Words & Deeds

‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening in Boise’: Bar aims high with rooftop music

WOH Club ignites rooftop patio with DJ music Sundays at the Reef

A highlight reel from We Out Here Club, aka WOH Club, which takes over the rooftop patio Sunday nights at the Reef in Downtown Boise.
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A highlight reel from We Out Here Club, aka WOH Club, which takes over the rooftop patio Sunday nights at the Reef in Downtown Boise.

In 2013, the Reef launched We Out Here Club, a Sunday-night DJ series on the tropical restaurant and bar’s rooftop patio.

Clearly, Boise bargoers were ready to get high.

In the last couple of years, WOH Club has grown to the point it lives up to its “woah” pronunciation. Up to 200 bodies pack the second-floor patio overlooking 6th and Main streets. Alcohol sales sometimes surpass Fridays and Saturdays at the Reef.

“It’s infectious,” production manager Garren Spinato says. “It’s a cool spot.”

When WOH Club kicked off for summer last week, 100 to 150 bargoers filled the outdoor space. Tiki torches blazed. EDM thumped. “It was a great night,” Spinato says. “But it didn’t quite hit that super-crazy point where we might have to start thinning the herd or hold the door because of capacity point, which it has in the past.”

So here’s a PSA, Boise: Outdoor party season has arrived. It’s time to climb those stairs and discover — or rediscover — the rooftop patio at 105 S. 6th St.

And not just on Sundays. The Reef’s patio cranks up bands and DJs five nights a week during summer, largely because of WOH Club’s success.

“It opened up the doors to the entire Reef music program,” Spinato says. “It showcased the potential.”

A crowd lined up outside on the sidewalk when Magic Sword performed a DJ set during WOH Club on the Reef’s rooftop patio. Kip Stroud

On Wednesdays starting in June, the patio showcases an acoustic musician from 8 to 10 p.m. It’s an unofficial after-party for Alive After Five, the Downtown music series in The Grove Plaza.

Thursdays are energized from 10 p.m. to midnight by GiggleBomb, a drummer-DJ duo that pumps out a mash-up attack.

Fridays and Saturdays, a DJ or a live band performs.

There’s no cover Wednesdays and Thursdays. It usually costs $5 on Fridays and Saturdays. But you only pay that cover if you venture out on the rooftop. That means you can eat or have drinks indoors at the Reef without dropping $5 to enter.

The Reef opened in 2004. Has it been awhile since you sipped a margarita on that roof? Prepare to be reimpressed. And not just by the recently raised tiki-bar ceiling, the LED lights or the views of Downtown Boise’s glowing, evolving skyline.

“If you show up at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night in the summer, the general reaction is, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening in Boise,’ ” Spinato says. “I hear the whole, ‘This feels like I’m in L.A.’ ”

Ironically, WOH Club’s laid-back spirit is the antithesis of elite L.A. nightclub culture.

We Out Here is a collective of three tastemaking DJs, including Spinato, who gigs as NTE OWL. WOH cultivated its audience by building trust, Spinato says. Sundays feature 10 p.m. sets from WOH members followed by local and regional DJs. Music ignites the patio until nearly 2 a.m.

By design, WOH Club appeals not just to EDM fans, but to Boiseans not normally drawn to pulsating electronic beats. The DJs work in a corner. There’s no stage. The music — whether it’s house, drum and bass, or hip-hop — is never stupid-loud.

“We like to keep it like more of a social environment, rather than just pounding it into people’s heads,” Spinato says. “We try to keep it tasteful for the most part. Keep it to a less aggressive style.”

You can bliss out on the dance floor. Or relax on patio furniture. There’s even a Nintendo GameCube hooked up with “Super Smash Bros. Melee.”

“It’s really just, like, what you want it to be,” Spinato says. “If you want to go, but you don’t care about the music ... you can go and have a good time.

“I think the rooftop as a setting, and it being outside, kind of promotes more engagement between people, rather than just staring at a guy turning knobs.”

The Reef recently added a late-night food happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays, when the menu is condensed to discounted appetizers from 10 p.m. until midnight. After all, you might need those extra calories — especially if you’re a WOH Club newbie not used to burning fuel on the dance floor.

Spinato acknowledges that WOH Club is so welcoming that it might get perceived as an EDM party for people who don’t really like EDM.

But he’s also proud of the dance-music standards that the WOH collective has created.

“If you really do care about it, the music will always be solid,” Spinato says. “We screen everything. We know that our sh** is tight.”

Online: facebook.com/wohcollective.

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Michael Deeds covers entertainment for the Idaho Statesman, where he chronicles the Boise good life through news articles and opinion columns. Deeds first invaded the Statesman as an intern in 1991. Since then, he’s also freelanced for publications ranging from The Washington Post and Relix to the airlines magazine in the seatback in front of you.