No-Li Brewhouse

No-Li BrewhouseNo-Li Brewhouse

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1003 E Trent Ave
Spokane, Washington, 98202
United States

(509) 242-2739 | map

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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 34
Photo of rarigney
4.49/5  rDev +23.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Really enjoyed a visit for lunch. A great selection of very good pub fare. Excellent beers. Their location is right on the Spokane River, so I need to come back in warmer weather when the outdoor seating is available.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I visited the No-Li brewhouse a couple weeks ago on my way through Spokane for a couple of beers and some lunch. It's a good place, atmosphere-wise; kind of industrial-looking with brew equipment visible, but clean and relatively new looking. There's also an outside seating area, which would probably be quite nice when there's not a heat wave going on.

I sat at the bar and service was decent. There were 8 beers on tap when I visited, and I enjoyed the hoppy brown ale they had on offer. The beer is pretty good overall, although they blew the last keg of sour cherry ale right before I was able to order some -- not their fault, but I was disappointed.

The food was good. I had the reuben and clam chowder, and it met all my lunch expectations.

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Photo of BierMeJohn
3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

A stone's throw from Gonzaga University, in what seems like it could have been an old "open air" market building. The beer vibe was good, but almost felt a little forced. I had a flight of the Usual Suspects with the choice of Monkey, the beers were decent, but as the name suggests, "usual." I have a bottle of their imperial stout, which I'm excited to try. Despite the place being half empty, there were a lot of staff who seemed oddly rather busy. Did not try the food, but glancing at the menu, the options looked intriguing. As I was leaving i walked out back and saw they had some really nice outdoor seating right along the river.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Did a flight of beers late on a Friday night. Beers were good but not great except for one, a barrel aged stout which was excellent. Taproom was spacious and had a good vibe, servers were attentive. Didn't try any food. Will probably return if in the area with not that many choices in the area.

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Photo of socon67
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Brewpub was busy on the Wednesday night I went. I went with the No Boundaries flight and tried most of their more extreme beers. Server as able to advise on the pours which was appreciated.

It is more of a Happy Hour crowd than craft customer, but still a nice atmosphere. Food was basic pub grub but enjoyable. The No-Li burger was a winner.

The Spin Cycle and the coffee porter were my favorites. I'd go back here as its a good place to hang at see the Spokane River. I can imagine the Gonzaga students enjoy this place.

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Photo of Redneckwine
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere - Good vibes, pretty standard pub atmosphere. Well kept, but nothing really cool going on to speak of. The patio by the river is a nice touch though.

Quality - No-Li beers are generally just "okay" across the board, nothing outstanding at all. The high point is their Born and Raised IPA, which is quite solid. Low point is the Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout, which essentially tastes like burned, unsalty soy sauce.

Service - Is always great. Fast, friendly, haven't had any problems.

Selection - They don't exactly have a big lineup, and whenever I'm there it seems like they only have 1 brewpub only beer they're testing out. Pretty boring overall but not bad.

Food - Always pretty good. Nothing mind blowing, just decent pub fare. They make a good burger.

Value - Pretty spendy for what it is; this is where No-Li falters with me. It's just average brew and food for above average money. They only sell 4-packs and bombers which I feel are a bit pricey for the quality.

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Photo of fuhkyou
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.5

I like the atmosphere and layout here. Spacious, spread out, and the outside patio next to the water is nice. I just can't get into their beers. I've had an occasional bomber of theirs over many years and finally visited the place.
I had the sample selection of my choice of 6, including the Imperials. The beers are good but just seem designed to achieve an acceptable goal as opposed to pleasing the palate of a discriminate beer lover.

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Photo of hopsoflove
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Love it here!! I come here at least once a week. It has a happy and upbeat atmosphere and a huge selection of taps. The beer is great and I love trying all the different types. A definite must see for beer lovers. The prices are also reasonable and the staff is great.

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Photo of ripcreek
3.45/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I have to start by saying that woemad is, for the most part, spot on in his review with but a few exceptions.
They have a very wide selection and should be able to please anyone. I can't say much for the IPA, as a hophead I found it to be average as well as most of their other regulars. What I did find is that their specialty and seasonals are the ones that appeared to stand out. They were serving their Amber aged in whiskey barrels from Dry Fly Distillery which was outstanding. I also found the Winter Ale and the Coffee Stout to be very tasty.

I did find the service slow but it was just about empty when we walked in and it was like the flood gates opened behing us. I don't think they were expecting the rush. The bartender/waitress was very apologetic and she honestly was there when we needed her, she just wasn't constantly asking how we were doing. She had a good understanding of the beers which, to me, is important.

