Unique, creative spaces to celebrate the season
By Abigail Thorpe
Photo Courtesy of Owen Aird
Come December, the Inland Northwest turns into a winter wonderland. And while the snow falls and the icicles form, many of our favorite restaurants and cafés are busy preparing a festive, cozy and delicious space to enjoy the bounty of the season, long after the Christmas holidays have passed.
From cozy personal heated igloos to classic Christmas decorations and roaring fires, there are plenty of opportunities to head out and enjoy the dining scene from Spokane to Sandpoint. Here are a few of our favorites along the way.
1. Crafted, Coeur d’Alene
This popular Coeur d’Alene tap house is a local destination for beer and food lovers alike. With 62 rotating taps, their beer list is second to none and includes many selections from local breweries. In winter, the popular summer patio transforms into a winter wonderland with private, heated patio igloos (that look like snow globes!).
Each metal exoskeleton igloo includes an electric fireplace heater and holiday music, and can fit up to eight people. You can reserve an entire igloo for an hour and a half for $80, or half an igloo for $40, and food and drink is an additional cost. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the winter season in a unique outdoor space while remaining warm with friends.
Throughout the season, Crafted will continue to offer its anticipated turtle races every Friday night at 10pm and host various brewery events throughout the winter. Make sure to check out CraftedTaphouse.com to stay up to date, or reserve your igloo by calling 208.292.4813.
2. Pend d'Oreille Winery, Sandpoint
Pend d’Oreille Winery in downtown Sandpoint has been producing local award-winning wines since 1995. Its tasting room on Cedar Street offers an inviting, art-filled space to taste and enjoy a carefully selected menu of bites, salads and flatbread pizzas while you sample the wines.
During the holidays, the tasting room gets festive with decorations, including a large tree and an intricately decorated front window—part of the town’s annual window decorating contest. Enjoy mulled wine during the holiday season, a seasonal food menu, and if you’re up at Schweitzer for a ski day, make sure to stop in for the Après Ski Special during the winter season—you’ll receive a $5 glass of wine each Sunday afternoon if you have a ski pass from that day. Visit POWine.com to learn more.
3. Churchill's, Spokane
Right after Halloween, Churchill’s Steakhouse in Spokane begins its extensive Christmas decorating, and it is a sight to behold! One of the most notable steakhouses in the Inland Northwest, there’s a reason Churchill’s is a destination for both locals and visitors alike. The moment you step inside its warm interior, you’re transported into a different place and time.
The steakhouse offers live piano music in the lounge almost every night throughout the year, but make sure to visit at least once during the holiday season to experience the gorgeous Christmas decorations that bedeck every inch of available space. Visit ChurchillsSteakhouse.com to see the menu, stay up to date with events or to make a reservation.
4. Beverly's, Coeur d’Alene
View the lights on the water from up high at Beverly’s. Located on the seventh floor of the Coeur d’Alene Resort, Beverly’s offers panoramic views of Lake Coeur d’Alene—the perfect place to view the holiday lights while you enjoy a 5-star dining experience.
Each year, more than a million twinkling lights in hundreds of displays light up the waterfront at the annual Holiday Light Show. The effect is dazzling and something the entire family will enjoy. View the lights from the restaurant at the top of the resort, and then head down to walk around the marina for an up-close view, or depart on a holiday lake cruise to view the largest on-the-water holiday light display in America. Visit BeverlysCdA.com for hours, menu and information.
5. Forty-One South, Sandpoint
A large two-sided crackling wood fire makes Forty-One South the place to be on a cold winter night. From the moment you enter the room, you’ll be welcomed into a warm, inviting space with delightful hints of chimney smoke smell and the crackle of a wood-burning fireplace.
You can enjoy the fire on the dining room side and reserve a table for dinner (or try your luck without a reservation), or head into the lounge area and enjoy the fireside up close and personal on one of the velvet sofas while you sip from the delicious cocktail and wine menu, which includes a seasonal favorite—the Smoked Old Fashioned. Lakeside windows lend you a glimpse of the water with epic sunset views while you remain warm and cozy indoors. Visit 41SouthSandpoint.com for more information.
6. Historic Davenport, Spokane
No holiday season would be complete without a visit to the Davenport in Spokane for its famous Christmas tree and holiday decorations. Although this year’s Christmas Tree Elegance event will take place at River Park Square for social distancing concerns, the Historic Davenport Hotel in downtown is a must-see destination for the season. Stop in and tour the decorations, and enjoy a meal at the award-winning Palm Court Grill, or head into the Peacock Room Lounge for an evening cocktail.
If you’re in the mood for some outdoor/indoor festivities, the Davenport Grand Hotel is offering warm outdoor igloos on its Grand Terrace for guests to reserve from now until March 2021. Nibble on some charcuterie while you sip a signature cocktail under the stars. Visit DavenportHotelCollection.com to learn more and make a reservation.
7. The Culinary Stone, Coeur d'Alene
There's something about the smell of a gourmet meal that gets everyone excited for the holidays. At the Culinary Stone in Coeur d'Alene, you can actually roll up your sleeves and get in the kitchen to learn the secret to making delicious concoctions at home—including a few holiday favorites, both new and traditional. The store includes a café and deli, so you can stop in for a tasty treat or sign up for one of the cooking classes or wine tasting events to sample a variety of flavors from all over the world.
During the Christmas season, they are offering custom holiday gift baskets, and customers can wander the beautifully decorated store and shop for their favorite food and wine treats before or after they dive into a class. The Culinary Stone is all about helping people discover food that feeds the soul, and it's the perfect spot to introduce gourmet into your everyday—and onto your holiday table.
8. Clinkerdagger, Spokane
There’s nothing like a Clinkerdagger Christmas. The iconic Spokane landmark is located inside the historic Spokane Flour Mill built in 1895, which was redesigned into a retail shopping and dining area in the mid-1970s. Overlooking the Spokane River and city skyline, the Clinkerdagger boasts epic views with an old-style, fine-dining, American grill-style ambiance. Every Christmas, the restaurant goes all out with decorations.
The cozy feel, seasonal decorations and delicious food make Clinkerdagger a go-to stop during the colder months, not to mention it was voted “Best Fine Dining Restaurant” by Best of Inlander in 2020. Visit the website at Clinkerdagger.com for hours, reservations and more.
9. The Bluebird, Coeur d’Alene
Midtown Coeur d’Alene is a vibrant, reimagined area of the city that boasts some delicious eateries, delightful shops and fun adventures, and at its heart lies the Bluebird. The eclectic eatery with its unassuming front offers some mouth-watering takes on American pub grub.
The Bluebird is a favorite all year round, but the winter months, in particular, make this easygoing, cozy eatery a go-to for comfort food. They source ingredients locally whenever possible and focus on serving delicious, high-quality food in a casual, laid-back environment.
Starting in November, the eatery shifted over to its amazing fall- and winter-inspired menu and is gearing up for the holiday season. Make sure to check out the website to stay up to date on new menu items, special events, the Bird’s Nest Wine Club and more.
It’s the season of comfort food, holiday cheer and cozy, relaxing nights. Lucky for us, the Inland Northwest offers plenty of places and opportunities to take advantage of local flavors with a winter welcome. Head on out to experience the heart and soul of our culinary scene.