Tara Morgan worked in partnership with Visit Idaho to create this Travel Tip.
Sipping a cocktail next to a crackling fire can ignite festive feelings in the Grinch-iest among us. Thankfully, there are a handful of spots around Boise where you can imbibe al fresco into the winter months thanks to heaters and flickering fire pits. Or if you’d prefer to relax with a tipple next to your own roaring fire, there are also a few bars shaking up creative cocktails to-go.
Ochos Wine Bar
Though this recently renovated 1892 duplex on Idaho Street has an unassuming brick exterior, don’t be fooled. Ochos is much more than a quaint wine bar. Tread down the creaky wood floors to the back patio and you’ll find a sleek, modern deck dotted with glimmering new fire pits and overhead heaters. The two-tiered patio boasts wood-lined bench seating that wraps around three sizable fire pits, along with a high-top bar table with an hourglass-shaped fire feature. For a sinister sip, order Tear of the Black Veil, a silky blend of bourbon, hibiscus simple syrup, egg white, lemon, and rose water topped with dried hibiscus petals. Ochos also boasts a small plates menu where you can build your own custom cheese, charcuterie, or vegan cheeseboard
Like many of its downtown peers, this Main Street mainstay recently ramped up its front patio game. Now you can grab an outdoor table at Fork and warm your hands next to one of six glowing fire pits. Warm your insides with The Lion’s Heart, a spicy sip filled with Buffalo Trace bourbon, honey simple syrup, lime juice, and Allspice Dram. Sweeten the deal with Fork’s decadent Warm Butter Cake, topped with a melty scoop of Cloverleaf vanilla ice cream.
Looking for the perfect perch to people-watch? Snag a seat at Lucky Fins on the Grove next to the long patio fire pit, which boasts a rooftop covering to keep things extra cozy. Don’t skip happy hour at this seafood shack, where you can feast on everything from lobster-crowned deviled eggs to tuna tataki to oysters on the half shell at a discount, Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. Wash down those nautical snacks with a Fins’ Dirty Martini, made with Tito’s vodka, olive juice, and bleu cheese-stuffed olives.
While this brand new BODO basement bar from the owners of Western Collective doesn’t offer patio seating, it tops the list for cozy spots to snag a socially distanced drink by candlelight. The Nighthawk is a romantic, reservation-only beer and wine lounge adorned with clusters of leather couches, neon signs and dripping candelabras. Reservations are limited to 1.5 hours so staff can sanitize tables between guests and the menu includes a limited selection of custom-blended wines and Western Collective brews.
Water Bear Bar
While this leafy mountain tiki bar isn’t offering indoor seating at the moment, you can recreate the Water Bear experience at home with their thoughtful to-go cocktails. Whether you opt for a canned concoction like the Airplane!—with bourbon, Aperol, Averna, Braulio, Demerara and Apple soda—or a classic Boulevardier in a sleek glass flask, Water Bear keeps things on-brand with custom ice, cocktail accouterments and paper doily drink coasters. For a warming late-fall libation, don’t miss the Pace is the Trick, filled with sherry, Jamaican rum, Stone Pine liqueur, lime, apple soda, cinnamon and bitters, crowned with a fan of fresh apple slices.
Press & Pony
This pint-sized cocktail lounge has partnered with its basement brethren at RamaPong to offer an array of classic cocktails and hearty Asian eats to-go. Brighten up a grey winter day with Press and Pony’s lemony Bee’s Knees cocktail—shaken up with gin and honey simple syrup—available as a single serving or in a 4-pack. The cocktail pairs perfectly with an order of RamaPong’s crispy, lightly spicy Katsu Chicken, which you can order as a snack or a sandwich, topped with slaw and housemade pickled jalapeños on a toasty bun.
The Gas Lantern Drinking Company
Hit up happy hour at this Capitol Boulevard craft cocktail lounge and you’ll get 50% off select cocktails, wine and drafts twice daily. Enjoy a round on the front patio next to the wood-burning fireplace then keep the party going with another libation to-go. The Midnight in Manhattan makes for a bewitching winter warmer, filled with Sazerac rye, Amaro Averna, activated charcoal and locally crafted Warn Reserve cherry bitters.
Feature image credited to Tara Morgan.
Tara Morgan is a freelance food + booze writer and co-owner of the company Wild Plum Events. She loves an epic dinner party, good design, bad puns and pretty much every French rosé ever made.
Published on November 19, 2020