Redlight is one of my favorite places in Downtown Bellingham to meet friends or hang out with my favorite date. With its wood floors, brick walls and plenty of light from the big front windows, the bar is small enough to be cozy, with flexible tables and seating to accommodate groups from two to six or so. It’s also the kind of place where you’ll feel safe and welcome if your beloved is a book and you require just a table for one.
There are a half dozen or so seats at the copper-topped bar, where you can watch your friendly bartender in action, and get a close-up look at the various chalkboards that detail specialty drinks, beer and wine lists, and house-infused liquors. Opposite the bar is some additional seating, plus a Drink Book, from which you may choose your favorite gin, tequila, rum or whiskey concoction from among dozens of offerings.
And beyond that is a sort-of private room that was once storage for slabs of meat that hung from the ceiling—yes, it’s a former butcher shop, and the hooks are still visible. Check out the super-thick door that leads to this little gem of a room, and you’ll immediately get the picture. I prefer the Redlight in its present form, because the cocktails are top notch and the vibe is warm, yet cool. I know you know what I mean.
And on to the drinks! Our first round came from the sparkling new autumn drinks menu, and it was difficult to choose. Some are served on ice, some up, some with a shot and a can, and some are hot and ready to warm you from the inside out. It was a fairly warmish autumn evening, so on the rocks sounded good.
On the left is the Dead Moon: tequila, apple cider, Triple Sec, lime. $6.00 during happy hour, $8.00 otherwise. On the right, the White Squall: star anise/nugmeg/coriander-infused rum, Bundaberg ginger beer, lime. $6.00 during happy hour, $8.00 otherwise.
During happy hour (4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every day), you get a generous $2.00 off on almost everything. Meaning you can get a beautifully crafted cocktail for $5.00 on up. Wines by the glass are well-chosen and also $5.00 and up during happy hour. You’ll find several in each category: reds, whites, roses and bubbles—yes, two bubbles choices by the glass!
On to Round 2! I wanted to stick to tequila, so I had the bartender mix me up a Mico De Noche with jalepeno tequila, lime, Triple Sec and hibiscus simple syrup. Have you seen the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds?” That sort of happened. On the right, we have the White Lodge: vanilla/orange-infused vodka, black spruce hydrosol, egg whites, cream and Coca Cola. (A hydrosol is a distilled plant extract, like a floral or herbal water.)
On tap selections included Wander Brewing IPA and Porter, plus Chuckanut Brewery’s Pilsner. There are also many canned and bottled selections. Redlight also has a few always-on specials:
- Well liquor + Bundaberg ginger beer $5.00
- Well liquor + freshly made sour mix $7.00
- Blonde redhead: strawberry/black peppercorn infused vodka + lemonade $7.00
- Black tea limoncello shot $7.00
During happy hour, snacks like bugles (plain or mole), goldfish (paprika) and mini pretzels are free with your drink purchase.
More than anything, I love that Redlight’s happy hour goes till 7:00, instead of 6:00 or (god forbid) 5:00. Redlight knows that not everyone’s workday ends at five, or even six, and that it’s hard to get happy when happy hour is already over. So thank you, Redlight for accommodating our needs.
At Redlight, happy hour can get busy (I mean, what’s not to like?) and there is often just a single bartender, so it’s wise to not expect a drink in seconds. You wouldn’t want that anyway, right? Good things take time. Oh, and make sure you order at the bar.
Cozy, welcoming, chill and warm all at once. That’s Redlight. Hope to see you there soon!
Redlight Bar, 1017 N. State St., Bellingham, Washington 98225
4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. 7 days a week
Redlight on Facebook