The Modern Hotel and Bar is the best hotel, and bar, in Boise. It may be the best hotel, and bar, in the entire state of Idaho.
After camping for six weeks straight, it’s hard to overemphasize how luxurious our room at The Modern felt. We’d been daydreaming about this room for at least a week before we arrived. We dreamed about the comfy bed, gigantic rain shower, fast internet, full cable, iPod dock, and just plain great looking room. We’d say things like, “What do you want to do first, take a shower or watch TV?” and “I’m going to take two or three showers in a row…I’m going to take a TEN MINUTE shower!”
The Modern is an old Travelodge that has been heavily renovated into a gorgeous, affordable boutique hotel. It’s like an ugly caterpillar that has metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly. A little too thick? Visit and see for yourself.
The bar starts the day as a breakfast bar. As soon as you walk in, you’re asked if you’d like fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice. From what I can tell, this instantly puts everyone into a good mood (myself included).
Later on, the breakfast bar morphs into a real bar. It’s the best bar in Boise for cocktails, like the Violet Hour in Chicago, but not so pretentious. It’s a hotel bar that locals love for the drinks, not just for the hotel bar scene. That’s a big accomplishment. They’ve got good, local food too, but, let’s face it, I’ve had more cocktails than snacks here. Michael, the bartender, will make you a custom cocktail after asking what kind of mood you’re in, but there’s also a great seasonal cocktail menu, with tasty concoctions like The Gadabout (rye, some cordial I can’t remember, coffee beans, and flamed orange peel).
Wednesday night, we’re at The Modern Bar with Joe. Michael swings by, speaking of an old bottle of Chartreuse. He’ll give us a sample if we buy an ounce of modern-era Chartreuse. Happily, Joe can’t resist. There’s a complicated story behind their acquisition of this bottle. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. We’re all willing to risk it. The old Chartreuse is mellow, with lots of anise and herb and cedar flavors. By contrast, the modern-era Chartreuse is strong – the alcohol dominates and the herbs are just an undertone.
We’ve had a few, and I need to take a trip to the ladies’ room. I don’t want to take the flight of steps to ours yet. In the lobby bathroom, a turntable is propped on a gnome stand with a whole range of records to choose from. If it wasn’t for the drinks waiting outside, and the fact that it’s just a single unit, I’d hang out in there and play Madonna at the wrong RPM and laugh for hours. I love The Modern.