Best of the Inland Northw#517FA

by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Best Place to Give a Hoot About Beer & r & My father's rule for determining a drinkable beer is whether it's got animals on the label; my standards have always been a little higher. I am, in the best and worst sense of the phrase, a beer snob. Or at least a recovering beer snob. The selection of malt deliciousness at Daanen's Deli and Gourmet Grocery in Hayden offers plenty of opportunities, though, for those who like their beers with or without animals. For starters, we could have Japanese Classic Ale, a hoppy little number emblazoned with a bright red owl. We could follow that up with some Old Leg Over, with a jaunty Irishman gracing the label. (People are so animals. Our ability to reason may set us apart from wild animals. Look, let's discuss it over a bottle of Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Certainly he was an animal.) Beers with buildings on them are good, too, though. Like this Kasteel Bier from Belgium. Or maybe this Belgian Abbey Ale. Or just stick to beers with no animals and no buildings. Czech Lager from Czechvar. Young's Oatmeal Stout. Fine, Dad -- you gotta have animals? I'm sure they must have a beer with a stag on it. I don't where exactly. There's a whole aisle of beer; go look for it. Geez. -- Josh Smith

Best Place to Nurse Your Hangover & r & You wake up to feel the fresh stab of each photon at the back of your bloodshot retinas. The previous night is a blur of legs, banjos and liquor. Is that a prosthetic arm in the corner? No matter. After a night of rough love, your body is screaming for some tender loving. It's time to brave the harsh light of day and find some solace in grub and good cheer. For that, there's no better place than Dolly's Corner Caf & eacute;, with staff so friendly and helpful that they're guaranteed to keep your hangover aggression in check while simultaneously increasing your will to live.

To get things started: A cup of coffee as soon as you hit the table. For maximum recuperative powers, follow that up with some orange juice and start sucking down that water -- you need it. Now, some proteins and carbs. Nothing fills those needs better than a solid omelet with hash browns -- and to be on the safe side, let's get a side of German sausage. Waiting for your food to arrive, you can soak in some daylight, as it filters in through clear glass blocks on the southwest wall, casting a warm diffuse glow over you. There -- sunshine isn't so bad after all.

When Tracy or Anna, the world's most chipper waitresses, bring your blessed breakfast, all your faith in the human race will be restored as well. And so fortified, you'll be ready to face the rest of the day. In a couple of hours, you'll be more than ready to face the task of dinner. And then more legs, banjos and liquor. -- Josh Smith

Best Substitute For Sex & r & Screaming Orgasms are OK (if memory serves), but Sex on the Beach is just fruity. Some drinks are like that: all flash, no finesse. Truly sexy drinks don't need titillating titles to satisfy a craving. Such is the case with ella's chocolate martini, mixed up with Cr & egrave;me de Cacao, flavored vodkas and half-and-half, and served chilled in a martini glass (with an optional cherry). "Everyone has their version of a chocolate martini," says Jeff Busch, ebullient behind the bar at CenterStage's top-floor supper club and lounge. "Ours is decadent." Godiva liqueurs and Stoli vanilla -- ooh, mama. Not overly sweet, with a tantalizing little bite. Could it be creamier? Maybe. But it's the best date I've had in a while. (CS)

Best Way To Replace All The Glassware Your Former Roommate Stole & r & Remember when your house had 12 times as many glasses as residents? Tired of washing out cereal bowls so you don't have to drink straight from the bottle? If so, then free pint glass night at the Viking should fix that. Starting at 4 pm on Wednesdays, every pitcher of beer you buy nets you a handsome promotional pint glass. And if you manage to stay sober enough, you can score the stacks of glasses your less alert compatriots left behind. Be forewarned, though: These may be the first items dropped off at Value Village once your girlfriend decides to "civilize" you. (JDS)

Best Place To Get Drunk And Litigious & R & What do you get when you combine two lawyers and 600 pounds of grapes? A winery that passes the bar. Da-dum! In 1997, long-time friends Michael White and Greg Lipsker bought a winemaking kit. Eight years later, Barrister Winery was leasing rows at eight vineyards, releasing 1,000 cases a year and snagging awards. "A labor of love," they call it. Expect mostly reds, like the 2002 Columbia Valley Cabernet (Wine Enthusiast rated it 92), served at Niko's in Spokane, the Wine Cellar in Coeur d'Alene and elsewhere. Expect also to enjoy the historic Railroad Avenue locale for Saturday wine tastings, where you'll feel like you're among friends. And hobos. This is urban wining at its best. (CS)

