Downtown Frolicking 101

From Booze Day to billiards: Everything you're gonna wanna do on Bloomsday weekend.

Alcohol, exercise, commemorative T-shirt: Spokane hasn’t seen a winning combination like that since Calvary, Santangelo and Frahm.

Enter the Booze Day Marathon Pub Run — a mock race for characters who like beer. Participants even get a number and T-shirt, just like the real thing. 

“It’s not really aimed at [Bloomsday] runners,” says Michelle Riddle, co-owner of Empyrean coffee house at 171 S. Washington St., and co-creator of the event. “It’s aimed at the people who aren’t going to do Bloomsday.”

The logic is there. After all, we pre-game college sporting events, birthday parties, St. Patty’s Day, midterms, meeting the in-laws, parades and just about every other occasion that rationalizes a beer or seven. So Bloomsday should be no exception. 

The best part? Dressing up in crazy costumes.

“Like last year,” says Riddle, “there were some girls in leggings and thong bathing suits, jazzercise style.”

Short shorts? Neon spandex? It’s all fair game. The wackier, the better.

Booze Day is in its third year and going strong with a record of 350 registrants.

The gist is simple. In order to get a T-shirt, every drinking runner/running drinker needs to collect signatures from each participating bar (conveniently listed at the bottom of the entry card).

Well, there’s some wiggle room on the signature thing: “Runners are supposed to get signatures from every bar, but not everyone needs to have, like, eight beers,” says Riddle. “So if you’re going to be wasted after eight beers, that’s not the point. We just need some signatures.”

Some people dominate like champs, though. “There’s one guy who always sprints the whole thing and takes shots instead of beers,” says Peter Froese, a two-time participant. “He usually laps us, doing tequila on the first round, then coming back for beers on the second, totally tanked. Last year, I think he made it around twice — and was still standing.”

Tim Lannigan, owner of Neato Burrito, fondly recalls Booze Day from a sober viewpoint. “It’s geared toward 20- and 30-year-olds, but we had a bunch of 40-, 50-, and even 60-year-olds,” he says. “I wish I could have seen more of that — like, the geriatrics or the people in wheelchairs.”

The whole shindig starts and ends at Empyrean. That is, if you don’t pass out first.

Inquisitive stares from puzzled passersby, Froese says, are a highlight.

“People look at you funny because you’re running across the street, and you have a number on your back, and they’re like, ‘It’s race night? What’s going on?’” he says. “And then you go to the Baby Bar, and the Davenport is right across the street, and all the business people are like, ‘What’s going on? What’s wrong with you people?’”

Be ye a drinker, be ye a jogger, or be ye both: There are good times to be had on the glorious night known as Booze Day.

Booze Day takes place on Saturday, May 1, from 5:30 pm to 1:30 am. Cost: $12. Run from bar to bar in any order. Sign up at Empyrean, 171 S. Washington St.; Irv’s, 415 W. Sprague; Far West Billiards, 1001 W. First Ave.; the Baby Bar/Neato Burrito, 827 W. First Ave.; Dempsey’s Brass Rail, 909 W. First Ave.; Mootsy’s, 406 W. Sprague; and the Blvd, 230 W. Riverside Ave.


You’ve made it to Spokane. You’ve got a hotel room. You’ve logged all those miles in training. There’s time to kill. 

And you saw Riverfront Park’s garbage-eating goat sculpture last year. So what’s next?

Take a gander at the sprawling BLOOMSDAY TRADE SHOW in the Group Health Exhibition Hall of the Spokane Convention Center on Friday, April 29, from 11:30 am-8 pm, and on Saturday, May 1, from 9 am-6:30 pm. 

It’s an annual fitness extravaganza showcasing quality active gear from all the sporty big guns, like Under Armour, Clif Bar, Runners Soul, New Balance, Asics and Sports Authority. 

Sneakers and energy drinks aren’t the only products being peddled, though. Participating booths include a plethora of things we love, like stuff from Nordstrom Rack, Washington Beef, Bumble Bar, Crocs, the Sunglass Guy, Gourmet Garden, Mountain Goat Outfitters, Linens Wholesale, and… Minute Rice? Yup.

“It’s fabulous shopping for people who are interested in sports and running, as well as people who are not,” says Trade Show Coordinator Arleatta Williams. “We don’t promote it as discount shopping, but a lot of the vendors have Bloomsday specials.”

After you’ve perused the goods, those tiny samples from Washington Beef will leave you fiending for dinner, but — snap! — familiar staples like Olive Garden and Chili’s probably have a waiting list.  

No sweat. You’re foregoing the ominous carbo-load, anyway.

Try an alternate venue like LEFT BANK WINE BAR, 108 N. Washington St., Suite 105. It’s the perfect place to nibble on savory tapas, complemented by the sexiest wine list you’ve ever laid eyes on: 60 by-the-glass offerings! There’s also live music on Fridays and jazz on Saturdays.

The Davenport Hotel’s SAFARI ROOM, 111 S. Post St., has a colorful assortment of thin-crust flat breads, like goat cheese with roasted garlic and peppers. THAI ON FIRST, 411 W. First Ave., serves up a mean plate of pineapple tofu curry, and their staff is ridiculously nice.

MIZUNA, 214 N. Howard St., has incredible plates for vegetarians. The hummus appetizer and Insalada Mista at TWIGS, on the third floor of River Park Square, are finger-lickin’ good. SOULFUL SOUPS & SPIRITS, 117 N. Howard, serves steaming soups made from scratch, salads and beer bread. Ahh.

Now that you’ve dined, nothing beats a stroll through the heart of Riverfront Park to the IMAX THEATER, showing Hubble at 5:40 pm, or dessert and coffee at the MAGIC LANTERN THEATRE, 25 W. Main Ave. The Magic Lantern is featuring The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at 6 pm and 8:30 pm. When that finishes, you can cross the street to ZOLA for a nightcap and live music.

Pool-shark Bloomies might meander to the corner of First Ave. and Monroe St., where they’ll find a plethora of tables at FAR WEST BILLIARDS, plus a fabulous trio of trendy neighboring restaurants — CATACOMBS, SCRATCH and RAIN.

Love live theater? The final performance of Eleemosynary — about three generations of brilliant but emotionally stunted women — takes the stage at INTERPLAYERS, 174 S. Howard St., on Saturday night at 8 pm.

So yes, Spokane’s downtown footprint may be small, but it’s jam-packed with snazzy niches, if you know where to look.

85th Annual Greek Festival @ Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

Sept. 23-25, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
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About The Author

Blair Tellers

Blair Tellers is a freelance writer and a former Inlander intern.