Bellingham is a craft beer town, no doubt. We also happen to love well-crafted food, and hamburgers are no exception. From classic car-hop service to gourmet burgers with freshly baked buns, homemade sauces, and locally sourced meats, we’ve got quite a selection to choose from. Need help deciding where to go? We’ve created a list of the best places in town to enjoy a burger and a beer — together. And this being Bellingham, they all offer veggie options too! Here — in no particular order — are our best bets for burgers and beer in Bellingham.
Horseshoe at Gruff
Pairing one of Bellingham’s newest breweries with the oldest continuously operating cafe & cocktail lounge in Washington is an obvious choice. Why? Because the Horseshoe Cafe delivers to Gruff Brewing for free. You can sit down at Gruff’s bar, grab a menu, order one of seven burgers on the Horseshoe menu, and wait for it to arrive while you sip your beer. Or go straight to the source for burgers and beer at the Horseshoe. According to co-owner Kate Groen, locally sourced meat is what makes their hamburgers so tasty. “We’re completely biased but we love our burgers,” Kate says. “The meat from CARNE makes all the difference.”
StrEAT Food at Kulshan
Among Bellingham’s most favored food trucks, StrEAT Food can be found camped out at one of Kulshan Brewing’s locations four nights a week. Find StrEAT Food at James Street Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday; on Tuesday the trailer parks outside K2 on Kentucky Street. Burger options are limited, making it easy to choose. Go with the StrEAT Burger for 1/3 pound seasoned Certified Angus Beef and fixin’s on a grilled bun. Or try the Veggie for chickpea, potato, oat, spinach, mushroom, jalapeños, and more. You really can’t go wrong. Inside, Kulshan has you covered with an excellent tap list.
Many consider Fiamma Burger to be the best in Bellingham. Both Zagat and Thrillist sing its praises, inviting burger-lovers from across the state to sample Fiamma’s offerings. So what’s all the fuss about? Fiamma’s creations are made from “all natural, hormone-free, Northwest beef ground fresh in-house.” Their brioche buns are baked daily at the bakery down the street. Bam! Fresh and local — just the way we like it. When it comes to beer, your choices include cans, bottles, and draft. Stop by during happy hour (from 3pm-6pm and 8pm-close every day) for great drink prices.
The Filling Station
If you prefer your burgers and brews with a dose of nostalgia, Fairhaven’s Filling Station is the place to be. Think retro gas station combined with a 50’s diner throwback theme. Opened by the owners of Avenue Bread in late 2015, The Filling Station has swiftly become Fairhaven’s most thriving burger joint. It’s all about the buns (fresh from Avenue, a local Bellingham bakery). And the sauces (try them all, seriously). And the beer selection. Did I mention they do growler fills? Of course, they do. It’s The Filling Station!
Retro To Go
Boomers has long been a favorite for no-frills burgers in the ‘ham. During their annual “Boomuary” sale in January and February — when every burger on the menu is just $2.99 — the classic drive-in is packed day and night with hungry customers. And while they don’t offer beer at Boomers, you can get your burger to go. My suggestion? Call in your order, pick it up, and head over to Wander, Structures, or Gruff (all within a mile of Boomers) to pair that burger with a locally-brewed beer.
For a comparable experience in Fairhaven, stop by newly opened Zane Burger. Housed in the former Wins Drive-In building, Zane has a fresh new look — and menu. Their burger selection ranges from single hamburgers (less than $3) to a variety of premium burgers in the $8 – $9 range. Try the Famous Chili Cheeseburger (smothered with homemade chili). Stone’s Throw Brewing is just a three-minute walk down the street, and you’re more than welcome to bring your burger along for a pint.
Bob’s Burgers and Brew
With five locations in Whatcom County, Bob’s Burgers and Brew started here and has expanded throughout the state. This local chain is all about selection. With over 20 beef and chicken burgers to choose from, there’s something for everyone. And if their name is any indication, brews are high on Bob’s list of priorities — second only to the burgers themselves.
Finally, Bellingham’s three breweries with full-service restaurants all offer inventive burgers on their menus to pair will their full selection of beers brewed on site. Highlights at Boundary Bay include the Anderson Ranch Lamb Burger, the Full-Circle Squaw Creek (Everson) Beef Burger and the Veggie Burger on a Ralf’s Pretzel Bun. At Chuckanut’s North Nut try the Ahi Tuna Burger. Aslan has created a Bison Burger, Black Bean Burger and a Portobello Burger to tempt you.