There is no shortage of great watering holes in Bellingham—it is a college town after all. From the divey to the swanky, there are options for everyone. Drives across the border can be tedious and exhausting, so once you’ve driven into Bellingham, grab a drink and some great appetizers, to get oriented for your evening on the town. With that in mind, here is a short guide to some of the best happy hours available in Bellingham.
Ranch Room at the Famous Horseshoe Cafe: If you are into the dive bar motif, then go no further than the Ranch Room—the bar inside the Horseshoe Cafe. “The Shoe,” as it is lovingly called by locals, has been around since 1886 (at the current location since 1958) and is the only 24-hour diner in town. Over the years, it has served many a Bellingham native, and according to local lore, authors such as Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac have traveled through. So, if you want a taste of Bellingham history and to experience the dive-y glory that is held within the bar’s walls, then stop by for rotating drink specials (extremely cheap and served by the heaviest-handed of bartenders) and deliciously greasy diner food.
113 E. Holly St.
Happy Hour: Every day 9 am to 6 pm
New York Pizza & Bar: The sports bar aesthetic of New York Pizza may turn some off, but don’t let looks deceive you: they offer perhaps the best bang for your buck during happy hour. The burgers and pizzas are more than adequate, and the drinks are as stiff as they come. Happy hour specials include $2 off micro pitchers, $5 off bottles of wine, $4 margaritas, $5 double cranberry and vodkas and whiskey cokes, $6 martinis and various food specials that range from $4 to $7.
902 N. State St., Bellingham; 8874 Bender Rd., Lynden
Happy Hour: Monday, 2 pm–close; Tuesday–Saturday, 2–6 pm and 9 pm–close; all day Sunday
Jalapeño’s Family Mexican Restaurant & Lounge: This happy hour is all about the Big Mama margarita. I mean, sure, there are jumbo-sized margaritas at every Mexican restaurant, but there is something special about the Big Mama—and that something might be the generous four (to six) shots contained therein. So, if you have some time to kill and are looking for a buzz, Jalapeños is one of your best bets in town. Besides the Big Mama ($6.50 during happy hour), there are also plenty of options for other drinks and yummy food: $4 double well drinks, small margaritas and 20-oz. draft beers, $1 tacos and $4 quesadillas, among other options.
501 W. Holly St.
2945 New Market Pl.
1007 Harris Ave
Happy Hour: Monday–Saturday, 2–5 pm and 9 to close, and all day Sunday
Redlight: Bellingham’s special little “sparkle bar” is a great place for a nightcap after a long day in the States. The bar is small and warm and offers a variety of board games; some of the nicest bartenders in town are here to serve you. As it is located just outside of the epicenter of downtown Bellingham’s nightlife scene, the bar lends itself to a quiet getaway over wine and cheese ($5 off wine bottles and $5 small cheese plates during happy hour). If you want something a little stronger, the happy hour also offers $3 well drinks and $1 off rotating tap selections. There is no better bar to tuck into during a rainy day.
1017 N. State St.
Happy Hour: Every day 4–7 pm
Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro: This is Bellingham’s most popular purveyor of local brews—and for good reason. The beers range from the light and refreshing to the heavy and hoppy. The happy hour is geared toward providing the perfect snacks to match with the many beers on tap. Food deals during happy hour include barbecue pork sliders, tacos, small plates of mac-and-cheese (many think it’s maybe the best mac-and-cheese in town) for $2 each, as well as $3.50 for five chicken wings, and meatballs for $1.50 each. This is the perfect option for anyone seeking a great beer and some munchies before catching a live theatre production or heading back home.
1107 Railroad Ave.
Happy Hour: Sunday–Thursday, 4–6 pm
Temple Bar: If you happen to be in the mood for a swankier happy hour, the Temple Bar is a good bet. It’s also a great option if you find yourself with a date in tow. The bar is cozy, warm and candle-lit and serves up craft cocktails and all kinds of food options. The bar has a wide variety of wine options (a bottle and a small cheese plate is $18 during happy hour) and $4.50 well drinks. During happy hour, you can also get $1 off the house cocktails, which are made with the finest ingredients you could ever hope to find in a boozy concoction (the Bloody Mary is one of the best in town).
306 W. Champion St.
Happy Hour: Monday–Saturday, 3–7 pm; all day Sunday
By Rodney Lotter