Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Café Ole


8th Street Marketplace
*some call this BODO but technically BODO is the new construction and this is not. The buildings even have signage at the doors stating “8th Street Marketplace”.

Time: 4:30-6 M-F
Special: 2 for 1 drinks (any drink!)
Rating: 4 Martinis
Smoking: No
Other mentions: Free chips and salsa and a $3 all you can eat taco bar (only in the bar). Each day offers up different food specials. Cell reception can be spotty if seated in the back corner of the bar.

I met up with 8 others this particular evening. The bar is rather large so it was easy to accommodate all of us. Several folks ordered a variety of margaritas, including one frothy pink one. By the multiple orders of margaritas, I will assume they were to everyone’s liking. I had my usual Vodka and Soda and it was very satisfactory. The server brought us several baskets of chips served with beans and salsa. Their chips are soooo good. Considering the size of our party, I found the service to be acceptable, however the clearing of our table of the empties was very slow. We really didn’t need to show off how much we can drink! I will definitely return (it also helps that it is across the street from my office too!).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Leku Ona

117 S. 6th Street
Boise, ID 83702

Time: 4-5:30
Special: ½ off Stella and Budweiser draughts, $1.75 wells, ½ off wine M-Sat
Rating: 3 martinis
Smoking: only in the bar which is separate from the restaurant
Other mentions: Full menu available

Located on the Basque block, this restaurant couldn’t have a better location. The place is rather large with its corner location and entrances from Grove Street and 6th Street. Leku Ona has also restored the building next door into a boutique hotel, which I find perfect. The rooms are updated yet cozy, located in the heart of Old Boise, and very reasonably priced (around the $70/night range).

The bar is well stocked with a variety of options and there appeared to be 5 beers on tap- micro brews and domestics. They also have a selection of Basque beers in the bottle. The wine selection is good with just the right amount of options and all reasonably priced. I still have yet to eat at Leku Ona but the menu items look tasty. They are all available in the bar with appetizers ranging from $4-10.

A mixture of folks hangs out at Leku Ona, from local artists to politicians to those from the Basque country. This eclectic assortment of patrons is one of the great things I love about the establishment, plus it is locally owned! While it was rather smoky in there, I would still go back especially in the summer time and enjoy the large patio area.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Highlands Hollow

2455 Harrison Hollow Lane

Time: 3-7 S-S
Special: $2.75 draughts
Rating: 3 martinis
Smoking: No
Other mentions: happy hour is 7 days a week! A full menu with a large vegetarian section. Seasonal patio seating.

This place has been around as long as I’ve been in town, but back then it was Harrison Hollow. It has undergone a name change but I haven’t noticed any other distinct changes- this is a good thing. It was great just the way it was and it still is!

Highlands Hollow brews its own tasty beers and offers up a great selection, perfect after a day on the mountain- biking or skiing. Their beers range from light ales to stouts. They feature a ginger wheat, a berry, and a winter selection. The variety is fantastic. They also offer up an unexpectedly good selection of wines.

The clientele varies as much as the beverage selection. I have seen skiers, cyclists, families, even news casters in the establishment at any given time. The food menu is also just as yummy as the beer, and the service is excellent. Definitely a keeper on the short list.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Modern Hotel and Bar

1314 W Grove Street

Time: 5-7 pm
Special: $3.50 wells, $5 wines, and $3 beers
Rating: 4 Martinis
Smoking: No
Other mentions: No food is served

Located in the revamped Linen District, The Modern Hotel is a renovated Travel Lodge with amazing updates. It has gone from dive hotel to swanky destination. This was my first trip to The Modern Bar, a small bar located off the hotel lobby. I’ve ridden my bicycle past the hotel on several occasions when live music was playing in the courtyard and it has been on my short list of places to try, and finally I made it!

When I first walked up to the hotel it wasn’t initially clear where the entrance was to the bar, and still isn’t, so I just walked into the lobby and asked directions. Turns out, it is just down the hall from the front desk.

It was a Monday so it was no surprise to find only two people in the intimate bar. They each had laptops and phone calls going, so I will assume they were still working. If I had to work after 5, The Modern Bar is not a bad place to do it.

The décor is simple and modern, yet soothing. There are five sets of white antlers on one wall that seemed odd but art is often odd so I didn’t think much of it. The inset, overhead lighting was strategically placed over each table to provide enough light to work, see the cocktail menu, or write notes about ones visit.

I was quickly greeted by the bartender/server and told the happy hour specials: $3.50 wells, $5 wines, and $3 beers (I did not see any draught beer however). I ordered up my usual vodka and soda with lime. I did explore the minimal cocktail menu and was surprised by what a punch it really provides for so few items. It is clear that the proprietors put a great deal of thought into it with a less-is-more style. I will return!