As for the food, I had the Garlic burger. It was good but nothing special.

It's worth a visit if from out of town or to give a go at their limited editions.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We stopped in for lunch while travelling through on vacation. The brewpub is in a little shopping plaza along the river. It was a beautiful day so we sat along the river on their patio. The staff was super-friendly and accomodating. We felt very welcome there even with our children. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming. The service was superb. The beers were good, but there wasn't anything on the sampler that blew me away. To be fair we only had a sampler so my research wasn't super in depth. Decent selection however. The food was good. I would definitely recommend this place and give it the thumbs up for "family friendly."

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Photo of woemad
2.23/5  rDev -38.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

<My original review, done in 2004, bears no relation to my opinion of this place today, so I deleted it.>

This is Spokane's most established, non-corporate brewery, and, as such, probably rates a visit from anyone passing through the area. But be warned...

The beer is pretty average, with a couple of near-standouts. The IPA is good, but undistinguishable from many other PNW IPAs. The Crystal Bitter is a decent session beer. The only beer I find unambiguously outstanding is the Winter Ale, which, as you can probably guess, is strictly seasonably available. The stout and "dunkel (it's not remotely like a standard German dunkel)" are rather insipid, enjoyed by people who like massively-sweet beers. There's the same seasonals trotted out every year, and the closest they get to any one-offs is every year they do an anniversary beer that is always a booze-bomb IPA.

Service is pretty random, frequently bad. For every good visit with decent servce there's been a bad one with comically inept service. I've seen 100% of the dining room staff sit down at a booth and eat lunch and totally ignore the customers who might presumably want to spend their money in the establishment. Their growler fills are the most inept I've ever seen, with beer poured into a pitcher and then haltingly poured into your growler, getting the maximum exposure to oxygen possible and guaranteeing the rapid spoiling of you beer. While there have been some servers/bartenders that know their beer, others are shockingly clueless for an establishment marketing itself as a brewpub, some even describing their own IPA as "skunky", then going on to say that it's one of their more popular beers. The last straw for me was when my credit card was run twice, and the owner clearly didn't care when I dared to call up about it.

Food is available, but it's no better than anywhere else, and is a bit overpriced for what it is.

So yeah, I'm pretty hostile to this place, but when I talk about it to anyone else who drinks craft beer in this town, only the credit card incident elicits any real shock, and all the owner had to do was express any real remorse or maybe offer some way to make it right. I prefer to drink local, but besides the winter ale, I'm not really sacrificing anything by boycotting this place and their beers. There's a lot of good beer on-tap or in bottles around here, thank God.

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Photo of leedorham
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

A - You're in the brewery with giant conicals in view, so that's cool. Very open in design and near the river.

Q - Northern Lights makes quality brews although some leave me wanting more. Solar winds on tap was very good though.

S - Normal pub/bar/grill type service. Expect to have someone tending bar and waiting tables at the same time unless it's very busy.

F - The food is above average for a bar but average for a restaurant. They started serving alligator tail, which I had not had. It's like rubbery pork.

Overall - nice place to go every once in a while. Beer from only one brewery is always kind of a drag to me.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

One way to work up a thirst is to have to walk from one brewpub to the next. At least I got to transit the Spokane River along the way here.

On the approach, a huge neon with an arrow pointed the way to the end of a strip mall. The brewpub was down a long passageway that finally split into a "Y" with a Thai restaurant to the right and Northern Lights BC to the left.

The whole place was a loose octagonal shape with the laminated blonde wood bar against the back wall with a mirrored and carved wood back bar. Booths ringed the remainder of the circumfer- ence with standard restaurant tables and chairs in the center of the space. Off to the extreme right were the (partially obscured) brewhouse and five FVs, all behind glass. The lavatories were across the hall, past the entrance for the Thai restaurant.

Beer: Their motto was "Experience the Spectrum", but I could only have as many as six samples of the available ten, so I passed on Dunkel; Summer Wheat (Hefe); Amber; and Stout. I drank Crystal; Blueberry Creme; IPA; Winter Ale; Creme Ale; and Pale Ale. It certainly was a pretty sampler, encompassing most of the colors of the spectrum, but in terms of taste, some were really lacking. Oh well. I had a full pint of the IPA, which was pretty good, but not sustaining.

I was off and running for the next place.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

One of the great things any brewpub can offer is outdoors waterfront dining. For me, even a modestly accommodating beer garden trumps a primped and polished bar. I know there are seasonal limitations that make beer gardens somewhat expensive to maintain. But they sure are worth it.

