Words & Deeds

2017: More bars, better country festival, one less ‘breastaurant’

In this 2013 file photo, a Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery server waits on customers in Orlando, Florida. The Boise Tilted Kilt closed recently.
In this 2013 file photo, a Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery server waits on customers in Orlando, Florida. The Boise Tilted Kilt closed recently. MCT

Despite last week’s Boise “breastaurant” closure, there’s lots to perk up about in 2017.

(Sorry. Bare with me here.)

Whether you get stoked about beer and wine bars, outdoor North End parties, improved country festivals — or fewer scantily clad waitresses — this year looks promising.

One less breastaurant: After opening in 2014, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery is gone. The Celtic-themed sports bar at 1555 S. Broadway Ave. had its last day Dec. 30. Featuring waitresses in plaid bras and “mini-kilts,” Tilted Kilt is an Arizona-based franchise with locations in the United States and Canada. Its slogan: “A cold beer never looked so good.”

Tilted Kilt’s closure signals the end of multiple options for Boise breastaurant connoisseurs. (Not to be confused with bikini-bar aficionados.) Hooters folded in 2013 near Boise Towne Square shortly after Twin Peaks opened at 7751 W. Spectrum St. Now only Twin Peaks remains — with its “eats, drinks, scenic views.” Don’t be surprised if Twin Peaks hangs around. “Our business remains good,” co-owner Dave Schmille says.

Two new pubs near Boise State. Things are looking up if you’re a bargoer near campus.

Tap & Cask and The Shed both plan to open soon.

Tap and Cask is a reinvented bar and restaurant going into the former Tilted Kilt spot. The Shed is a rebranding of The Lift 2 Bar & Grill at 1010 S. La Pointe St.

With the same owner and staff that had operated Tilted Kilt, Tap & Cask is hoping to be open by the middle to late part of next week, general manager Marshall Myers says. He describes the construction, menu overhaul and new name as a “facelift plus.”

“We’re not ripping up walls,” he says. “Definitely polishing what we had.”

“I would say kind of a mixture between a barrelhouse and a sports bar,” Myers explains. “Just that warm, kind of mellowness with a barrelhouse that has all those craft beers that you’re looking for, but at the same time, that sports bar feel where everybody is having a good time.”

The menu will include “comfort food with a twist,” he says. “It’ll be a step up from what we were doing before.” Tap & Cask will have the same number of tap handles — 36 — but there will be more of an emphasis on local beers.

And less emphasis on cleavage, one would assume.

Meanwhile, The Lift 2 had planned to reinvent itself as The Shed on Jan. 1. The transformation got delayed by weather.

The Lift 2 now plans to close Jan. 9-11 for remodeling before reopening Jan. 12 as The Shed.

Another Hyde Park lounge: There soon might be more places to drink than dogs in the North End. Camel’s Crossing could open by spring in the former Acquired Again Antiques at 1304 W. Alturas St. A Portland couple who recently moved to Boise has applied for permits to open the bar, which would offer beer, wine and “higher-end charcuterie” food such as salads and sandwiches. Oh, and ’70s soul and R&B tunes. “The whole vibe is going to be basically a contemporary twist on a 1970s lounge,” proprietor Scott McCoy told the Idaho Statesman. “A place where people can sit and talk.” Interesting. Sounds yupster-ish.

A Hyde Park wine bar? A wine bar/tasting room is rumored to be opening in the old Blue Moon Antiques building at 1611 N. 13th St. Even the Idaho Wine Commission has heard talk of it.

How many beer and wine hangouts can Hyde Park handle? I already count more than half a dozen places to grab a drink. Scott Graves, owner of 13th Street Pub & Grill and Parilla Grill, says he’d welcome another competitor to draw Boiseans to Hyde Park. “My personal opinion, the more the merrier,” Graves says. “I’m sure there’s a saturation point; I don’t know where it’s at. The only thing I think I would be concerned with — which I don’t think is a problem in Hyde Park, but customers do — is parking.”

The city of Boise might present a hurdle for any new Hyde Park bar. “There’s certain codes for how many seats you can have, or how many parking spots you need for seats,” Graves says. “Hyde Park is a little different.”

“I still think 70 percent of my patrons at Parilla walk,” he adds.

More North End parties: If you live in the North End, entertainment options keep growing. Years ago, live bands cranked in the parking lot behind 13th Street Pub and Parilla Grill. Graves isn’t ready to commit to bringing back concerts — too many neighbors complained — but he is planning four parking-lot events in 2017.

An inaugural Beer & Wine Expo in November was shockingly successful. “Ten times better than I thought it was going to go,” Graves says. So he’s planning for two more of those — in spring and fall. He’s also trying to organize a smoked-barbecue event in spring and a chili feed later in the year.

Highlights from the 2016 three-day festival in rural Elmore County.

A don’t-miss country festival: Huge headliners. More ticket options. No beer cages.

Organizers of the Mountain Home Country Music Festival are making changes that could catapult the third annual event to the next level. Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Chris Stapleton will headline the party July 28-30 in rural Elmore County.

This year, fans can buy single-day tickets in addition to three-day passes. Single-day tickets are $80. Three-day passes are $125. Get them at mhcmf.com. Prices will rise later in the year.

Those single-day tickets could be the cow-tipping point for fans on the fence. It’s a way to draw newcomers into the full festival experience, director Anne Hankins says, including the camping and atmosphere.

“Now if they buy a single-day ticket and they get out there and they love it — as we know that they will — they can upgrade that single-day to a three-day pass,” Hankins says.

Another small yet smart change: Each night’s headlining act won’t go on stage until 11 p.m. That will help combat scalding daytime temperatures. Too many fans have been disappearing to go swimming or find shade rather than watching early performers.

One last key improvement: Free beer! Oops, make that beer freedom. Beer gardens are being axed. If you buy a beer or wine, you’ll be able to take it anywhere inside the gated venue.

Hankins says she is confident that these tweaks, plus the arena-size acts, will create a lucrative future for the festival in Idaho.

“It’s been a tough market,” she admits. “Last year, we definitely felt the energy of the event where it needed to be, and we need to see that energy continue through this year before we make any commitment for 2018.”

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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