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Sweet and Simple 

A favorite downtown Spokane location is reborn as The Observatory

click to enlarge Bartender Nehemiah Zilar makes a cocktail at The Observatory. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Bartender Nehemiah Zilar makes a cocktail at The Observatory.

A toasted PB&J served on paper in a basket is delivered to a customer sitting at the bar. Behind the bar, a telescope on a shelf sits next to a large picture of a skeleton sipping a cocktail.

Such is the scene at the Observatory, a new bar and restaurant downtown now open and serving simple, quality sandwiches and cocktails.

Owner Alicia Purvis-Lariviere hopes that the Observatory, located in the spot previously occupied by Underground 15, and before that the Blue Spark, creates a comforting vibe that extends through the cocktail and food menus.

"We have a small menu, but we do everything on it really well and from scratch," says Purvis-Lariviere. "We want our basic menu to play into the overall experience."

One of Purvis-Lariviere's intentions when opening the Observatory was to keep prices reasonable while offering options for customers to spend a little more if they want, which can be seen in the premium well of liquors typically offered as back-shelf options and all food items, which are $10 and under.

The food menu lists sandwiches, soups, salads and rotating specials, with sauces and condiments made in-house. Brunch is now being served on the weekends from 9 am-1 pm, including a freshly squeezed mimosa and a biscuit royale — bacon, egg, cheese and sausage gravy stacked high on a biscuit — for $10.

Lead bartender Nehemiah Zilar and bartender James Hunt have brought a following of cocktail enthusiasts to the Observatory. Referred to as "Yin and Yang" by Purvis-Lariviere, the pair combines their knowledge of liquors and liqueurs to create their unique drinks. Many elements of the cocktails offered are made in-house, including grenadine, simple syrup and freshly squeezed juices.

Happy hour takes place from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday, including $5 Moscow Mules and freshly squeezed screwdrivers. Four different kinds of specialty toast ($3) are also available during happy hour. The Observatory stocks a wide selection of whiskey and bourbon, along with 10 taps of mostly local and regional beers.

"We're not trying to hide under garnish and a nice plate," says Purvis-Lariviere. "And so far, people seem to be enjoying that." ♦

The Observatory • 15 S. Howard • Open Mon-Fri, 11-2 am; Sat-Sun, 9-2 am • • 598-8933

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