Friday, February 18, 2011

Bellingham's Notorious Waterfront Tavern

If you are anything like me, you enjoy ending your day with a $1.50 glass of Bud Light, a crazy pull-tab sesh, and a round or two of Big Buck Hunter Pro. All of this can be yours by patronizing Bellingham's glorious Waterfront Tavern at 521 West Holly Street. Located just outside of downtown, on a dark road near the water, beside the city's crisis homeless shelter, where many of your fears and nightmares reside, the Waterfront Tavern has been a popular spot for decades because of the cheap drinks and seedy hospitality. Having served such prominent social figures as Ted Bundy and the Hillside Strangler, the Waterfront possesses a disturbing je ne sais quoi that attracts locals and visitors alike.

I actually do enjoy beginning or ending the night at the Waterfront because it is a no-nonsense watering hole that serves its drinks just-chilled and its grub greasy. Do not, however, spend an extended period of time here or you will likely end up depressed, or maybe dead. Seriously though...I do try to drink at the Waterfront every time I visit Bellingham. As a Vancouverite, I appreciate any establishment that allows - nay, encourages - its customers to drink without ordering food. There are bylaws in British Columbia that tie alcohol sales to food orders, thus restricting the amount of alcohol businesses can serve. Canada lacks taverns, and I find the expectations of food orders very annoying in this country. 

If you are wanting to order food at the Waterfront, or if someone (literally) holds a gun to your head and makes you select an item off the menu to consume, just avoid all seafood. While this is likely a no-brainer for most, one really shouldn't taunt the Salmonella gods by taking a flier on the fried oysters. You are pretty safe with the burgers and fries, but why would you ever subject yourself to this mediocrity when considering the plethora of solid restaurants in the city? It is worth noting that the Waterfront is close to Chuckanut Brewery, which serves decent pub food and is also the city's best microbrewery. I love the 'Welcome Bikers' banner in the photo. Classic. 


  1. Man, if you want to be frustrated by alcohol+food laws, head to Utah! You MUST (yes, legally MUST) order food to be served alcohol. There are, however, some "drinking clubs" in which you pay $5 or so to become a member and then you can drink without ordering food because it's a private club, not a bar or restaurant.

    Utah... Great hiking, strange liquor laws (don't get me started on the 3.2%ABW beer law!). BC doesn't have it so bad compared to Utah...

  2. Someone was just telling me about the 3.2% law. THAT is messed up.