Pubs and Bistros

The places where devoted clientele gather around booze, coffee and sandwiches

click to enlarge The Baja Blackened Shrimp Salad at Picabu Bistro - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
The Baja Blackened Shrimp Salad at Picabu Bistro

The Backyard Public House  The Backyard takes over the former home of the Broadway Bar and Grill, and the former dive bar has been overhauled, both physically and gastronomically. The spot exudes the feel of a neighborhood pub, serving the sort of creative (yet affordable) cuisine that might come as a surprise. With interior walls of reclaimed wood from Kettle Falls, high wooden tables and warm lighting, there's a comforting vibe that's easy to sink into. It's also managed to attract three chefs formerly of Luna on the South Hill; they've created a menu of upscale comfort food like chicken and waffles, mac and cheese and a tasty pub appetizers. 1811 W. Broadway Ave. • 822-7338 •

Barlows at Liberty Lake The mammoth portions at this American family restaurant are a bargain: Light eaters can get two meals from one dish. Expect many comfort food options at this casual eatery, including beef stroganoff and meatloaf (which pair well with the location's fireplace), along with more healthy options. After moving from Meadowwood Lane to a new building at the beginning of 2014, the restaurant now stays open for dinner, too. 1428 N. Liberty Lake Dr., Liberty Lake, Wash. • 924-1446 •

Birdy's Sports Bar Sports, drinks, and food — this is the formula on which Dan Birdwell has based his business. His beloved Northside sports bar and family restaurant has attracted a loyal fan base of locals — whether for their many plasma televisions for premium game viewing, 15 choices of tap beer and full bar, or tasty 65-cent hot wings on Thursdays. 12908 N. Hwy. 395 • 863-9572

Browne's Tavern While "tavern" may not be the first word that comes to mind when describing the feel of the charming, brick-colored Victorian housing this Browne's Addition eatery, the steampunk-inspired décor inside — including a wall of open books attached by the cover framing a taxidermied bear head — lends to the menu's eclectic approach, ranging from burgers to pasta and salads. The signature cocktails are a must-sip while enjoying the eatery's marvelous patio. 1924 W. Pacific Ave. • 315-9934

Charley's Grill & Spirits This cozy Monroe Street restaurant and lounge provides a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the courthouse next door. The menu features Angus beef hamburgers, 8-ounce sirloin steaks, fried appetizers, a full bar and a retro cigarette vending machine. Tickets for the Spokane Arena, INB Performing Arts Center, Fox Theater, Bing Crosby Theater or Spokane Civic Theatre will get you 20 percent off food items. 801 N. Monroe St. • 328-8911

Cork House With menu items ranging from sea scallops to enchiladas and rib-eye steak to pork confit, the Cork House features gourmet comfort food. The dinner menu features a lengthy list of appetizers such as calamari, skillet cornbread and ahi tuna tartare. Among the favorite entrées is the mac and cheese, with chicken, bacon and jalapeño. On Saturdays and Sundays, days brunch is served from 9 am to 3 pm, with more than 20 items like Belgian waffles, a triple-decker BLT and beignets. 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake • 922-4210

Downriver Grill With a dedicated following of foodie regulars, this upscale bistro in the Audubon Park neighborhood serves fresh and locally sourced food paired with Washington wines and microbrews. The Signature Salad, Gorgonzola Fries and Osso Bucco braised in a sage pork jus have earned a cult following over the years. Or order off the ever-changing fresh sheet. 3315 W. Northwest Blvd. • 323-1600 •

Laguna Cafe The atmosphere is one to settle into. Sink into the comfy leather couches and strike up a meaningful conversation with friends. Or if the weather is right, you can spend an afternoon on the patio by the pond and enjoy live music. Laguna's entrées offer an impressive selection of salmon, beef and pork dishes. The steak salad is truly special, made with super-tender filet mignon. 4304 S. Regal St. • 448-0887 •

Lindaman's It's tough keeping up on the next big food trend, but Lindaman's has managed to balance new recipes with classic favorites for 30 years, to the delight of foodie regulars, some of whom, owner Merrilee Lindaman insists, "come in every day." Low-key lunch favorites include the wildly popular romaine salad, chicken pot pie, Nanaimo bars, and a gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. 1235 S. Grand Blvd. • 838-3000 •

Little Garden Cafe Located in a sweet little terra-cotta-colored stucco building across from Audubon Park, this little café reminds us of an English tearoom, with its cozy wicker chairs, pastries and of course, tea (along with some pretty darn good coffee). Children are welcome here — there's even a space for them to play. Enjoy a juicy conversation with neighbors and friends or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. 2901 W. Northwest Blvd. • 328-5500 •

Maggie's South Hill Grill Thoughtful, well-crafted food doesn't have to be outlandishly expensive. This South Hill favorite is charming and good for families, and it takes pride in the details, whether that means a hint of goat cheese on salads, Cajun tartar sauce with the fish and chips, or chipotle aioli on a roasted Portobello sandwich. When warm weather finally arrives, Maggie's offers nine patio tables to sit, sip a beverage and enjoy the sunshine. 2808 E. 29th Ave. • 536-4745 •

