Boise-city centre

4.3 / 5 2 / 5

May 11, 2018

Modern gastropub with its own distillery, in the historic (and cool) Basque district of downtown Boise.

Thanks to the archaic battery of Federal, state and local laws written after Prohibition ended in 1930, it’s nearly impossible in most states to have any sort of tasting or service associated with a distillery. So, unlike wineries, most distilleries can’t offer samples, sell their wares, or open a bar next to where the booze is made.
It’s slowly changing, and at the front of the pack was this distillery and American Gastropub located, of all places, in Boise, Idaho. Three locations produce three different spirits (gin, vodka, rum and a variety of liqueurs), but you can get them all at this centrally located open space in the heart of Boise’s downtown Basque neighborhood.
Exposed rafters in a historic brick building evoke the late 19th-century character of the street, and the open floor plan complements the “factory” making the booze in a glass-encased workshop in the middle of the restaurant.
The crowd includes college students, after work groups, cocktail nerds and families. Local and regional craft beers, a solid wine menu and veggie / gluten free options on the food menu attract a wide range of cool kids, but you’re here for the booze.
While plenty of other brands are available behind the bar, start with a Basil Instinct (Bardenay gin, orange liqueur, basil, fresh-pressed sweet & sour mix). Drinks run on the fruity/sweet side (think flavored vodkas and plenty of fruit juices), but they’re well made and the social crowd enjoys them.

Main photo credit: Bardenay official Facebook page