- Erick Doxey
- The new all-ages spot near Gonzaga is a perfect place to catch a game with friends and family.
It starts young — that weekend (or weekday) itch to go out and do something fun with a group of friends somewhere, anywhere. Before the Lucky Puppy, a new all-ages venue in Gonzaga University's Logan Neighborhood for free karaoke, sports-watching parties, fundraising events and more, that urge might have led local college students and under-21s to sweaty house parties, or down the worn and bumpy road to fake IDs.
But the Lucky Puppy — connected to but separate from local favorite Scotty's Doghouse — finally scratches that itch for the greater Spokane area.
"We were taking 20 IDs a night from kids trying to get in [to Scotty's]," says Joey LaRocque, general manager of both spots. "I have that strong belief that turning 21 gives you something to look forward to, but then, I'm like, shit, well, I had a fake ID when I was 18 years old, and I was DJing at nightclubs when I was 17 years old."
So LaRocque and his team cleared out the building next door to Scotty's to make way for a cool, intimate space that's open to minors until 11 pm. The Lucky Puppy, named after a boat with a surprisingly relevant name owned by Gonzaga alum (and Scotty's co-founder) Scott Wilburn, opened in late September of last year.
The venue is often a birthday spot for 5- and 40-year-olds alike, in addition to serving as the site for Thursday night karaoke competitions. With its focus as a neighborhood hangout for crowds of all ages, you'll find food here, too. The Lucky Puppy's pub fare menu, borrowed from Scotty's, offers a range of bar food staples — burgers, sandwiches, fried appetizers, salads and more — as well as an indulgent fried-chicken-and-waffle cone. Guests can also watch Gonzaga basketball games (and even bump into some of the players) as they tip back appropriately themed drinks, like the Bachelor's Degree and the Layup.
Though patrons can easily flow between Scotty's and the Lucky Puppy, which also serves alcohol during open hours, LaRocque says there haven't been any issues with minors drinking or pushing the boundaries.
"They're smart, super-respectful kids," LaRocque says. "We haven't had a single fight in here, and with a bar this busy you expect that, knock on wood," he laughs, tapping the table.
Hayley Otholt, who recently turned 21, says that before she and her friends heard of the Lucky Puppy, they'd just do game nights at home. Even after reaching the legal drinking age, her group still comes by when they can to belt out some Disney hits and grab drinks.
Gonzaga freshman Meghan Moyer and her friends, who kicked off a recent night out with their rendition of a karaoke classic, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," say it's great to hang out somewhere where the emphasis isn't on alcohol.
"It's fun enough to be the only thing for the night," Moyer says. "Or a place to meet up before going out."
By the summer, LaRocque says he'll put the venue's sound system that's "equipped for a venue four times its size" through its paces by bringing in some live entertainment (besides passionate karaoke singers).
"Having a venue for underage [people] is crucial and so important to people," LaRocque says. "And not just a place where they can drink from the keg at home and then come here and sing karaoke, but be exposed to new music and comedy — that's the reason we did it." ♦
The Lucky Puppy • 1305 N. Hamilton • Open Mon-Fri, 11 am-2 am; Sat-Sun, 10 am-2 am • facebook.com/TheLuckyPuppyatScottysDoghouse • 241-0208