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Television-free Bar in Bellingham?

Does anyone know any place one can go for a drink without facing a wall or two of big screen televisions? You know, some place where you can actually have an intimate, undistracted conversation?

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  1. We don't get out for drinks often (we're so boring) but these come to mind:

    Fireside Martini: http://paseo.websitewelcome.com/~fire...
    Honey Moon: http://www.honeymoonmead.net/home.html
    Blue Horse Gallery: http://www.bluehorsegallery.com/index...
    The Fountain Bistro (kind of more like a restaurant, but has cocktails, too): http://www.thefountainbistro.com/inde...

    I'm sure there are more. Guess it depends on what atmosphere you're after.

    8 Replies
    1. re: laurachow

      As far as atmosphere, I want my old Tivoli back. Yes I know there was a TV behind the bar, but it only played black and white silent films. Second to that, Nimbus had a decent bar with a grand view. Not that it has to be upscale. Beer, wine, and cocktails would be ideal, for different people's preferences. Fireside is OK if you sit far from the TV at the bar. Last I was in there that TV still managed to capture my companion's undivided attention. It's hypnotic for some people, especially if it's sports! On the other hand, we went to the Fireside once specifically for the TV, to watch election results. Pretty pleasant for that purpose.
      I haven't been in the Fountain, will have to give that a try. Restaurant with a bar is fine!
      I will look into your other suggestions also. Thanks Laura!

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        Oh, geez. I didn't even realize that Fireside had a TV. I don't think The Fountain has a bar, but I usually go just for food so maybe I've just overlooked it. Good table service and outdoor seating in the summer, and they were hosting live music sometimes, too. Hopefully, any place that has live music, doesn't have a TV competing with the musicians. What about the Green Frog? Haven't been in there but I'd hope it is TV-free.

        1. re: laurachow

          Thanks again Laura! Mr. NS is eager to learn of the Green Frog. I don't drink beer, so it looks more like his kind of place. We'll check out the Fountain too.

      2. re: laurachow

        Good Lord.

        Today, I decided to try Blue Horse Gallery Cafe for happy hour. I checked the website and it didn't really clearly state what the hours were for the cafe, but the gallery is open all day. We arrived at 3:00 and it was completely empty of customers. There was a girl on her computer that greeted us......."Hi".

        That's it. Nothing more.

        I said, are you open?

        " Ummmmm, let me check"....

        She was looking at her computer, then she said "we are a little behind, late in opening, but go ahead and sit down". We looked for tables by the windows, but every one of them had someones bag, briefcase, paperwork, or jacket on them. Every. one. of . them.

        We started to leave, when another woman and her little dog came out of the office and said "we are open", "did you want food"? We told her it was okay, we will come back another time.

        Really weird. Really unprofessional. We really felt like we were intruding. Is this unusual?

        1. re: sedimental

          I should add, that we walked across the street and went to Bayou and sat in the bar. We had already emptied our change in the meter.

          Ordered some sweet potato fries and BBQ chicken wings. The wings sucked, but the fries were good.

          1. re: sedimental

            Thanks for the heads-up re: Blue Horse. Are they new ? Teething issues ? Either way, you prolly saved us some frustration and eye-rolling if we ever wandered in for patronage, like a couple of naive gullible (& polite) Vancouverite tourists would do ;-)

            On a slightly different (and lighthearted) note, here's a fun (local) blog thread, on resto casualness:


            Mijune is our local darling :-)

            1. re: LotusRapper

              That is EXACTLY like this place!!!!! Too Funny!

              No, Blue Horse is not new at all! I have no idea what the deal was today. Someone told me they went to a wine party there and the food was good, so I wanted to try it. I think I might go to one of their wine tastings or weekend events...ahem...to be sure they are *really* open.

              1. re: sedimental

                And when we were down at Pine State Biscuits (Portland) during Spring break, we actually ordered our food from "tattoo dude" himself :-D

      3. What about the Bellwether Hotel bar? I go there for Happy Hour sometimes (and try to sit by the fireplace). I don't think there is a t.v. there- or at least, I never noticed it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          Good idea, I've never been to the Bellwether. Heard bad things about the food, but we'll check out the bar. Thanks sedimental!

