Barbacoa is on FIRE. Wait, let me rephrase that ... Ah, heck, lets just go with it: Barbacoa is on fire. But this time, as opposed to the blaze that forced it to rebuild in 2010, its only figuratively.
Barbacoa is the No. 1 bar in the Treasure Valley based on the amount of cash it spent on booze purchases from the Idaho State Liquor Division during fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30.
The stylish restaurant at 276 Bobwhite Court in Boise dropped $261,443 on 14,560 bottles.
Like I said blazing.
This is notable not just because of Barbacoas phoenix-like rise from a business-crushing conflagration. Its also the first time since I began publishing state liquor-report numbers in 2006 that China Blue and its downstairs cousin, Dirty Little Roddys, didnt finish No. 1.
Barbacoa has knocked China Blue off its throne. (Well, sorta. More on that in a sec.) Not that I suspect China Blues owner is crying in his beer. Incidentally, these liquor numbers have nothing to do with beer. Or wine. The state doesnt regulate those.
China Blue/Roddys spent $232,334 on 15,168 bottles to finish No. 2. Nearby drink mecca Main Street Bistro same bar owner, by the way dropped $218,834 on 14,849 bottles to finish No. 3.
Basically, those two spots spent almost half a million bucks on liquor. Then they marked it up, poured shots and started counting Benjamins.
Thats what bars do.
You can check out the list of top 20 Treasure Valley liquor purchasers in a graphic on page 17.
Whats interesting is that China Blue/Roddys and Main Street Bistro each bought more bottles than Barbacoa, giving them the statistical edge in quantity. But they paid less for those bottles, suggesting they sold a smidge more hooch and less premium liquor.
Statewide, Barbacoa spent the third highest amount. Only Coeur dAlene Resort ($336,851) and Sun Valley Lodge ($306,940) opened their checkbooks wider.
Just because a bar finished near the top of the liquor-spending list doesnt mean it exploded in business. China Blue and fellow Downtown icon Hannahs ranked No. 8 actually spent tens of thousands less than in fiscal year 2011, indicating a slowdown in sales.
Other highlights from the report:
After a huge first-year expenditure by The Matador, which debuted at No. 2 among Valley bars in 2011, the agave haven has slipped to No. 7. But the place sure buys spendy booze: $147,960 for 7,870 bottles. Patron, amigo?
The Knitting Factory Concert House dropped out of the top 20 for the first time a reflection of how tough the concert and alcohol-selling business is in this economy.
Downtown newcomer Fattys Bar made its top 20 debut this year with $107,419. Are they playing beer pong with vodka up there?
What happened to Downtown party bar Mack & Charlies? After spending a whopping $193,771 during fiscal year 2009, that joint has been in freefall down to $99,737, just outside the top 20.
Never had a drink in your life? Congratulations. You can still know what its like to endure a head-splitting hangover. Just force yourself to study the states entire dizzying 28-page liquor report. I posted the PDF along with a hilarious drunken baby photo that not everyone finds as humorous as I do in a similar version of this article on my blog.
Boise is on the electronic-dance music (EDM) bandwagon. Or is it? The May concert by Girl Talk was less than half sold out at the Knit. Still, promoters are betting on EDM. Knitting Factory announced two electronic shows this week Big Gigantic (Oct. 20, a duo that actually uses live instruments) and Datsik (Nov. 12).
Meanwhile Revolution Concert House has booked Bassnectar (Oct. 25). This is a huge production. Bassnectar sold out two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado earlier this summer.
Historically, musicians have always loathed DJs, but the recent EDM phenom must sting even more. Not only are guitar toters being booted out of clubs by knob twiddlers, these laptop maestros are getting paid monstrous bucks.
Im giving away two pairs of Journey concert tickets July 27. Hustle, and you can still enter the contest. Hit my blog for details.
Michael Deeds column appears Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News.