(LB) 2ND PLACE: The Satellite; 3RD PLACE: The Elk; BEST NORTH IDAHO BAR FOOD: Capone's I'm trying to gauge exactly why people voted for RIVERFRONT PARK. On the one hand, it has the ice rink, the carousel, the mini-golf course, enough skee-ball to support an entire third grade class — all great, non-threatening pastimes — and that gaudy Harold Balazs fountain is a great meet-up place. It's literally a corrugated metal building awkwardly placed on the top of a rock behind KXLY 4. What makes the AMC 20 unique, though, is its continued commitment to bringing top-notch art-house cinema to downtown.On the other hand, it's both pretty wide open in places and well-treed in others, so if the date goes south, you can just pick a direction, run like hell for five minutes and be among any number of dark hedges to hide in until Frankendate gives up the chase. It's in the middle of nowhere and looks, to the uninitiated, like a warehouse where the TV station might store old 6 o'clock News sets. During the week of March 6, in fact, AMC was showing almost as many indie flicks (eight films on nine screens) as big studio releases (nine films on 11 screens). Oh, and this year they held a ton of screenings of Spokane International Film Festival Film. (LB) 2ND PLACE: Regal North Town; 3RD PLACE: The Garland; BEST NORTH IDAHO MOVIE THEATER: Regal Riverstone A place for all tastes, EMPYREAN opens relatively early and closes relatively late.As you drive across the frozen Airway Heights tundra, first it appears as a warm glow against the night sky: the promise of food, warmth, conviviality, good times and flashing lights.The interior of NORTHERN QUEST CASINO buzzes like a hive, with worker bees busily gathering change and returning to feed the slots, which beckon brightly with names like "Rich Little Piggies," "Raking It In" and "Lucky Larry's Lobstermania." One of the slot attendants tells me that "Dolphin's Treasure" is the most popular machine: "They're only a nickel, and you can win up to 150 bucks," she enthuses.(LB) 2ND PLACE: Starbucks; 3RD PLACE: Twigs At some point in the annals of drunken buffoonery, an enterprising genius realized that happy hour didn't just mean you got to save a little cheese at your local watering hole. " "Oh, just something about the War of 1812 that I got from Wikipedia and this book I read. It wins — every year — because everyone who's ever gone there has told a friend what a great, friendly, booze-rich environment it is. (LB) 2ND PLACE: The Elk; 3RD PLACE (TIE): The Swamp, Steam Plant, Northern Lights; BEST NORTH IDAHO BEER SELECTION: Coeur d'Alene Brewing Co. It houses rock shows and punk shows and hardcore shows and metal shows in its back room and singer/songwriters and poetry slams up front.It also meant that, certain hours of the day, poor schmucks like us can drink and eat well outside our means. It has a great coffee and tea selection and also serves beer (three on tap).The Ultimate Sports Lounge next door, meanwhile, has John Stockton's basketball, Mark Rypien's helmet and a glassed-in cigar lounge.Those stogies always taste better right after the Cougs beat the spread.
(LB) 2ND PLACE: Twigs; 3RD PLACE: Steelhead Bar and Grill; BEST NORTH IDAHO HAPPY HOUR: The Iron Horse "It's me. They'd also take a zero-tolerance approach to their bouncers alienating club kids and concertgoers.
With such an obscure path to romantic happiness, it becomes absolutely vital to avoid the get-to-know-you effluvia and get at what's really important in a date.