By Don Nelson
The Freestone Inn’s fireplace lobby and dining room have a new look, new menus, new drinks and an even greater emphasis on drawing local residents out to the far end of the valley.
The dining room has been renamed Sandy Butte Bistro, and features a cozy new bar where the library used to be. Called the Moonshine Bar, its decorations include a real whisky still that operated at the Barron Mine. Chris Miller, who manages the Freestone Inn with his wife, JoAnna “JoJo” Howard, said they purchased the still — once owned by “Slug” Davis, a longtime Methow Valley miner and assayer — from a local resident.
The rustic bar serves several “moonshine cocktails” made with Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, a variety of other drinks and craft cocktails, and also has an espresso bar. Several rare or unique whiskies and scotches are also available, Miller said.
The Moonshine Bar has four stools and what is likely to be the most coveted seating: a small booth with a picture-window view of the lake in front of the lodge.
Several more high tables and stools are arrayed in front of the floor-to-ceiling, river rock fireplace. In the dining room, booths have been added to the window wall facing the lake. The contractor for the renovations was Rick Northcott, and the designer was Brice Butler, Miller said.
Miller said the lodge will be featuring live music on Wednesday nights and plans to stage outdoor concerts this summer. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are “local nights,” with happy hour prices until closing, Miller said.
A new bistro menu includes some lower price points to help attract valley residents, Miller said. “We want people to visit more often than just special occasions,” he said.
Changes including installation of a pool table and a new menu for Elsie’s snack bar are also in the works for Jack’s Hut, the recreation gear, clothing and rental shop west of the lodge.