A view of the Modern Hotel and Bar in downtown Boise Idaho. The hotel is a renovated two-story travelodge. The photo was taken across Grove Street, looking at the lobby entrance of the motor hotel. The mid-century architecture is complimented by wood and metal accents, ginkgo trees in the courtyard, and hackberry vines. The landscape is xeriscape and includes native plants. The Idaho Power office building top stories are just visible behind the hotel. Boise's typical summer blue sky is on full display with whisperings of white clouds. In another hopeful sign that downtown Boise businesses are beginning to recover from the pandemic-enforced shut down, the bar at the Modern Hotel will be open for business beginning June 3.

While the hotel remained open during the pandemic, owner Elizabeth Tullis closed the restaurant and bar for the safety of guests, staff and community. She used the shutdown time as an opportunity to rethink what a sustainable restaurant looks like in this “new normal”.

The result is a more streamlined, pared-down approach with the same focus on hospitality and quality. For now, the Modern will open as a bar, rather than the full-service restaurant. Guests can expect the innovative cocktails and carefully curated wine and beer selection the Modern is known for, but the food on offer will be distinctive and delicious small bites, not full entrees.

The new menu at the Modern Bar in Boise Idaho includes the cocktail pictured here. The Jade Coast is served in a coupe glass. It is yellow green in color with white froth on top and a dried lime as garnish. The cocktail sits on a square wooden stump used for sitting around the fire pits in the Modern Hotel courtyard. In the background a blurred group of people dine at a patio table.

Chef Kelly Grindstaff and Bar Manager Ariel Vazquez, while new to the Modern, are experienced in Idaho’s hospitality scene, and have worked together to create an inventive menu that will continue to feature top-notch, locally-sourced ingredients.

“We are just so grateful to be able to open completely again,” said Polly Evett, the Modern’s manager. “Grateful to the people who got us to this point, and grateful to the new folks on board who are taking us into the future. And grateful to once again do what we love—offering the best experience we can to our community and our guests.”

If a drink and an appetizer just isn’t enough, you’re in luck: the Modern will launch a full dinner menu this fall when we head back inside.

Until then, the doors open June 3. Drinks on the Modern patio around the firepit? It must be summer in Boise. You can make reservations and view the menus at themodernbar.com.

View of the Modern Hotel and Bar courtyard from the southeast corner of the patio. Several metal mesh tables with matching cherner-like chairs are occupied by patrons enjoying craft cocktails and appetizers. Reddish-orange hotel room doors are visible surrounding the courtyard. Ginkgo trees and sails provide shade.