I believe I visited C.J. Shenanigans after having flown into northern Idaho and eastern Washington to hunt for apartments in Moscow. I was celebrating slightly, having found an awesome spot close to downtown, so went to this slightly upscale brewpub.
Here are my impressions several years later. It’s overpriced. I remember not getting a whole lot of food but spending a lot of money. That being said, the quality was pretty high, though none of the beers remain in my memory. The best part about the place is probably the venue. It’s quite classy inside, and they have a patio out back that sits right along the Spokane River. It is very relaxing and picturesque.
But if you want to enjoy it, you’ll have to go to a different restaurant. RAM apparently closed this location late in 2012, as they were going to be kicked out of their lease at the start of the new year. I don’t know if they’ve managed to find a new spot in town, but whoever moves into the space will have a nice spot to manage.
This upscale brewery is located right on the Spokane River just behind the Convention Center in downtown Spokane. The building is huge, the interior is dim and immaculately decorated, and a patio allows outdoor dining while watching the river rush by. Big points on the fancy location, but can it pull off a menu without being pretentious?
Everything here costs at least $20. This was the first sign that I wasn’t really going to like this place that much. Personally, I believe even upscale brewpubs should have some burgers or something for $10-$15. I was, however, prepared to spend almost $30 on a plate of fresh seafood. But instead, my server probably took one look at my casual attire and young countenance and suggested I order the fish and chips, the cheapest dish on the menu at a whopping $15. The fried cod was good, but I’ve had better at both of the other breweries in Spokane. The garlic fries were a bit greasy and soft, but delicious. But the best thing on my (small) plate was a small lettuce/coleslaw creation that was lemony and absolutely fantastic.
Bottom line, if you’re going to come here, be prepared to drop $30 per entrée, and just enjoy the splurge. Don’t try to save money. My favorite part of the meal was dessert. They bring out a tray of seven or eight miniature desserts in double shot glasses at $2 a pop. They’re well worth the money, and I love that I can get something sweet without ordering a gigantic slice of cake. The one I settled on was a peanut butter mousse layered with chocolate crumbs. Delicious!
The brewery is owned by RAM, so they brew all of the same beers, which I can also get at any one of their cheaper, burger-and-fries-type joints across the country. So although the beer is very good (the Pale 77 was mild, not bitter, and subtly fruity, and the Maibock was sweet but lacked depth) you can get it just about anywhere across the country.
The service was actually a bit slow, but not bad. The server was very knowledgeable about the beer. But when I ask for a recommendation for a fresh fish dish, do yourself a favor and don’t suggest the cheapest thing on the menu by $10. This is your opportunity to steer me towards the $28 Alaskan Halibut.