Spokane, WA, February 7, 2013 – The wait is over as the doors open for Knitting Factory Entertainment’s newest establishment, The District Bar, set to debut to Spokane patrons February 15, 2013 at 916 West 1st Avenue in Spokane. A gastropub in the tradition of its North Hollywood cousin The Federal Bar in Los Angeles, the sprawling District Bar is one for Spokane’s arts and culture-focused downtown, and has its sights set on becoming the spot for theater and concert-goers flocking to the area nightly—some of whom visit The Knitting Factory’s own concert house adjacent to the venue as well as the nearby Bing Crosby and Fox Theatres.
The District Bar’s Menu (View Front) (View Back)—sturdy and substantial—focuses on great quality and puts a spin on classic bar food by adding class and comfort. Executive Chef Gary Evans infuses his Mississippi Gulf Coast roots into traditional gastropub fare, while also incorporating local ingredients (think Idaho potatoes spun into house-made garlic “Pommes” and Walla Walla Sweet Onion Soup). Evans gained considerable experience following his Mississippi training, working at prestigious resorts, casinos and hotels. He started at MGM/Mirage’s Beau Rivage Casino and Resort in Biloxi, working his way up over several years from line cook to sous chef. He honed his skills in Southwestern style cooking as Culinary Supervisor at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya in Albuquerque and then came to Spokane where he worked at the Davenport Hotel’s Palm Court Grill. Appetizers highlight Evans’ creativity, with his take on cheese sticks—made with panko-battered, beer-marinated hearts of palm and glazed with bourbon sauce—or the house-made potato chips soaked in beer before their trip to the fryer, then tossed with fresh herbs, truffle oil and garlic aioli. From beer chili to a variety of burgers and dogs (the “Bacon Dog” is a thrice-wrapped, deep-fried, beer chili-smothered dreadnought, and the “Bacon Wrapped Burger,” is an all-beef burger wrapped in bacon, covered in BBQ sauce and topped with fried Walla Walla onions), Evans rounds his two-handed entrees out with fork and knife plates including grilled pork chops made with brown sugar apple cider brine with a bourbon pepper pork jus, and beer braised short ribs seasoned with garlic, horseradish and truffle oil.
District Bar’s craft Cocktail Menu exhibits a mix of both classic (think Sazerac) and, well, just the opposite. Their Chipotle Chocolate Margarita—an overhaul of the traditional tequila staple—combines fresh lemon and orange, Aha Toro Anejo Tequila, organic blue agave nectar and house made sweet and sour mix, rimmed with sugar, Hershey’s Cocoa and chipotle pepper powder. District also offers the Wasabi Mint Julep; the Afternoon Breeze (a mixture of muddled cucumber, vodka and Midori Melon liqueur); and the Smoking Gun and Vermont Manhattan, both there to prove naysayers wrong about mixing anything with good whiskey. The District features eighteen different kinds of beer (view beer menu), including locally brewed selections like Clem’s Gold from Airway Heights; 509 Style Ale; Harmon Puget Sound Porter and brands from further afield, including Lagunitas IPA; Goodlife Descender IPA; Downtown Brown; Firestone Walker; and Diamond Knot.
The design, theme and vision for The District Bar come from the KF consulting group and Matt Judge, longtime General Manager of the Knitting Factory and Project Manager for The District Bar remodel, whose unique culinary past brought him back to the city where he was raised to give Spokane a restaurant and bar that differentiates itself from anything else in the area. Judge, who moved to Spokane as a child from the East Coast, first honed his culinary expertise during five years aboard a Trident nuclear submarine, and subsequent service as personal chef to both of former President Bill Clinton’s Secretaries of Defense, William Perry and William Cohen. He also studied at the Culinary Institute of America’s schools in New York and Napa, and was the Food Service Director for the Salvation Army for three years. “I have cooked for so many different kinds of people under so many different circumstances,” Judge recalls. “I’ve learned to both work hard to please customers as well as to create an environment and a cuisine that’s widely appealing yet creative. We’ve all had a lot of fun bringing the District Bar to life.”
The District Bar will be open from 5PM-2AM Thursday through Sunday. Judge concludes the space, at nearly 5,600 square feet, is a long-awaited addition to the arts and entertainment hub of Spokane. “The District Bar is indicative of our neighborhood and a great fit for the arts and entertainment district – hence the name. We want to be an asset to the theater and arts community here in Spokane.”