Vying for the number one spot on my list of best bars in Idaho, the Longhorn Restaurant and Saloon in Crouch is quintessential small town supper club and bar. Since my inaugural visit to the Longhorn (on a Fourth of July two summers ago when Boise night club pianoman Bobby D put on an impromptu show with the Longhorn's out-of-tune antique for a house so packed the crowd was spilling out all over the town), I have become about as regular there as a space launch. If handed the winning Powerball numbers as incentive, I would still be unable to utter a negative word about the place.
Sure there have been a few potential deal breakers over a half-dozen visitslike last Sunday when the kitchen ran out food and the bar ran out of icebut the staff takes it all in stride and unapologetically tells it like it is: "That menu sucks anyway," one bartender told a table of hungry customers, pointing them to the outdoor BBQ instead.
All species of antlered animals fill the wallsincluding at least one species not found in nature (the mysterious jackelope) and a many-point buck wearing a Budweiser hatas well as various utilitarian metal objects like railroad spikes, horseshoes and an old sickle, and other wall hangings that were once a part of the animal kingdom (like alligator heads and stuffed fish) or attached to something that was (turtle shells, long horns and an antler chandelier).
But atmosphere can be static and once the novelty has worn off, it's the people who keep me returning. Locals comprise the bulk of the regular crowd and they'll not only immediately include newcomers in conversation, but will buy them a round as well. As for the bartenders, a little bit of personality goes a long way and each of the tenders I've met at the LH could school even Boise's best.
The Longhorn Restaurant and Saloon, Crouch, 208-462-3108