Booze clues 2013: Which Boise bar is plowing through the most liquor?



Ow. Numbers make my head hurt. The Idaho State Liquor Division’s annual bar-sales report feels like a 28-page hangover without the shenanigans the night before. Yet, just like that second pour of Don Julio blanco, it’s always worth the burn. There’s something inherently fun about turning the Treasure Valley’s bar scene into a yearly competition.

The report for fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, tells us how much money bars spent and how many bottles of liquor they bought. And for the second consecutive year, the Valley’s king of the hard-alcohol buyers by dollar is … Barbacoa restaurant.

Barbacoa spent $277,612 on 13,968 bottles of booze. When you consider the mark-up on drinks — 11 zillion percent or something like that — that’s a tidy little profit.

Wow, Boise. What a boring bunch of drinkers you are. All three of the top bars are the same as they were last year. After Barbacoa comes China Blue/Dirty Little Roddy’s and Main Street Bistro …

The Top 10 Treasure Valley bars

1. Barbacoa, $277,612, 13,968 bottles

2. China Blue/Dirty Little Roddy’s, $226,884, 13,240 bottles

3. Main Street Bistro, $178,595, 11,510 bottles

4. The Matador, $156,788, 8,664 bottles

5. Reef/Brickyard, $145,482, 8,698 bottles

6. Hannah’s, $132,734, 8,331 bottles

7. Tom Grainey’s/Basement, $126,880, 8,486 bottles

8. Cactus Bar, $124,583, 13,456 bottles

9. Knitting Factory, $123,933, 7,836 bottles

10. Bittercreek Alehouse/Red Feather Lounge, $121,082, 6,895 bottles

Notable: While Coeur d’Alene Resort was No. 1 in the state with a whopping $366,113 this year, Sun Valley Lodge had a HUGE drop year to year, from $306,940 in 2012 to $203,200. Bad snow year? … In Boise, the Cactus Bar made a nice leap, from $104,780 in 2012 (19th place in the Treasure Valley) to $124,583 in 2013 (8th). Also, the Cactus purchased the second most bottles in the Valley — cheap booze, anyone? … Another eyebrow raiser: Fatty’s in Downtown Boise plummeted from $107,419 in 2012 to $72,831 in 2013. And remember back when college-drinker destination Mack & Charlie’s was insane? It spent $193,771 in 2009. Its replacement, Silly Birch, has a ways to go: $72,346 in fiscal year 2013.

Read the entire Bar Sales By Dollars Sold Fiscal Year 2013 Report here.

Michael Deeds is the Idaho Statesman’s entertainment columnist and Scene magazine editor. His column runs Fridays and Sundays. He appears on the 6 p.m. broadcast of "Today's 6 News" on Thursdays and hosts a music show, "The Other Studio," from 9-10 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

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