Boise’s cocktail scene is buzzing, with unique places to grab a hand-crafted drink popping up on every corner. And yet, when it comes to the downtown bar scene, there is much more than meets the eye. What might look like a side alley door could lead to a secret nightlife experience. Boise invites you to explore its hidden speakeasies, if you can find them.
Want a night out that feels classic, high-end, and exclusive? Finding Gatsby is all part of the fun. This speakeasy can be accessed from downtown’s 8th street by Union Alley—look for the green light above the door. However, you do need to know the daily password, which can only be learned by calling 208-342-4800 on the day you plan to visit. Knock on the door, whisper the password, and you’ll step back into the roaring ’20s, complete with flapper outfits, live music, and specialty prohibition-style “prescriptions.”
Tips: Gatsby has a dress code, and reservations are recommended.
Must-try cocktails: Ginger Rodgers or James Cagney.
Thick as Thieves
The door to Thick as Thieves is found in an unsuspecting parking lot on the 600 block of West Idaho Street downtown. The door is marked by two thieving birds on the outside. Once inside, you’ll notice a pay phone. To enter the bar, dial 102. Once inside, you’ll be greeted by a dimly lit, intimate room and gorgeous bar where the bartenders impressively concoct their amazing drinks. Velvet chairs and candle-lit fireplaces make this a fantastic place for date night or any occasion worth celebrating.
Tips: Reservations are recommended on weekends.
Must-try cocktails: Tiger Spirit or Hello Operator.
After a night treating yourself to dinner at nearby KIN from James Beard Nominated chef Kris Komori, inquire with the bartender at Art Haus next door about heading up to Ampersand, Boise’s highest (elevation) bar on the 14th floor of 999 Main Street. Cozy, artsy and an all-around spectacular experience, this bar’s drinks are as amazing as its views. Enjoy the ambiance while you can; you’re limited to exactly one hour to soak in this hidden gem.
Tips: Arriving early is recommended on weekends.
Must-try cocktails: There’s no menu here, but bartenders happily whip up drinks that will leave patrons speechless.
Lovingly referred to as Boise’s worst-kept secret, this simple yet stylish speakeasy is located below downtown Boise’s 8th Street, underneath Wildroot. You access Suite 104 by the stairwell next to St. Lawrence Gridiron restaurant at 705 W. Bannock St. You also have the option to order food from either restaurant (Wildroot or St. Lawrence Gridiron) if you like to sip and snack simultaneously. Feel free to get comfortable because once you’re here, you won’t want to leave anytime soon.
Tips: This location typically doesn’t have a wait or require reservations, so head down while waiting for dinner reservations on 8th street or before a concert downtown.
Must-try cocktails: Method 104 or Corpse Reviver No. 2.
Press & Pony
Press & Pony is a speakeasy-like craft cocktail bar just one block from the Capitol building on the 600 block of West Idaho Street. Pass through the heavy velvet curtains and into the intimate bar, where an experimental cocktail adventure awaits. The bartenders at Press & Pony expertly put the “craft” in “craft cocktails,” using innovative and sophisticated techniques that deliver an unforgettable experience.
Tips: Cozier in size and first-come, first-serve, this bar is great for smaller groups.
Must-try cocktails: Pick Your Poison or Corn & Oil.