In subtle but noticeable ways the personality of the city of Spokane changes at the end of the first week of each month. That’s when our spirits rise and Friday night is suddenly a bit more festive than the usual drop-down-on-the-sofa-with-a-beer night in front of the TV. Suddenly people aren’t thinking about driving straight home or heading out of town the minute they shut off the computer and push away from the desk. This is the night for a party at “our place.” Facebook chats are initiated. Phone calls are exchanged. Texts are sent. Emails go out. Plans are made.
As the day fades, bright lights spill out of the windows of downtown shops, galleries, wine bars and businesses. The city’s sidewalks are a constant parade of men and women out to have a good time on a beautiful night; some dressed to the nines in sky-high heels, short skirts, silk ties and jackets, others still in workplace Friday-casual khakis. Some are come-as-you-are in jeans and t-shirts. It doesn’t matter what you wear.
This is First Friday in Spokane. There is a different vibe in the air. This is the night the party stays here in town. It’s when friends gather at a favorite meeting spot and the air is filled with the sound of laughter, the congenial clatter of knives and forks on pottery plates and the ring of wineglasses as they touch in a friendly toast. It’s when established and “new kid on the block” local artists bring out their best work and turn unexpected venues into chic uptown, upscale and upwardly mobile gallery spaces. Wine flows, friendships deepen and relationships take it up a notch.
First Friday is Spokane’s night on the town, when art, music, food and wine shine brightest and everyone comes out to play.
Visit the Downtown Partnership First Friday web site
The “In” Places to Be
Spokane boasts a number of distinct First Friday districts, each with its own unique flavor and signature winery or tasting room. Here are a few on our list of favorites:
Located in the heart of downtown Spokane across from the Steam Plant restaurant at 906 W. 2nd Avenue , Grand Ronde Cellars, produces single vineyard and Bordeaux Blend red wines from Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge vineyards. The tasting room holds an artist’s reception from 5- 7 p.m. on First Friday. Be there. Be Ronde.
Housed in a funky rail-side building down one of the coolest alleys in town, Barrister Winery, at 1213 West Railroad Avenue, is the go-to the place for First Friday avant-garde art and down-home blues. The monthly artist’s reception runs from 5-7 pm with wine by the glass or bottle. Beacon Hill catering provides a tasty “bistro buffet” from 6-8pm.
Carnegie Square, anchored by the stately former Carnegie Library Building, is where you will find Whitestone Winery tasting room at 115 South Cedar. First Friday festivities include live music and appetizers from 6-9p.m.
Vintage Hill Cellars
Vintage Hill Cellars holds court in the south-of-downtown SoDo district at 319 West 2nd Avenue. Just-released 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Walla Walla Valley and an urban vibe make this a must-stop winery on your First Friday tour.
Nectar Tasting Room
One of Spokane’s newest wine-scene landmarks, Nectar Tasting Room, at 120 North Stevens, is a not-to-be-missed stop on the First Friday wine trail. With rotating exhibitions of art from local talent, the best in live music and over 40 wines from five Washington wineries to be enjoyed by the bottle or the glass, Nectar is First Friday headquarters for those in the know.
Marketplace Wine Bar
Emvy Cellars and Bridgepress Cellars joined to create Market Place Wine Bar and tasting room, located at 32 West 2nd Avenue, just a few months ago and already they have garnered fans of both the wines and the location.
Nodland Cellars (City of Spokane Valley)
Nodland Cellars, 11616 E Montgomery Drive, is spearheading the Spokane Valley winery presence in the monthly Art Walk held in conjunction with Spokane’s First Friday celebrations. Stop in for fine wine, fine art and live music.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a Spokane-based writer and editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filed under: Winery Events