2014 Best of Treasure Valley: Drink

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comJune 20, 2014 

the modern, boise, bar, hotel,

Bartender Michael Bowers puts the finishing touch on a drink at The Modern Hotel and Bar.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

George Thorogood drinks alone.

But Best of Treasure Valley voters? No way, Jose ... Cuervo! They’re more likely to dance around at the latest trendy bar singing AC/DC’s “Have a Drink on Me.” Fancy cocktails, locally brewed beer and hip wine spots are all the rage — particularly in Downtown Boise, which sometimes feels like one big happy hour.

At least one new brewery is really happy. Bend, Ore.-based 10 Barrel Brewing Co. opened in Boise last year and already is dominating Best of Treasure Valley’s brewski categories, topping Best Brewery and Best Brewpub/Alehouse. To be a good sport, maybe 10 Barrel should buy all its competitors a beer?

“I like that idea,” 10 Barrel business partner Garrett Wales says with a laugh. “I like getting together and drinking anytime!”

Wales says he’s grateful for the reception the Valley has given 10 Barrel, but the key to success is straightforward.

“The biggest thing we hang our hat on is quality of beer, quality of food and quality of service.”

Speaking of quality: Highly awarded Barbacoa — known for special “ice-tinis” served in a frozen glass — took top honors in the Best Cocktails category.

Tequila! Cafe Ole earned top prize for Best Margarita, which begs the question: Is the marg really that amazing, or is it the Wednesday 2-for-1 special that voters loved so much? (Answer: Probably a little of both.)

There’s no doubt that quantity can be as important as quality. Case in point: very-cool newbie Bodovino, which won Best Wine List despite the fact it doesn’t have a traditional wine list. What it does have is a massive, accessible selection of wines that you can taste via small, machine-delivered pours. Wine aficionados adore it.

Oh, and the morning after? Time for a bloody mary brunch! Voters prefer the variety of zesty styles concocted at Bardenay. Owner Kevin Settles says the secret is in nuance and spices, “the type of pepper you put in it, things like that.”

Then again, he’s not exactly a card-carrying Bloody Buddy. Settles credits his bartender, Craig West, for the expert craftsmanship.

“I was traumatized by tomato juice as a kid,” Settles admits, “so I don’t drink them.”


1. Michael Bowers, Modern Hotel and Bar

2. Mark Allen, Whiskey Bar

3. Justin Zora, Barbacoa

Bloody Mary

1. Bardenay

2. Bacon

3. Red Feather Lounge


1. 10 Barrel Brewing Co.

2. Payette Brewing Co.

3. Sockeye Grill & Brewery


1. 10 Barrel Brewing Co.

2. Bardenay

3. Bittercreek Alehouse


1. Barbacoa

2. Bardenay

3. Modern Hotel and Bar


1. Cafe Ole

2. The Matador

3. Barbacoa

Wine List

1. Bodovino

2. Barbacoa

3. Chandlers


1. Ste. Chapelle Winery

2. Sawtooth Winery

3. Cinder

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