Known affectionately as the "Lux" to its regulars, the Neurolux is perhaps the quintessential underground bar in Boise. On any night of the week you are sure to encounter a myriad of Boise's black-clad, leather wearing, tattooed, pierced, grunge, bohemian, dreadlocked, full of coolness, young urbanites. The strobochromic effect put off by the large blinking crown in the back is an epileptic's worst nightmare but it pulsates to the beat of the place. With one of the best jukeboxes in town, a single pool table, a video game or two, the ping-pong table (when there isn't a band playing) and walls full of plush booths, the real action happens around the bar.
Friendly bartendersyou better be friendly to them because they look like they could turn mean in a heartbeatwill serve you up some of the strongest drinks in town. If you've been in more than once, they're likely to remember you. Don't ask for a martini or any fancy cocktails because this is a beer and mixed drink bar. It is a place where Jack and Coke, gin and tonic, bourbon on the rocks and blue-collar beer rule. It's the kind of place where, if you order a Heineken, you half expect Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) from Blue Velvet to jump out and say, "Fuck that shit, Pabst Blue Ribbon!"
Many a night we've stumbled home from the Lux, swearing never to return. Somehow, though, we always seem to be drawn back to it like a comet that has a brief flash of brilliance as it shoots around the sun.
Perhaps the best time to be had there, though, is when a big show comes in. The small stageelevated high enough to see from way in the backhas been graced by bands used to playing much larger venues. In the intimate space, the sound isn't always great and sometimes you have to take drink ordering into your own hands when it is busy (despite some of the hardest working waitresses in town, it does get slammed), but, with its minor flaws, the Lux is a Boise landmark.
Even in the dead of winter, the patio out front is a haven, or a purgatory, for those escaping the smoke filled interior. Ole, the doorman, is a stern man, able to kick out drunks, but willing to forgive those who've imbibed a little too much. Just don't get on his bad side. Although we've heard of fights happening, we've never witnessed one. So if you decide to darken its doors, come with just the right attitude and you'll be fine. Maybe.
Neurolux, 113 N. 11th St., 336-5034.