Bars without kitchens evidently exempt from state health inspections
Looking for clean glasses and clean taps in a clean bar, a tip sent us to Barb’s in Nampa. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Looking for clean glasses and clean taps in a clean bar, a tip sent us to Barb’s in Nampa.
“We also drink out of those glasses,” bar manager Adriana Harp said. “We also drink that beer when we come in on our days off. So, we want [the bar] to be clean.”
Patrons of this local haunt might thank Harp for much of the joint’s cleanliness.
“Everything is bleached,” she said.
Between closing at 1:30 a.m. and opening at 11 a.m., Barb’s takes down all its mats, throws everything in the dishwasher, empties its ice-well and then bleaches it along with beer drains, surfaces and seemingly everything else in the building.
“I actually have a list that I made up,” Harp said.
Harp invented her own checklist because the state doesn’t provide one.
“I’ve never had an [inspection] in the six years on the night shift that I’ve been here,” she said.
“There’s not a code that says: You can’t have a layer of dust or whatever,” State Police Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau Chief Lt. Russ Wheatley said. “There’s just not anything that I’m aware of that covers that.”
Wheatley’s guys represent Idaho’s closest thing to a cleanliness inspection for bars without kitchens, but even they only check keg lines to ensure the keg matches the tap.
“There’s never been, that I’m aware of, any enforcement piece for un-cleanliness of keg lines and things like that because the businesses do a really good job from what I understand in keeping those things maintained,” Wheatley said.
Indeed, distributors clean the tap lines, wells and soda guns at Barb’s weekly. Harp said she notices when she’s out at other bars or restaurants and they fail to meet her high standards of spotlessness.
“You do notice,” she said, “and you kind of take it as: Oh, I’m spoiled.”
So too may be her patrons, because drinkers with less hygienic managers evidently can’t count on the state to clean things up.