Northern Lights has several standout beers and a perfectly soothing atmosphere in which to enjoy them beside the Spokane River. The garden is ringed by black locust and willow trees, with umbrella-tables, garden herb boxes, and Roman-style urns full of petunias. The river is lazy and clear with openings in the trees affording views of the Hamilton St. Bridge and the orange neon cross of the Mission. After an easy pint of cream ale, I discretely kicked my shoes off and reveled in the lush grass. I was mighty glad I came.

Inside, the bar is contemporary and spacious. The building once housed the Bayou Brewing Company “The Pride of The South” prior to Prohibition. It also appears to have once been a warehouse with market stalls. The historic restoration is successful and ongoing. Northern Lights shares space with a Thai restaurant and a distillery. There’s a gaming area with a pool table, pinball, and a seated area used by fantasy footballers. There’s also a monstrous projection screen TV in the main restaurant area.

Beer quality spans from mid-range to very good. With eight regular beers and one or two seasonals on tap, it’s not difficult to make friends with a fine drinking ale. Most tend to be strongly hopped, creative variations on traditional recipes. A quaffable summer wheat beer, a sizzlingly bitter ESB, and a blueberry fruited ale stand out as worthy choices, as does the IPA. And while I usually read beer menu descriptions as though they were written by abstract expressionists consulting a ouija board, Northern Lights’ is notable for being especially targeted and precise. Chances are you’ll get a beer that actually resembles what the menu said it would be. A rarity.

Beers are served cold at confusing prices. Half are available in bombers to go, the rest in growlers. No guest taps are featured. Food is notable for its attention to detail. It easily surpasses the usual pub fare with a full menu of steaks, pastas, hearty, artistic sandwiches and more. Service can be spotty, perhaps due to the expansive floor plan.

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Photo of RedHaze
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I stopped in on the recomendation of a local.

My friends and I decided to be seated outside, which was nice since it was in the seventies. The brewpub is right next to the river so there was a nice breeze, and there was some contemperary music playing.

I have to say that the srvice was not all that great. The waiter did not check very often to see if we needed anything, and was not vey knowledgeable about the beers that were available. I couldn't understand being a bit slow if it was busy, but we were there pretty early in the evening, and only five ofr six tables throughout the rest of the resturant. I thought the overall value was good, and the food was definitely better than your average bar fair.

I had the choclate dunkel, which was decent, but not something I would get on a return visit, and the IPA which I thought was above average.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.45/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5

I dropped in to the Northern Lights Brewery/Pub late one afternoon. The place was pleasant and not crowded, with some contemporary mellow music playing (blues I think).

The quality of the beer I had was quite good, and the whole place is well furnished. Overall a quality establishment, for sure.

The service was OK, but slow at times. I sat near the bar and got waited on quickly, but I saw others waiting longer than me. They brought the first beer quickly, but for refills and things like paying the tab you have to stay on them.

Selection included 8 beers on tap plus seasonals. They also had a full bar, with cocktails, mixed drinks etc.

They had a good menu for a brew pub and reasonably priced. I didn’t have any food, but from the menu it looked like you could get lunch for around 10 bucks. They were laying out table service around 5 PM, so I gather the place is very much a restaurant in the early evening.

I thought the place was a little pricey for the beer. $3.50 to $4.50 per pint seems a bit steep, even though the beer is of good quality.

I'll probably go back sooner or later and try the food.

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Photo of Redrover
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I have been back 3 or 4 more times and the service warrants a slight bump as they seem to have improved. Beer quality also appears to be on the upward trend. My last visit was in June 2013.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the really nice riverside beer garden. It is a gem.


Visited again on 8-22-06. The service was much improved, but I will wait until my next visit before raising the score. I had a great BBQ hamburger this time. The BBQ sauce is made with their own beer.


The Northern Lights is located in a large old building complex hard by the river and the Gonzaga campus. The complex also includes several other restaurants and businesses.

The actual bar seats about 20 with tables for another 80 or so. It seems that they seat large groups out in the common area of the building. They have several TVs, so it is a decent place to catch the game. It is also smoke free and they offer growlers to go.

I was there on a Tuesday at happy hour/dinner and I would say that they had 30 people in the bar area and another 40 or so at the tables in the common area. Most appeared to be locals and several came in for a beer and a growler to go. I had several nice conversations with the customers. I was impressed with how friendly everyone was.

They had 10 beers on tap and all were decent. The service was a bit slow but the bartender did a great job of describing the various beers.

The menu while having the pub staples, also offered some nice PNW specialties. I like the fish & chips I ordered.

I’m sure I will return during my next visit to Spokane. Worth a stop!

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No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane, WA
3.64 out of 5 based on 1,399 ratings.
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