From happy hour to dinner and drinks to the perfectly poured nightcap—Boise’s craft cocktail scene is filled to the brim with mouth-watering options. Grab a one-of-a-kind cocktail at a downtown speakeasy, visit the neighborhood watering hole for a few spirits over a game of shuffleboard, or go for dinner and a killer cocktail. This is where to get your craft cocktail fix in Boise.
Water Bear Bar
350 N 9th St. #100, Boise ID
Must-try cocktails: Old Fashion of the Day, Espresso Martini, Daisy in My Lazy Eye
Happy hour: 9pm-close, small plates and drink specials
Walk into Water Bear Bar and you’ll feel as though you teleported to a 1970s speakeasy jungle. The funky, swanky cocktail bar is small and super cozy, flanked in shades of deep green, and covered top to bottom in lush live plants. Take a seat at a comfy bartop or in a half-moon-shaped booth and take in the incredible cocktail menu. The bartenders at Water Bear are true mixologists and excel in classic cocktails, creative concoctions and punch bowls, while also serving craft beer and natural wines. Pick your poison and pair it with oysters on the half shell, a snacking salad or the ever-addicting popcorn. All of Water Bear’s small plates are made in a 100% gluten-free kitchen. The attention to detail, insanely good cocktails, superb small plates and groovy vibe will have you staying for another round.
999 W Main St, Boise, ID
Must-try cocktails: Moron, Penicillin
KIN is an outstanding bar, prix fixe tasting room and seasonal music, theater and art venue. Its bar specializes in craft cocktails made with fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. The Moron is a local favorite, made with gin, aquavit, fresh carrot juice, ginger, and lime. On the other end of the sipping spectrum is Penicillin, a lovely mix of scotch, ginger, caramelized honey and lemon. Cocktails can be paired with a small bar food menu, including pickles, sweet and spicy nuts, and everything-spiced soft pretzels with Woodland beer cheese. If you’re in for a nightcap, get the Krispy & Whiskey—a Rice Krispy, mallow, peanut butter, and chocolate, served with a mini shot of whiskey.
246 N 8th St, Boise, ID
Must-try cocktails: Fuzzy Leopard, Fireside Chat
Happy hour: M-F “low power happy hour” with lights off, local beer and wine specials, select cocktails and small plates
Bittercreek is first and foremost an alehouse and local restaurant, but the cocktails are off the charts. The most popular is the Fuzzy Leopard, a bright pink blend of vodka, Cointreau, herb cordial and lime, creating a slightly sweet and surprising cocktail. For the bold drinkers, the Fireside Chat will have you telling campfire stories with a blend of Knob Creek Rye and Smoked Maple, stirred with Punt E Mes, and cardamom-orange bitters. A big menu of entrees, apps and late-night happy hour makes it the perfect place for a bite and a beverage.
Press and Pony
622 W Idaho St, Boise, ID
Must-try cocktail: Old Fashioned, El Camino
Press & Pony is a speakeasy-like craft cocktail bar just one block from the Capitol building. Pass through the heavy velvet curtains and into the intimate bar, where an experimental cocktail adventure awaits. It’s highly recommended to chat with the bartenders about what you like and let them take it from there. Try creations like the Ginger Drop, a blend of Beefeater Gin, velvet falernum, ginger syrup, lemon and champagne, or the El Camino, a smokin-hot sipper made with Aaron Paul’s Dos Hombres mezcal mixed with chili-smoked agave nectar, bitters and garnished with a candied orange wheel. It’s a bar where the hours pass slowly and the drinks go down easy.
The Royal Cocktail Co.
1509 N. 13th St. Boise, ID
Must-try cocktails: Pillow Talk, Southern Haze
Located in the cute Hyde Park neighborhood in Boise’s North End, The Royal Cocktail Co. balances cool and casual. The small storefront opens up to a long, bright bar with tall ceilings and plenty of seating, including a small back patio. In addition to having one of Boise’s most beloved Old Fashioneds, the Pillow Talk cocktail is a favorite, made with Grey Goose pear, Chambord, fresh lemon and bubbles. For a more robust flavor profile, try the Southern Haze, made with Buffalo Trace, peach tea, fresh lemon, mint and ginger beer. One of the best amenities The Royal Cocktail Co. offers is a shuffleboard and pool table in the back.
280 N. 8th St Boise, ID
Must-try cocktail: Method 104
Suite 104 is Boise’s worst-kept secret. The 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. Cocktails are the star of the show at Suite 104, thanks to Caleb, the cocktail master. He’s the wizard behind Method 104, the bar’s most popular drink. Have a Method 104 and you will never, ever have another like it. The drink begins with a few questions for you: your favorite color, favorite number, right or left, high or low. Depending on your answers, Caleb chooses different bottles, mixers and garnishes, creating a one-of-a-kind cocktail that will without a doubt be one of the best you’ve ever had.
505 W Bannock St, Boise, ID
Must-try cocktail: Bowling with Jen
With the motto “Eat, drink and be lively,” The Lively in downtown Boise offers a simple, warm, graceful and familiar space. This location is a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. The cocktails list includes charming new mixes to explore as well as a variety of forgotten classics. Don’t forget to make a reservation for dinner to accompany your drinking!
The Mode Lounge
800 W Idaho St, Boise, ID
Happy hour: Every day from 4-7
Right downtown on 8th street, The Mode stands out with its unique furnishings and neon signs. Beyond that, it provides a great place for late-night cocktails. As a bonus, you can also skip the lines and order Piehole Pizza, which is delivered through an adjoining window hidden by wall art.
The Gas Lantern Drinking Company
701 W Fulton, Boise, ID
Must-try cocktail: Smoke & Thyme
Just a short walk down Capitol Boulevard, you’ll find Gas Lantern. If you’re looking for a place that feels more casual, this is it. The gas lantern cocktail bar has bar games, friendly staff and often, live music. Gas Lantern also provides small plate options for snacking. Their next door neighbor is White Dog Brewing, making it a prime location for back-to-back tasting if you’re a spirits and beer lover alike.