We asked our Man in the Field to point his critical eye toward the Bartlett. These are his findings.
We love Spokane and we love music. So when we first heard of The Bartlett’s Indiegogo campaign to open up a smaller club by people who know a little something about booking good bands, not only were we excited, we threw our money at them. Here were some folks that not only had a passion for what they did; they were filling a void that Spokane desperately needed. As a few setbacks prolonged The Bartlett’s timeline for opening, I freely admit that I was beginning to think that this endeavor could be a bit too good to be true. But the clouds parted, the Bartlett opened, and we attended a show.
Personal feelings aside, what do you really expect from a music venue other than great sound, a clean aesthetic and a good staff? Having seen the insides of many a (less than savory) venue, it truly doesn’t take that much to impress me these days. But with all the details The Bartlett was advertising (green room for the artists / built in merch booth), we went in there with a bit of a higher standard, because, why not? Spokane deserves to be held to a higher standard. I think the days of pretending places like Mootsy’s and The Baby Bar are decent music venues are behind us.
But this isn’t about them, it’s about us and what we deserve. The Bartlett has two areas, so right off the bat, it’s got a leg up on similarly sized venues in Spokane. The front end is a café/bar that serves your typical café fare. The décor is just right: sparse but classy. Being that we went during the evening, we of course went straight for the taps at the bar which included a few beers and one cider. We’d like to see a bit more of Spokane represented here, but when you’ve only got a few taps, choices have to be made and you really can’t go wrong with No-Li’s Born & Raised. The service at the bar was friendly and attentive. And bonus points for serving the woman who was at the bar first in lieu of the dude who jumped up front of her. We hope that over time, they continue to show this level of attentiveness as that would truly set them apart from a lot of Spokane’s establishments.
Now, on to why you really come to The Bartlett: the music. The club’s interior matches that of the café, refinished wood floors and a few tables and chairs along the walls make for a clean yet inviting vibe. The stage is nestled in the corner with a great lighting setup. The sound was fantastic. However, for louder bands, we would recommend bringing ear plugs, as a venue this small can be quite loud. A few of the details of the club itself include sound dampeners on both the back and side wall. There’s also a water station in the back. For smaller shows, it’d be nice to see some taller tables on the floor to set your drinks on, but those are details we don’t want to nitpick about too much. But that’s just it about The Bartlett; the details. They’ve been paid attention to and implemented with style, something that we think Spokane deserves and frankly, should demand.
Overall, even with high expectations, The Bartlett delivered. We're excited about the future of live music in Spokane and with The Bartlett already bringing in acts like Typhoon and Shovels & Rope, you should be too.