First in a series
Ask ten locals who has the best happy hour in Bellingham and Whatcom County, and you’re going to get at least a dozen answers. Some people (myself included) can’t choose just one, and everybody likes something different. But we can all agree that happy hour requires great drinks at good prices. And if there’s a little something to munch on as well, it’s the perfect set up to help you recover from the workday or warm up for a great evening out on the town.
Since I can’t possibly choose just one “best happy hour in Bellingham,” I’ll be writing about all of my favorite spots. And of course, I’ll let you weigh in on which one(s) you like the best. Feel free to suggest your go-to happy hour bars and restaurants, and I’ll include them on my tour!
The Temple Bar
This is my go-to happy hour place. And it’s my get-happy place. For one thing, you can’t beat their happy hour deal: from 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. (and all day on Sunday), you get a bottle of good wine (red, white, rosé or bubbly) plus a little plate of mixed cheeses, landjaeger (a dry-cured sausage), or savory vegan munchables—for just $18. Substitute a 750 ml. bottle of Unibroue beer and the price is only $15. Also, house cocktails are a dollar off, and Stella Artois can be yours for only two dollars and fifty cents!
If that’s not enough happy hour for you, do it again from 10:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, when you can get a $5.00 glass of wine, a $5.00 bartender’s choice cocktail and 20% off all late-night menu food!
I’m so fond of The Temple Bar. I love its black-and-white checkerboard floor, warm green (the perfect green) walls and red velvet drapes. I love that there are chalkboards in the bathroom, along with a door onto the alley. I love the semi-wobbly chairs and drop-leaf wooden tables. If I were to write a love letter to a drinking establishment, it would be to The Temple Bar. And it would go like this:
Dear Temple Bar,
Where would I be without you? I cannot-will not—imagine life in Bellingham without your awesomeness. You’re cozy, yet sophisticated atmosphere feels like a warm embrace; your comfy pillows and repurposed milk bottles-turned-water-pitchers charm my socks off. Each time I cross your threshold, I let out a little sigh of contentment, mixed with anticipation. What do you have in store for me tonight?
Will you tempt me with something exotic, like the Deep Sea? With Ransom Old Tom gin, Dolin dry vermouth, orange bitters, Abyss absinthe, Castelvetrano olives and a twist, it’s sure to please me. Or would an old stand-by better suit my mood? I can always rely on your Salty Dog, with vodka, grapefruit juice, and lavender salt, to make me pucker up.
When I’m away from you, Temple Bar, I long for your sublime cocktails, made with love from freshly squeezed juices, herb-infused liquors, and house-made bitters. I crave your sweet and savory desserts served on mismatched antique china.
I die for your pretty little plates of fresh, local food, presented in creative new ways; like the local radishes served with foraged nettle salsa verde on a baguette with goat butter. Kill me now. Or the gratin du jour; will it be potato with smoked gouda, leeks or broccoli today? I could be so happy with a panini, or some roasted squash hummus, landjaeger and cheese. Oh! The sheer brilliance of your delectable flavor profiles makes every last one of my taste buds stand up and say “Yum!”
You’re so thoughtful to make many desserts gluten-free, and to substitute gluten-free crackers for bread. That’s just how you are, and how I adore you for it!
Temple Bar, when I discovered you were as excited as I am about drinking a lovely, dry rosé on a fine summer day, I fell in love with you. And over our years together, you’ve revealed to me all of your temptations—making it oh so hard to stay away! So I won’t. In fact, I can positively say you’ll never be rid of me. Just don’t be jealous when I share you with all of my favorite people.
Whatever you do, Temple Bar, don’t ever change—for that should be the end of me.
Much love, Teresa
The Temple Bar
306 W. Champion St., Bellingham, WA
Open Monday–Saturday 11:00 a.m.–close
Sunday 3:00 p.m.–close
The Temple Bar on Facebook