Jeremy Aevermann, the familiar face behind the bar at Boise’s newest nightspot, Liquid, knows what you’re thinking.
Who in their right mind opens a bar at this moment in economic time? Especially in the same space where the Funny Bone went belly up? I don’t care if Liquid’s new outdoor patio is so awesome and big that you can see Russia from it. You, my friend, are cuh-razy.
“When I started this, the economy was good,” Aevermann explains.
When did you start construction? 2005?
“The economy was better!” he says, laughing.
Here’s the thing about Liquid, which opened Sept. 22. The odds may seem stacked against it. But Liquid definitely has a fighting chance. Aevermann, who spent nearly a decade bartending at Downtown institution Pengilly’s, has given the BoDo district exactly what it needs: A hangout that slings cheap drinks.
There are many valid reasons to visit BoDo: to shop at Urban Outfitters, to crowd-surf at the Knitting Factory, to catch a movie at Edwards, to grab a bite at PF Chang’s, to run across 9th Street lugging a full keg and hide it in a parking lot. (I witnessed two giggling men doing this a few weeks ago around midnight. I didn’t ask.)
But to chill with friends and enjoy an adult beverage at a modest price? No. Not an option in BoDo. Until now. Aevermann, who opened Liquid with business partners Elizabeth Oldenkamp (his girlfriend) and Greg Belzeski (who drums in Frim Fram Four and the SoulCats), has been in the bar game long enough to realize that – at least for now – it’s all about the Benjamins.
Liquid’s well drinks are $3, except from 2 to 8 p.m., when they’re $2. The 10 beers on tap range from $2 to $4, except during that 360-minute happy hour, when they’re $1 off. That means a draft of PBR is just a buck.
Service industry workers qualify for happy hour prices all the time. Consequently, the Knitting Factory staff across the alley has made Liquid an after-work hangout. At a recent concert, the Knitting Factory was handing out coupons and flyers for Liquid.
Aevermann hopes to attract drinkers before and after shows at the Knit, which he calls “the staple of the alley.” Knitting Factory general manager Dean Hanson says he’s fine with that. He calls Liquid “an asset of the alley.”
Hanson likes Liquid’s chances.
“It’s comfortable. It’s clean,” Hanson says. “They’re friendly. The prices of the drinks are right. I think he’s really onto something.”
I wandered through Liquid on Tuesday night. What struck me is that it offers something for everyone: Flat-screen TVs for sports fans. Video games for Golden Tee nerds. A 50-foot patio for outdoorsy types.
Local performers take the stage six nights a week for music fans. DJ music spins from midnight to 2 a.m. three days a week. Liquid has an inventive decor, ranging from a 900-bottle wine wall near the pool tables to a broken whiskey-bottle bar top. Aevermann invites local artists to hang their work on his walls to sell.
Newcomers will notice a huge, metal martini fountain at the doorway. After you pay a 75-cent cover charge (only on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays), toss your quarter in change into the water. The money will be donated to a different charity each month. Right now, it’s the American Red Cross.
That’s fitting. Along with sweat and tears, the Liquid owners obviously spilled a little blood since this project began taking shape months ago. Aevermann and Oldenkamp did much of the work themselves.
Liquid is cooler than I thought it would be. Nothing against the Funny Bone, but that room was sort of dark and dingy. No more.
“Honestly, it turned out a little cooler than I thought it would, too,” Aevermann says proudly.