Some readers may recall attending Bellingham Cocktail Week (BCW) during its inaugural run back in 2015. My muddled memory of the launch party goes something like this: I’m sipping my Manhattan (or was it an Old Fashioned?) at Temple Bar while sampling toothpick hors-d’oeuvres served up by cocktail waitresses. There’s a subdued excitement in the air. I’m transported back to 1960 where, for a moment, I’m Don Draper. This single event is just a taste of what Bellingham’s cocktail scene has to offer, and it leaves me thirsty for more.
Thankfully, Bellingham Cocktail Week is back! Running February 1 – 10, 2019, the citywide event celebrates all things cocktail-related around Bellingham. With over 30 bars participating, Bellingham Cocktail Week 2019 promises to be nothing short of magical.
Originally organized by Rebecca Ogden of Redlight, and Chelsea Farmer formerly of Temple Bar, the weeklong celebration went on hiatus for a couple years before Sara Holodnick took the wheel in 2018.
As co-founder of Good Time Girls — a local business that hosts “Sin and Gin” tours of downtown Bellingham and Historic Fairhaven — Sara is no stranger to the Bellingham cocktail scene. She partnered with Happy Chap Creative Co. to give BCW a facelift, and the results are as fresh and fun as a French 75.
“Our city is known for its healthy beer scene,” says Sara. “But at Bellingham Cocktail Week, we want to showcase Bellingham’s vibrant cocktail scene and highlight other delicious ways to imbibe responsibly.”
Why Bellingham Cocktail Week?
The objective of BCW is “to uplift the prestige of bartenders, increase awareness of locally-produced ingredients, and educate ever-curious and increasingly attentive cocktail drinkers.” In other words, it’s a great reason for Bellingham bars to band together and do what they do best.
It’s especially great for people like me, who enjoy a cocktail now and then but aren’t really a part of “the scene”. Ever wanted to check out Bellingham’s numerous cocktail bars, but not sure where to start? BCW has you covered: there’s an event every day of the week. Let’s get into it!
Bellingham Cocktail Week Events
Events will take place daily at various venues throughout Bellingham Cocktail Week. Details are still being worked out as I write this, so be sure to check the BCW website for the full schedule. Here is a highlights reel of featured events to get you started:
Friday, February 1
Swim Club Wet Bar: “Get Naked” Bellingham Cocktail Week Kick-off
Swim Club is one of my favorite new bars in Bellingham. For a taste of the French Riviera in Fairhaven, it can’t be beat. As this year’s BCW sponsor, Swim Club is kicking the party off right with delicious cocktails made from the newly released Naked Grouse blended scotch. Starts at 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 2
Cocktail Tales: Boozy History Tour with the Good Time Girls – Downtown
Learn how locals took their “adult beverages” through the years with the evolution of liquor laws and of local watering holes from saloons to lounges. The tour will culminate with vintage cocktails at the Ranch Room, Bellingham’s quintessential mid-century cocktail lounge with its own fascinating history as one of the oldest dives in town! Tickets are available for $20 at the Good Time Girls’ website; tour starts at 7 p.m. An additional tour will be held in Fairhaven on Wednesday, February 6.
Sunday, February 3
Rook & Rogue Board Game Pub: Craft Cocktails and Cribbage Brunch
It’s Sunday Funday, ya’ll. Enjoy a cribbage tournament and brunch featuring cribbage-themed cocktails and food specials starting at 11 a.m. Learn more & reserve your spot at rookandrogue.com.
Monday, February 4
Honey Moon: Murderino Monday True Crime Trivia
Mead and murder! Downtown Bellingham’s favorite alley bar and meadery is hosting a trivia night inspired by the My Favorite Murder podcast. Round up your team and head on down — the event kicks off at 7 p.m. and will raise funds for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County.
Tuesday, February 5
The Firefly Lounge: WEIRD Science: Classic Cocktails and Some Wacky Twists
Featuring a menu of timeless, recognizable classics… and then they’re gonna make it weird. Volunteers from Lydia Place will be on hand to graciously accept your donations of clothing and supplies — and get $1 off your cocktail for every item you donate. That’s right: The more you donate, the deeper your discount! This event begins at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 6
Temple Bar: Singani 63 Pop-Up with Sarah Soderbergh
Join the Temple Bar team for an exploration of Singani 63, “a clear, mixable spirit distilled from the aromatic white Muscat of Alexandria grape at heights nearing 6,000 feet. Created in the year 1530, it’s known as the national drink of Bolivia.” Singani’s Washington representative, Sarah Soderbergh, will be available to answer all your Singani-related inquiries and Temple Bar will feature this amazing and versatile spirit in art-themed cocktails, including a boozy slushy inspired by the film, the Last Unicorn.
Thursday, February 7
Herb’s Cider: Cocktail Challenge
What happens when you combine booze with hard cider? Sample limited-edition specials mixed up by ten participating challengers to find out! Participating bartenders will serve their specials featuring Herb’s Single Stroke semi-dry cider to the public, and judges will assess the drinks. This challenge is the qualifying round for Bellingham Cocktail Week’s bartender competition (finale at Uisce’s Wrap Party on February 10).
Friday, February 8
Best Buds Gaming Lounge: Harry Potter Party
It’s no secret that I love Best Buds for their great mix of video games and beer. And now, for something a little different. Per Best Buds Gaming Lounge: “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to join us for a night of magic, featuring our specialty Butterbear! Robes and wands encouraged but not required.” Starts at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 9
Honey Moon: Dungeons & Dragons and Mead Cocktails
Roll for initiative! Play a D&D-style game for discounts and prizes; mead & liquor cocktail concoctions will be on special. This event starts at 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 10
Uisce Irish Pub: Bellingham Cocktail Week Wrap Party
And that’s a wrap! Celebrate a job well done with the bartender competition finale, Fernet Branca and Branca Menta shot specials, swag giveaways and prizes. It all goes down at Uisce at 9 p.m.