Spotlight on Spokane: Meet the City’s Top Bartenders

An artistic rendition of a lively cocktail bar in Spokane, Washington, featuring a diverse group of skilled bartenders showcasing their craft with flair, surrounded by patrons enjoying the vibrant atm

Introduction to Spokane’s Bar Scene

Renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and vibrant cultural tapestry, Spokane, Washington, is also making a name for itself with a burgeoning bar scene. In the heart of the Inland Northwest, Spokane has cultivated a collection of talented bartenders who bring creativity and charisma to their craft. This article shines a spotlight on some of the top bartenders in Spokane, exploring their unique styles, signature drinks, and the establishments that set the stage for their mixology magic.

The Maestros of Mixology

Spokane’s top bartenders are not just servers; they are artists, chemists, and storytellers who enhance the social ambiance and enrich the city’s nightlife. We’ll introduce you to a trio of the city’s best bartenders, each who brings something unique to the table.

Jessica Murnane at The Sapphire Lounge

Jessica Murnane has become a fixture behind the bar at The Sapphire Lounge, known for its elegant décor and sophisticated atmosphere. With over a decade of experience, Jessica is revered for her creative cocktail recipes and impeccable service. Her signature drink, the Northwest Negroni, is a twist on the classic, featuring local gin infused with Douglas fir and lavender, vermouth rosso, and a splash of coffee bitters. Jessica’s approach is deeply rooted in Spokane’s local produce and spirit distilleries, making each drink a tribute to the region.

Henry Olson at The Peacock Room Lounge

Henry Olson excels in classical mixology and has an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage and contemporary cocktails. Working at The Peacock Room Lounge, Henry is known for his energetic flair and his ability to recreate historical recipes with modern twists. His standout creation, the Vintage Vogue, combines bourbon, honey syrup, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice, garnished with a sprig of mint and a twist of orange peel. Henry’s charisma and engaging storytelling make each visit memorable, taking patrons on a journey through the history of cocktail culture.

Lara Kim at Zola

Lara Kim brings an international flair to her bartending style, mixed with a deep appreciation for Asian flavors. At Zola, a quirky and cozy spot known for its live music and eclectic interior, Lara concocts innovative drinks that incorporate unique ingredients like yuzu and Szechuan peppercorns. One of her notable mixes, The Eastern Promise, is a refreshing blend of vodka, green tea, lemon juice, and lychee liqueur, served with a candied ginger garnish. Lara’s creativity and attention to detail make her cocktails a captivating sensorial experience.

Impact on Spokane’s Culinary Scene

The influence of these bartenders extends beyond the confines of their bars. They contribute significantly to Spokane’s culinary reputation, participating in local festivals, competitions, and mixology events. These platforms not only help them showcase their skills but also allow them to exchange ideas and inspire one another, continually elevating the city’s cocktail culture.

Craft and Community

Moreover, Spokane’s bartenders are deeply involved in the local community, often collaborating with regional distilleries, farms, and other small businesses to source ingredients, which supports the local economy and promotes sustainability. Their commitment to craft and community contributes to a thriving bar scene that locals and visitors alike can enjoy, fostering a sense of pride and collective identity among Spokane residents.


The bartenders of Spokane are more than just purveyors of drinks; they are pivotal contributors to the city’s social and cultural landscape. With their innovative approaches and dedication to quality, Jessica, Henry, and Lara represent just a sampling of the talent to be found in this dynamic city’s bars. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a night out in Spokane offers not only a taste of excellent cocktails but also a glimpse into the passion and creativity that define this community.

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