Most people who step through the doors of the new Unforgiven Lounge mutter some kind of statement of surprise: "Wow, look at this," "Nice change," or "This is very cosmopolitan for north Spokane."
The all-black walls glisten with chrome décor and painted silver waves. A chandelier hangs over a baby grand piano in the corner and the white bar lights up with fluorescent colors that are changed on demand via remote control.
"What amazes me is everyone who walks into this place says, 'Oh my god, it's like Las Vegas,'" says bar owner Ardian Hashani while mixing drinks and chatting with late-afternoon customers.
The now-ornate space on West Hastings Road, which opened just a little more than a month ago, is nearly unrecognizable from the yellow and orange walls, painted floor and empty backbar it had previously when it was a series of different establishments, including Lone Cactus, Mixx and Mugshots.
Hashani, who is from Albania and also owns a trucking company, says he was inspired by bad customer service experiences at bars to create his own place where everyone would feel comfortable. He thought, "I'm going to open something where people have a place to go," he says, adding that he wants to keep the atmosphere classy and the mood mellow.
So there won't be any DJs bumping beats, but Hashani brings in live blues or rock bands on Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes will host open mics on a weeknight. In about a week, Hashani says the east wall will be knocked down to create an archway into another room furbished as a VIP room for bachelor(ette) parties, birthday celebrations and other gatherings.
He plans to keep the menu simple; about 18 choices consist of American, European and pasta dishes. You can get things like grilled chicken salad ($9.50), a pretzel with obatzda Bavarian cheese spread ($7) and shrimp linguini mixed with arugula pesto ($10).
As a wine and martini bar, the wine list includes Washington state as well as Italian vintages, and the martini menu has 10 options. One fresh-tasting choice is the Sweet Clementine ($7), a combination of Svedka Clementine vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in a sugar-rimmed glass. ♦
The Unforgiven Lounge • 415 W. Hastings • Sun-Thu, 3-11 pm; Fri-Sat, 3 pm-2 am • 315-4277 • facebook.com/theunforgivenlounge