Cocktail Tales - Boozy Bellinghistory

Bellingham Cocktail Week 2019 has been so much fun!  Thanks to everyone who came out to our tours and all the Cocktail Week events and to Sara Galactica and the Happy Chaps for all their hard work in making it all happen!  And all the local bartenders who conjured up such fabulous drinks - we have loved them all so far! Don’t miss the rest of the fun this weekend, snow or no! Taxis, people.


We wanted to share a fun little piece of boozy Belling-history from our collection – a little booklet from 1953: “Hints for the Home Bar” from the Pastime restaurant and lounge. 

During the dry years the Pastime had been a pool hall and café run by various former “saloon men” who promptly served beer when were able to, expanding and opening in the building at 1217 Cornwall Avenue in 1935.

After nationwide prohibition ended in 1933, the local dads were concerned about preventing the re-establishment of saloons and their accompanying shenanigans. Many weird rules were quickly established. Only beer was allowed to be served to the public within Bellingham City limits, no booze. There were a number of restrictions and rules regarding what could and couldn’t go on in those “Beer Parlors.”  Music was not allowed in any form other than radio, and seating was required – the bar stool was born. Women, however, had to sit at tables and were not allowed to order at the bar - this “blue law” was not repealed until 1969 (!!!)

People had grown used to drinking and making their own cocktails at home during prohibition when it had been done out of necessity. In 1934 the first state run liquor store opened in the Clover building on Holly Street, so folks could purchase booze for home cocktail consumption.  

One of the first ads for a “real Beer Parlor” to be conducted on Commercial Street in 1933

One of the first ads for a “real Beer Parlor” to be conducted on Commercial Street in 1933

After 16 years of “beer parlors” Bellingham voters finally approved an initiative permitting the sale of liquor by the drink, and in 1949 and Bellingham got its first official “cocktail lounges.”

The Pastime was home to the second cocktail lounge to open in Bellingham, following the Leopold Hotel’s “Pioneer Room”.  The third was the “Ranch Room” in the Horseshoe Café, and the fourth was in the Pastime’s neighbor the “Alpine Restaurant” - which burned in 1996, creating a nice parking lot for Café Akroteri, the current occupants of the building that formerly housed the Pastime.

1949 June First Cocktail Bars.JPG

While lounges were fun, people continued to enjoy making cocktails at home during the post-war years of suburban living.  In keeping with the times, the Pastime published this handy little pocket-sized recipe book/address book that even has a recipe for boozy cough syrup.  Who couldn’t use that?  


Pastime Hints for the Home Bar 1953 (downloadable pdf)

And for those of you who can’t get enough free downloadable historical cocktail books, be sure to check out The Collectif 1806 archive