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Made in Idaho: The Roosevelt

Meridian's only whiskey bar.
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The Roosevelt
The old school whiskey bar in Meridian
Posted at 8:49 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 11:07:28-05

MERIDIAN, IDAHO — As you may have guessed from all the construction, Downtown Meridian is slowly becoming a popular hangout spot for Treasure Valley residents. One local businessman is hoping that stays true after opening a unique bar right in the heart of the city.

In this week's Made in Idaho, we're taking you to the area's newest whiskey bar, The Roosevelt.

"You really will never get bored if you're a whiskey fan coming in here. We always have something new," said Manager and Head Bartender of the Roosevelt Alex Domy.

Definitely not your typical hole in the wall bar, The Roosevelt is shaking up signature cocktails and tasty pours using dozens of various whiskeys, a spirit that manager Alex Domy says always has a story behind it.

"It kind of almost tells you the history of an area, the history of a country, a city, a country, a place. You kind of get to take a journey. So not only is it your taste buds, it's mentally stimulating to just go through and here the kind of stories. Try the different ways in which it's made and the different ages," said Domy.

But before even getting into the history of whiskeys, we should start with the history of the building the bar is in.

"You're standing in a building that's 120 years old. This building was built in 1900, so you're looking at original hardwood floors, original brick walls, original ceiling, and it's got a lot of Idaho history just right here. It was a saddle shop for over 100 years. A couple generations of families built saddles here," said Domy.

As you look around the self-described speak-easy meets Irish pub, you'll notice a plethora of stuffed wildlife to match the rustic setting.

"I can't say I took them down myself but, no they're all real and it was just kind of a...we wanted to feel at home. Really feel like Idaho. So we put some of these animals up just to kind of give you that pub feel," smiled Domy.

Even if you're not there for the atmosphere, you certainly won't be able to miss Big Rev, the giant Kodiak Bear greeting patrons as they enter, while also playing a part in the naming of the establishment.

"It all started with that bear, I mean, and so, when we were thinking about names, come to find out Teddy Roosevelt had a Kodiak Bear in the White House. So then we're like, why don't we just call it The Roosevelt? That sounds great. And that's kinda where the inspiration for the decor came from, and the name", said Domy.

If you haven't heard of the Roosevelt before, it might be because they opened in March of this year, literally a week before the pandemic hit Idaho hard.

"We got shut down. And it was a little wild, you know, we were closed for a couple months, and we ended up being really fortunate though because we have a food truck on our patio that's ours and we are fortunate that we had put that in before the quarantine happened so we were able to, like a lot of other bars, get that restaurant designation," said Domy.

So how did this Made in Idaho business stay afloat after basically being shut down during their grand opening? A little help from their fantastic community.

"Once we were finally able to open back up, word of mouth spread really fast, and obviously as a new bar we tweet things as we go along, but we're still in the midst of our initial evolution. We're still working out the kinks but it's been great, the community's been fantastic, so much love and so much support that we're definitely very encouraged moving forward and things are looking definitely very bright for the future," boasted Domy.