          1. re: L.Nightshade

            Had lunch at the Bellwether recently. Food was OK, service was glacial. We sat on the patio (lovely) then moved into the bar, which was cozy and pleasant with a great view, but definitely did have a TV. I would go here for drinks and make sure to sit either by the fire or right by a window.

        2. We're both the sort of people who are easily distracted by moving pictures, so I feel your pain. The Bayou Oyster Bar (next door to Bayou on Bay) has the best cocktails in Bellingham, an absinthe drip, and no television. The Temple Bar is a fun place for a glass of wine or a cocktail, and while the waitress' clothing can be a little distracting (and the wallpaper is rather loud), also no TV.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Freida

            Thanks Freida! Two more spots to check out. All hope is not lost here in Bham!

            1. re: Freida

              I always forget about the Temple Bar. I just got back from there a few hours ago- after a movie at the Pickford. They have a good deal on a bottle of wine and a small cheese plate for 15 bucks. Nice. Even got a window seat :)

            2. This is an old thread, but such a worthy topic, I had to revive it! Another one to add to the list: Daphne's in Fairhaven. Fabulous cocktails, done well with good booze, and it's small and quiet. Such a nice place.

              1. Skylark's Hidden Cafe in Fairhaven has a well-stocked "bar", and no TV the last time I checked:



                1. Since the original inquiry, we have tried Cliff House, Archer Ale House, and Bayou Oyster Bar. We went in Archer Ale House after we were unable to find Daphne's (I was under the impression it was on a different street, I now know where to find it). I realize that Archer Ale House has TV, but at the time we were there, the sound was off, and we sat in a cozy booth with TV not visible to us. The place has a bit of an underground smell, but a generally nice, somewhat funky atmosphere with a big, old, wooden bar. I had a pretty fair bloody mary for $8, which seemed a tad pricey for the happy hour discount.

                  We met a small group at the Bayou Oyster bar recently. The weather must have been warm, as there was a huge fan that made it difficult to hear conversations. Great drinks here though, how many places will whip you up a corpse reviver?

                  Today we checked out the Cliff House. I have heard that the food here is not great, which was borne out in our trial of a salmon cake appetizer. I had a fine sazerac, however, which I enjoyed while gazing at their panoramic view of the water. Music was fine, no TV.

                  Thee down, more to try. Thanks for all the suggestions.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Thank you for sharing! I love seeing follow ups. And I'm glad you liked Bayou and I've been watching and waiting for them to have a turnaround for at least a year. The food is so not what it used to be and I can't stand how physically dirty the main dining area is. They are so clearly pinching pennies, and there's no shame in that, but where's the pride? I used to love their ribs...

                    1. re: Vetter

                      Completely agree with you about the main dining room. Been once, and haven't been interested in going back. Even the smell was faintly septic. I've heard abou the good days there, sorry to say I missed them. Nice drinks in the oyster bar, however!

                  2. Oh! Did you hear about the new place going in to where Prospect Street was? I live in hope!


                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Vetter

                        Oh, was there announcement made about what was going in that space?

                      2. Okay, not really a "bar", but I didn't know that Old World Deli has a happy hour Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 6. Just beer and wine (no mixed drinks), but of course the food is terrific and an easy place to just sit and chat if you feel like ditching work early :)

                        I was there on Thursday (Halloween) around 4:30 and there were lots of empty tables. We were initially just going to get a glass of wine, have a chat and go home, but.....we went ahead and split a muffuletta and a meatball sandwich-and a bottle of wine- and called it dinner! Everything was excellent.

                        Maybe next time I will really try to just do "happy hour".... try to stick with just a glass of wine and a snack...yeah...sure I will.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sedimental

                          Love Old World Deli, though I must say I shop there much more frequently than I eat or drink there. Their wine tasting evenings are lovely, with great bites to accompany each wine.

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            Good to know! I have never been to one, but now I might give it a whirl.
                            Other Than the parking issue, it was really a low key place during happy hour time. I like that.