few bucks without regret. Perched in the Foothills off of Bogus Basin Road, it's a natural stop on the way home from the mountains. 2455 Harrison Hollow Lane, Boise, highlandshollow.com, 208-343-6820


Boise Fry Company

Offering choose-your-own-adventure fries and communal tables in the heart of Bown Crossing--the second location for the popular boise eatery. You order your burgers on the side here, but they're well worth some attention of their own. 3083 S. Bown Way, Boise, 208-965-1551, boisefrycompany.com


Front Door Northwest Pizza and Taphouse

Travel from the comfort of home at this beer-centric neighborhood pub that welcomes dogs on the patio and makes the passport obsolete with 60-plus global brews and Napoleon-style pizza. 105 Sixth St., Boise, 208-287-9201, thefrontdoorboise.com


Lulu's Fine Pizza

The relaxed atmosphere at Lulu's lends itself to families with younger children and groups of friends. Soon, the restaurant will undergo a makeover, complete with booth-style seating lining the walls and a new play area for the kiddos. 2433 N. Bogus Basin Road, Boise, 208-342-8948, ilovelulus.com



It's always a party at Fatty's where the name comes from the big-old drinks served at the bar. The fun atmosphere extends to the regular live comedy nights, and should you need more distractions, do some people watching from the massive windows perched above Eighth Street. 800 Idaho St., Ste. 200, Boise, 208-514-2531, drinkfattys.com


Terry's State Street Saloon

Terry's State Street Saloon's open layout and inviting atmosphere make it one of Boise's most-ingratiating karaoke bars. 3301 Collister Drive, Boise, 208-331-8225


Pengilly's Saloon

This Boise institution's ancient hardwood floor supports an old-fashioned bar with an easy view of the more recently added stage. The patrons' energetic and sometimes bawdy conversations keep the scene interesting. 513 Main St., Boise, 208-345-6344


The Shredder

Walk through a roll-up garage door to enter The Shredder, where live rock music and a skate ramp collide. Pool tables and classic arcade games fill this garage-band-meets-skate-park neighborhood dive. Eclectic decorations include Steve Urkel and Pee-Wee Herman figurines, as well as tarp art. 430 S. 10th St., Boise, 208-345-4355


Main Street Bistro

Downtown's finest meat market with a wide selection of baseball caps available in the lost and found. The large redesigned patio complete with couches and an outdoor bar can be quite lovely before the rabble arrives for the stupid-cheap drinks. 609 W. Main St., Boise, 208-345-4515



Jo's Sunshine Lounge

Two new additions at Jo's: Owners have contracted with Big K Barbecue to churn ribs, pulled pork and other munchies from the kitchen; and live music lives here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays. Friday remains karaoke night. 1115 N. Curtis Road, Boise, 208-991-3240, jossunshinelounge.com


The Gamekeeper

The Gamekeeper, 58.3 degrees. - LAURIE PEARMAN

The fine Gamekeeper Restaurant is sorely missed but in recent years, its sister lounge has attracted a devout following of late-nighters looking for jazz and a cool, dark place to sip martinis. In the morning, those same late-night partiers show up for brunch at the Plaza Grill, looking for a little hair of the dog at the Bloody Mary bar that they can wash down poolside with a serving of eggs Benedict. 1109 Main St., Boise, 208-343-4611, owhyeeplaza.com



Gamekeeper Lounge, 2012


Gusto, 2010


Idaho Pizza Company, 2007


Tablerock Brewpub, 2007


Sammy's, 2011


New Frontier, 2011


Bar Gernika, 2002


New Frontier, 2010


JD's and Friends, 2003


TK's Bar, 2006



Donnie Mac's Trailer Park Cuisine, 2006


Players Pub and Grill, 2012


Pollo Rey Downtown, 2012


Harry's Bar and Grill, 2005


Lonestar Steakhouse, 2005

Hooters, 2006


Chili's, 2006


Hooters, 2005


Ramano's Macaroni Grill, 2004


Harry's Bar and Grill, 2012


El Gallo Giro Kuna, 2011


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