Think of it as BoDo's living room. Tucked deep in the interior of the squeaky clean shopping district is a windowless hideaway where sports are always on the seven flat screen TVs, the drinks are always flowing and the food is always superb.
Longtime Boiseans will remember the space at 409 S. Eighth St. as the Kulture Klatsch (where many of us first experienced wheatgrass). Some may remember it as the Eighth Street Bistro, or Cafe Ole before it moved across the street. More recently, it was Gone Rogue. Since 2015--following a trademark dispute with Oregon-based Rogue Brewery--it has been the Double Tap Pub.
Owned by Morgan Powell since 2012, Double Tap's mission is simple: "It's just relaxed," he said.
Located down a hallway between Mr. Peabody's Optical Shoppe and Atomic Treasures in the Foster Building, the spot is dim-lit with a weathered bar top and walls adorned in sports paraphernalia. What's more, Double Tap is the headquarters for the American Outlaws U.S. Men's National soccer team and was the official Boise watch location for the most recent World Cup.
"We are very much a soccer bar," Powell said.
In other words, it's a pub in the true sense of the word. As a publican, however, Powell is anything but typical.
The 36-year-old Caldwell High School graduate served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by three years as a contractor flying unmanned aerial vehicles--aka drones. When he returned home from the wars he was "sitting on a pile of money," he said, and looking for something to invest in. His first choice was a gas station in Caldwell, but that changed when he stopped into what was then Gone Rogue and recognized a high-school football buddy behind the bar.
"I said, 'What are you doing behind the bar? Get out here,'" Powell said. "He said, 'I own the place.'"
When his friend told him Gone Rogue was going to close, Powell saw another opportunity.
"I took the books for both the gas station and the bar to my accountant and she told me not to buy either one of them," he said. "I took a risk and it worked out."
Calling it a "risk" is maybe an understatement. Powell had never worked in a restaurant before. He didn't even cook.
"I had no clue what I was doing," he said. "I had to teach myself everything."
Powell has learned his lessons well. While a laid-back pub atmosphere is readily found at other watering holes, Double Tap's menu sets it apart--both for its contents and style.
Powell said his specialty is "definitely the burgers," and it's hard to argue with that. Options include organic beef, Kobe beef and elk. Every burger is 8 ½ ounces and sourced from Meats Royale in Boise or Timber Butte Elk ranch in Horseshoe Bend. Prices range from $11-$17, which isn't cheap, but customers pay for top-notch meat and the opportunity to wholly customize their order.
Menus at Double Tap are laminated and come with a dry erase marker. The order process involves circling or checking off everything you want with your patty: four types of buns (with bread from Zeppole Baking Company); seven cheeses (from Ballard Family Dairy Cheese in Gooding); nine veggie varieties (from Snake River Farms); and a slate of extras like fried egg, salsa and guacamole.
Powell stuffs each burger with customers' choice of cheese and/or sauteed vegetables, and plates the order with a mound of fries and steak knife plunged in the center of the bun.
Fair warning: You will wait for your food, but with 28 taps--including rotating local handles--and a full bar, it's more than worth it.
More important, he added, "I never put food on your plate that you're not going to eat." And how.