Picabu Neighborhood Bistro This neighborhood attraction attributes its long-standing success to its menu's flexibility. Rather than offering a separate section for vegetarians or the gluten-intolerant, it simply tweaks its dishes to cater to customers' needs. Try anything with fire sauce on it. Creamy, garlicky, with a spicy kick, this housemade condiment is served on everything from prawns to pasta, or tofu, if you so desire. They have chocolate peanut butter pie, too. 901 W. 14th Ave. • 624-2464 •

Poole's Public House The Wandermere-area restaurant was an excuse for owner Scott Poole to get back to his roots — both childhood and ancestral. Poole returned to his native north Spokane to open the English-inspired pub/restaurant/sports bar with a healthy menu. House favorites include the Devils on Horseback, an English recipe of dates marinated in soy ginger, stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon; traditional meals, like bangers and mash and Bubble and Squeak, are popular too. Don't forget the dozen English brews and local beers on tap. 101 E. Hastings Rd. • 413-1834 •

The Porch Public House Like its sisters — Moon Time, the Elk, Geno's and the Two Seven — the Porch offers something that's hard to find sometimes: a casual, home-like atmosphere with a menu that pushes the limits. They serve up big-time salads, sandwiches and specialties without the big-time price, along with a choice selection of cocktails, wines and microbrews. And there's a sweet outdoor dining area that overlooks the Hayden Lake Country Club golf course. 1658 E. Miles Ave., Hayden Lake, Idaho • 208-772-7711 •

Seasons of Coeur d'Alene From pork polenta tart to a Kobe pub burger to bronzed salmon, Seasons offers seasonally inspired cuisine at a range of price points from $8 up to $25. Their large dining room is full of activity throughout the week, whether it's happy hour, ladies night, half-priced wine night, burgers and brews night or a local musician crooning for diners. 209 E. Lakeside Ave. • Coeur d'Alene • 208-664-8008 •

The Service Station This combination event facility and coffee shop is a Whitworth-area landmark, with shows in the huge venue in back and students (and others) curled up, sprawled out and deep in concentration across the chairs, couches and fireplace of the shop in front. Most of their food (bagels, paninis, pastries) is of the warm-it-up-and-serve variety, but the coffee and hangout factor makes it a can't-miss joint. 9315 N. Nevada St. • 466-1696 •

The Shop At her Perry District coffee shop, owner Yvonne Archer zeroes in on serving healthy and largely allergen-free food — even most of the desserts are gluten-free and vegan. There are quiches, quinoa and rice bowls, sandwiches, veggie burgers and more. Of course there's coffee, but there's also beer (some gluten-free), wine (with organic and sulfite-free options), mimosas and iced tea. Don't forget the Shop's beloved outdoor patio, a quintessential South Hill meeting place. 924 S. Perry St. • 534-1647 •

Soulful Soups & Spirits Two words: beer bread. Soulful Soups is a place with — you guessed it — original soups on rotation, and it earns high marks for its exceptionally soft and tasty beer bread, made daily. The popular lunch spot turns into Spirits Lounge in the evening, featuring a fully stocked bar, live DJs and even trivia on Thursdays. 117 N. Howard St. • 459-1190 •

Steelhead Bar and Grille With excellent prices, better burgers and fantastic shoestring fries, the Steelhead has long been considered one of the cornerstones in downtown Spokane's dining scene. A lot of that has to do with the venue's go-to happy hour. From 3 to 6 pm, world-weary 9-to-5ers are known to congregate over a $3.50 pint (or $6 schooner if it's been an especially hard day). 218 N. Howard St. • 747-1303 •

Stella's Café Stella's offers vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike a variety of yummy sandwich options, all for a relatively low price ($8). The banh mi sandwich is one of Stella's most popular dishes, consisting of soy and ginger marinated tofu or pork topped with pickled daikon radish, pickled cucumber, pickled carrots, pickled red pepper, cilantro and Sriracha aioli. Get a load of their freshly baked cookies, too. The line during lunch is always worth the wait. 917 W. Broadway Ave. • 326-6475 •

The Swinging Doors Watch your Washington (and other) sports teams on one of the Swinging Doors' 60 televisions while playing shuffleboard and get a free steak dinner on your birthday. Does it get any better? A favorite meeting spot for more than 30 years, this restaurant offers a fun atmosphere with games galore and classic pub fare. Order one of their 20-plus beers on tap on their spacious patio. 1018 W. Francis Ave. • 326-6794 •

Waddell's Neighborhood Pub & Grille This South Hill sports-bar stalwart does everything well, from the dozens of beers on tap to the slate of well-executed pub grub. It does everything you'd expect, and one thing you might not. Waddell's — we're not kidding — is the keeper of the biggest non-food-competition burger in the area. Their Cougar Gold Burger is massive, stacking ham atop two beef patties atop deep fried onions, and drizzling the whole affair in WSU's namesake cheese. Waddell's claim to fame was being featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, in 2010. 4318 S. Regal St. • 443-6500 • | 6501 N. Cedar St. • 321-7818 •

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