by Jacob Albert

Part of my research for this article involved going to some bars that I normally don't visit. It's a tough assignment, I know, but such is life. So, on a recent Thursday night, I went to the Pub Club with some friends to see what the line was all about.

While the Pub Club isn't necessarily my "scene," it was cool in the ways that I expected -- a good mix of people, including a good amount of pretty ones, and an atmosphere that bounced. What I didn't expect was to have a realization about the nightlife in Spokane while sitting at the bar playing erotic Photo Hunt with a couple of friends.

This realization came with the sudden appearance of a moustache. I know I wasn't the only person who felt this facial-hair flair seemed a little out of place. I witnessed many a priceless double take by people while spying upon this middle-aged mustachio standing at a table drinking his beer.

The reason for this was simple: He didn't seem to belong. When I was living outside of Spokane, I imagined the nightlife here as taverns populated by guys with a bristling Winston-and-Copenhagen-flavored handlebar between the nose and upper lip.

But I realized then that I was wrong. Spokane does have places catering specifically to a younger, less hairy - or occasionally, hairier, but in a cool way -- crowd. There are, in fact, enough twentysomethings here to make up an actual scene.

Due to a natural aversion I have for waiting in line at a bar in Spokane, I probably won't find myself in this local hot spot again anytime soon. But as I said to a guy I know who asked me what I was doing in the Pub Club when he saw me come out, "The more the merrier."

(And for the record, I got an "Excuse me, playah" by some huge guy trying to get to the bathroom. I don't care who you are, if someone refers to as a "playah," you're lovin' life for at least the next five minutes.)

A good example of the "more" that is more along my lines is (THANK GOD FOR) the B-Side. Last Wednesday, I went to see the second round of the "Battle of the Van" and was treated to an awesome three hours of music by local musicians ranging from live instrument-backed hip-hop to hardcore screamo electroclash. It was one of those grand, memorable nights where you manage to forget the intense mental struggles involved with waking up for your early-morning job the following day.

Count me as surprised as anyone living here when I can say I had a good time going out on a Wednesday night and a Thursday night. But just as I reveled in that feeling, a surprise came this past Friday night, when some of my misgivings about living in Spokane flared up.

After using up our 15 minutes with some extras work in a movie being filmed here, my buddy and I headed downtown, intent on lighting up some lucky bars with our low-frequency glows. Unfortunately, every bar we checked out seemed as dead as the one before. We ended up returning to the bar we had started from, finishing our one and only drink of the night before heading home. Lying in bed at the god-awful early hour of 1:45 am, I had to accept the undeniable fact that Spokane nightlife has its off nights.

When I asked people what they thought of the nightlife in Spokane for someone in their 20s, I received answers that never failed to include the good and the bad side I had experienced over the course of those three nights.

"I think some of the guys are really chauvinistic," Christie told me, "but I do like being able to walk around downtown at night and feel safe. You can't do that in Seattle."

"Spokane has a good nightlife if you know where to go," Matt added. "The problem is lack of options. I find myself at the same three bars every weekend."

"You see the same people every night," Chelsea agreed, "but they're cool and the bartender always recognizes you, which I like."

"Sorry dude, I gotta pee," said one dude, adding, "Drink PBR!"

Finally, and I think most important, people offered ideas to make the nightlife in Spokane better.

"People need to check out more than one bar," said Megan. "It seems as if when one bar opens up, another one closes, and I think that is the problem."

"More places that aren't smoky inside," Joanne suggested.

In general, the nightlife in Spokane, like a lot of things here, can be what you make it. There is usually at least some place to go to satisfy your frustratingly particular tastes. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen every night, not even every week.

But that's when you look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Tonight I'm going to start reading The Count of Monte Cristo, or at least watch the DVD with subtitles." Then, when you go out the next time, you can amaze your friends with insights into Dumas' ability to capture the true essence of revenge. You might even get a free PBR.

Send in your own Takes to I said, "Send in your own Takes to!"

Publication date: 5/27/04

American Original: The Life and Work of John James Audubon @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 19
  • or