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Garland Gets Wet 

The Drinkery adds to the growing bar scene in the Garland district. Plus, new Italian food downtown.

click to enlarge A Caribbean Cruiser at the Garland Avenue Drinkery - LORETTA SURMA
  • Loretta Surma
  • A Caribbean Cruiser at the Garland Avenue Drinkery

The Garland district is already home to the upscale cocktail bar Bon Bon, the pool hall at the garland avenue favorite Rick’s Ringside and the epitome of drinkery [loretta surma photo] all dive bars: the Brown Derby. But the neighborhood opened its arms to a new bar on March 16:

THE GARLAND AVENUE DRINKERY, which caters to a different — younger and more social — clientele. With the Drinkery, married couple Bill and Deborah Weisgerber, both 27, are hoping to redefine the district’s nightlife scene.

“We want people to know they can come drink and bar-hop in the Garland district,” Bill says. “I think it’s encouraging to have the other bars here.” He points out that the downtown bar Revolver recently opened a second location just down Garland Avenue from them.

Inside the Drinkery’s beige, Western-style building at Garland Avenue and Lincoln Street, three flat-screen televisions hang on the walls. There’s wireless Internet, a pinball machine and a jukebox. The Weisgerbers have created a cozy little lounge that’s not huge but could comfortably house about 40 drinkers. Light hardwood floors and ornate Spanish tiles complement the big, dark oak L-shaped bar.

“We want to be different than the other bars [on Garland], and I think we’ve done a pretty good job,” Deborah says. “We just wanted to create a nice place for people to come to after work, school or a long day.”

The full bar has staples like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Mac & Jacks on tap. And if everything goes as planned, the Drinkery will provide a late-night eatery for the drunk and hungry with taco truck-style tacos and free chips and salsa.

“We didn’t want to go halfway on anything,” Deborah says. “The area has a really diverse crowd, but it’s always been known as an older district. We’re hoping to bring in a younger crowd.” (Jordy Byrd)

Garland Avenue Drinkery • 828 W. Garland • Daily, 4pm-midnight • 230-2064

Eat, Drink and Draw

Spokane`s newest Italian restaurant, CIAO MAMBO, promises to seduce you with friendly service and sexy pasta. On its website, images of sultry women in attractive black dresses offer wine and hold tempting plates of pasta.

In reality, the newest member of the Montana restaurant chain is suitable for the whole family, with friendly, high-energy servers, crayons for doodling on the paper-covered tables and play dough (made from real pizza dough) to keep little hands busy. If you’re lucky, your pre-dinner artwork might get added to the mural on the ceiling.

Frank Sinatra music greets you at the door, piped to the outdoor patio, which will likely be a popular destination this summer. Currently, Ciao Mambo is open for dinner only; lunch service will start in May.

The extensive menu contains standard appetizers like calamari and bruschetta, as well as a few creative items like Tootsie Rolls (thin egg wrappers stuffed with cheese and pesto, $8) and Nachos all’Italiana (large crispy pasta squares topped with meatballs, prosciutto, peppers and Alfredo sauce, $11).

You’ll find meat and seafood entrees ($12-$28), and over a dozen classic pastas like spaghetti, lasagne and ravioli ($10.75-$16.75). There’s a low-carb section of the menu, which replaces pasta with mixed baby greens. And there are several light pasta dishes — prepared without cream or marinara sauce. The Penne Isabella ($14.25) combines spicy sausage, ricotta cheese and plenty of fresh basil for a flavorful, filling meal.

Ciao Mambo offers a bambini menu with spaghetti, pizza and other kid-friendly dishes for $3.75.

There’s also brick-oven pizza ($9.25-$15.75) with a wide variety of toppings, including goat cheese and grilled veggies. Desserts include classic Italian treats like tiramisu, cannoli and spumone ice cream.

Ciao Mambo offers reasonably priced, large portions of Italian favorites in a family-friendly atmosphere at a great downtown location. If the popularity of the Olive Garden and The Old Spaghetti Factory is any indicator, Ciao Mambo will be a hit in Spokane. (Kirsten Harrington)

Ciao Mambo • 818 Riverside Ave. • Open Mon-Sun from 4pm to close • • 315-4447

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