Best Place To Sip Wine And Pretend you're Somebody & r & Beneath the fabulous stained glass ceiling, resplendent with the design of a peacock in full feather, I sip my Syrah from fine crystal stemware and discreetly give the Peacock Room at the Davenport a once-over. A few corporate types in suits unwind nearby while a gaggle of tourists snags a table near the windows. Even on a busy night, the tables for two can feel like an intimate island in the crowd, but tonight I want to be seen. I feel eyes sliding my way. They may be wondering how the imposter got in, but I can act as if I belong. (AC)

Best Place To Meet Your Future Spouse & r & Europa is comfy and cozy, has tasty Italian fare and luscious wines and cocktails, plus it's open till midnight. What more could you ask from a meeting place? "A lot of people met their spouses in our bar," says Europa's co-owner Janice Maas. "Our restaurant, and especially the lounge, give people the sense that they're somewhere else." Cushy sofas and big chairs clustered around small tables, along with upholstered stools at the bar, add to the lounge's ambience, as do exposed brick walls and an open-beamed ceiling. Sit yourself down, order the antipasto misto appetizer and a good Northwest wine (always a good conversation starter), and keep your eye out for that someone else. (SH)

Best Alcoholic Waste Of Money & r & You teetotaling prohibitionists might claim that all alcohol is a waste of money, and on certain bleary, light-sensitive Saturday mornings, we'd be inclined to agree with you. But for our purposes, saying "everything" isn't specific enough. We want the best waste of money. That is, the most efficient waste. Crystal is up there, since it's so damn pricey, but it also gives you craploads of street cred. There's value in that. No, the drink with almost no value at all, and thus the town's best alcoholic money drain, is Bistango's $30 Martini. It's got Hennessy XO and Grand Marnier 100, which are both cognacs -- meaning, if you want to get all technical (and we do), the $30 martini isn't even a martini. It's just $30. (LB)

Best Place To Get Your Kilt Lifted & r & Let's face it: Scotch is expensive. But if you want to put on the fancy airs of a Scotch drinker, you can't just traipse around with a glass of Chivas Regal on the rocks and call yourself a whiskey snob. There's a whole range of flavors and finish to whiskey, and the extensive selection of Scotch at the Globe Bar & amp; Grille is the place to get your bearings. They've got more than 20 Scotches, ranging from the smooth and mild Dalwhinne to the sublimely smoky Lagavulin. A single evening at the Globe could turn you into a sophisticated connoisseur or a stone-blind drunk. Either way, you win. (JDS)

Best Place To Get A Turf Burn & r & Bartender supreme Patty Tully invented the Turf Burn, and that fact alone earns her a permanent "Get Out of Jail Free" card in our book. We won't ruin the fun by even describing what's in it. Let's just say that after a few, everyone in the miniscule Baby Bar will be more beautiful, more entertaining, more interesting and more insightful. Best of all, however, your behavior will get infinitely more outrageous. If you need any other reason to go downtown: the jukebox. And another: Local journalists (ahem) are always getting wasted there. It's wonderful. (CM)

Best Place To Go Shot For Shot With Bostonians & r & The Downtown Crossing subway stop in Boston is a central hub of the city's mass transit system. From there, you can easily reach the tech geekery of MIT, the intellectual hauteur of Harvard or, just as easily, the projects of Dorchester. Its namesake bar in Sandpoint exists at a similar confluence of lifestyles. Hippies mingle with CEOs, rednecks chat with ski bums, journalists drink toasts to poets. It all reeks of jolly inclusivity. Bartender (and Sandpoint Reader publisher) Zach Hagadone is a whiskey historian, and that SOB can talk you into getting crunked on any number of storied scotches -- the kind beloved by poets, kings and tyrants. That is to say: the kind you really can't afford. (LB)

Vandal Summer Cinema Series

Fridays, Sat., Aug. 21 and Thu., Aug. 26. Continues through Aug. 20
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