When the lights went out all too suddenly at the Viking Bar and Grill, it was shocking to say the least. After 30 seemingly strong years as Spokane’s go-to post-game hangout, it had a following rarely found elsewhere in town.
“It definitely has an established name,” says new proprietor Troy Hardy.
Hardy was 22 years into his architectural career and starting to feel a bit burned out. That’s about when a landlord acquaintance of his mentioned the fiasco and sudden closure of the tavern in June of this year.
“What better business to jump into than this one?” he says with a laugh.
But the to-do list before reopening was no laughing matter. More than three months were spent cleaning what Hardy describes as “a pretty damn dilapidated building at best.” Carpet was ripped out for a more practical refinished concrete floor, the patio was sandblasted and every feasible hard surface was pressure washed.
Once the interior was sparkling, Hardy hired a new crew, installed seven flat-screens, acquired a liquor license and started working on the fun stuff (booze).
There is a delicate balance in the unique situation when another proprietor takes on an established business. Upgrade, but not intimidatingly so. Expand offerings to attract new clientele, but not so much as to alienate the old. Hardy maintains it beautifully.
Regulars at the old Viking will be glad to know that the original 34 taps are still available, half maintaining old classics, with the other half focusing on more local, seasonal brews. Another change to the Viking is an upgraded menu, which covers all the basic pub fare you’d expect (fries, burgers, nachos, etc.) but with a few additions (pan-seared cod, salad selection) providing a refreshing alternative.
“Being that I have an architectural background, I am comfortable with hiring a good manager and a good bar manager and let[ting] them get creative,” says Hardy.
We ordered the sweet potato fries ($6) which are cut into larger, chunks and tossed with a liberal helping of Parmesan cheese and garlic. The crispy, salty exterior perfectly combined with a sweet, almost custardy center. After washing it down with Elysian’s smooth, spicy Pumpkin Ale we were prepared for autumn to descend.
The Viking Bar and Grill• 1221 N. Stevens St. • Open Mon-Sun, 11 am-2 am • 315-4547