Michael Deeds: Downtown Boise bar to specialize in whiskey

Boise - The Idaho StatesmanApril 11, 2014 

A new Boise bar specializing in all things whiskey is scheduled to open May 1.


It's hard to beat the feeling of sitting in a stylish new bar in Downtown Boise on a warm evening, especially if you're enjoying a small glass of exquisite Japanese whiskey that you don't even dare try to pronounce.

Or, hey, just grab a Crown Royal instead. It's all slated to grace the spirits menu at Whiskey Bar, 509 Main St., formerly Sammy's.

Co-owner Jason Kovac says the 3,300-square-foot tavern will open May 1 with an underlying rock 'n' roll theme - and 150 to 200 whiskey varieties, which could rise to 300 in the future.

"The state liquor dispensary is scouring the world for some really rad, cool (whiskey) that Boise hasn't seen," Kovac says.

What? A whiskey bar in craft beer-crazy Boise? Fear not, beer snobs: Whiskey Bar also will have eight draft handles, focusing on barrel-aged beers and other hard-to-find brews.

"Even with that being said, we're a whiskey bar," Kovac reiterates, adding that "all of our cocktails are going to be not only classics but artworks."

It's clear that Kovac is excited. And that's saying something. This is no fledgling bar owner; he already operates the Silly Birch, Tom Grainey's and The Lift.

Whiskey Bar sounds different.

"We've spent a lot of money," Kovac says. "It's going to be beautiful. We gutted the entire thing. It's gonna be one of a kind. For sure."


Cue the snark: The Western Idaho Fair has unveiled its grandstand entertainment.

• Aug. 19: Seether

• Aug. 20: Montgomery Gentry

• Aug. 21: The Doobie Brothers (Back after 2010, baby.)

• Aug. 22: Thompson Square

You might roll your eyes at this lineup. Or you might be doing cartwheels. But if you peruse comments at the Idaho Statesman's Facebook page, you realize that the Western Idaho Fair has an impossible task when it books shows. You definitely can't please everyone.

Concerts are free with fair admission, so if you don't like 'em, keep walking. Karma will lead your shoe to a cowpie near the livestock barn soon enough.

The Western Idaho Fair had six grandstand shows last year. Will they add two more? Beats me. Scene didn't receive a press release (I snagged the lineup from the Fair's website), and I'm so offended that I can't possibly do any reporting.

In related news, what I can say definitively is that the Canyon County Fair has reduced its concerts from four to two this summer.

• July 25: David Nail with opener The Swon Brothers

• July 26: Josh Turner with opener American Young

"We have maintained the same budget normally used to book four concerts for two nights of entertainment," says Canyon County Fair Administrator Rosalie Cope in a totally freaking awesome press release, "so the level of entertainment should be higher than expected, in hopes to draw more attendees."


Motorcycle enthusiast Lyle Lovett visited Boise last weekend for the Racer X Vintage Inter-Am at Owyhee Motorcycle Club's track. He moseyed onto local stages for a couple of musical endeavors, too.

On Friday, Lovett sat in with the house band at Pizzalchik restaurant to sing "White Boy Lost in the Blues." On Saturday, he performed at the Red Lion Downtowner Ballroom with local group The Blues Addicts backing him.

Readers got a kick out of a blog post I did at IdahoStatesman.com. So did Lovett, who thanked me on Twitter: "I had a great time in Boise this weekend," he added. "Boise folks are friendly and kind and always treat me well."

Maybe I can't get the fair to send a press release, but I can get Lyle Lovett to tweet nice things about Boise. That's something.


Beer pong haven Fatty's Bar, 800 W. Idaho St., recently moved into the concert game. Two touring acts will drop by this month: singer Andy Grammer from 5 to 7 p.m. April 13 ("Keep Your Head Up") and singer Ryan Star from 6 to 8 p.m. April 23 ("Stay Awhile").

Tickets are free and available by listening to Mix 106 FM or through the station's website. I suspect that if you show up at the door without a ticket, though, you'll be fine.

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