On the corner of Grand Ave. and Flora St. in Downtown Bellingham is a little jewel of a wine bar. Artifacts Wine Bar combines a stellar location at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building, with a wide selection of wines to taste by the glass, bottles to go (at reasonable prices!), a cozy atmosphere, delicious nibbles, and outdoor seating options that make the best of both sunny afternoons and chillier evenings.
I’ve enjoyed all the available options, but on my most recent visit, cool temps and sprinkles kept my Research Support Professional (RSP) and me inside. Trust me, though—sipping wine outside on a sunny day at one of Artifacts’ sidewalk tables is not to be missed!
Of course, being inside is more than adequate, considering you’re closer to the wine taps! Artifacts is unique in offering wine tastes and glass pours from taps, as well as bottles of reasonably-priced wines. Featured wine tastings change weekly, while the tap wines typically rotate among popular red varietals. This time, we could choose between Pinot Noir, Grenache, a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah. Whether you opt for a glass to enjoy right away, or for filling a “Winer” (like a growler, only for wine) to take away, the tap offerings are consistently excellent. Insider tip: co-owner James McClure tells me to look for an expanded selection of tap wines soon, both onsite at Artifacts and at other locations around town (like pubs, taprooms, bars and restaurants). Exciting news for wine drinkers who hang out with beer drinkers.
We started with a glass of bubbles (Torre Oria Cava, $12) and paired it with an array of tasty menu items, including (upper right in the photo below): brie with onion jam, goat cheese toast points, olives and cheddar de provence, and a porchetta and provolone panini. Then we moved on to a stone ground cornmeal waffle sampler, topped with berries and basil, caprese, bacon and cheddar, and goat cheese and greens. My RSP and I were both completely happy with each yummy bite.
Additional nibbles on the menu include assorted cheeses, nuts, paninis, salads and soups. Everything is available for lunch or dinner. On Sundays, look for brunch specials and bottomless mimosas—an idea whose time has come (finally!).
Artifacts offers a wine club, as well as a supper club, with special dinner events scheduled each month. The most recent were a “Pig and Pinot” supper, which featured a whole roasted pig and several Pinots to go with, and a paella night with Spanish wines. The courtyard is also the setting for Friday night Concerts in the Courtyard, as well as movies like Sideways and Somm (coming up in August).
With all of this activity, you might forget that Artifacts is also a retail wine shop. You’ll find some of your Washington favorites, like L’Ecole and Leonetti Cellar, as well as Old World varietals and labels you’ve yet to discover. The collection is meticulously curated and priced right!
Great wine and food, a warm and friendly vibe, and a full schedule of fun events will keep you coming back to Artifacts again and again.
Artifacts Wine Bar, 202 Grand Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225
Tue-Thu: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Happy Hour: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Tues – Sat