Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro

Not Rated.
Boundary Bay Brewery & BistroBoundary Bay Brewery & Bistro
BEER AVG
3.7/5
Based on:
53 Beers
733 Ratings
Place Score: 91
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1107 Railroad Ave.
Bellingham, Washington, 98227
United States
phone: (360) 647-5593

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of long4hops
2.73/5  rDev -33.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

By far one of the most over rated brewerys i have ever been to. The restaurant itself is nicely laid out with a big open bar to sit and enjoy some beer. They also have a wonderfull beer garden great to enjoy a few beers and usually listen to some great local music.

Service is usually a little slow. Sometimes coming off as pretentious, but thats just B-Ham for ya.

The food has always been pretty decent, with a menu based on local farms. Unfortunately for my experience's the beer has been just ok, without really sticking out from any other brewery. I feel the beers are rushed through the final stages of brewing, creating an unfinished balance at the end of every drink.

Seems they have a devoted local following, which is good to see people appreciate and support local business.

Suprisingly there is much better beer down the street at chuckanut without said following.

Photo of SecondStage1983
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Oh Boundary Bay Brewery, you are a staple in the Bellingham community. When I was first introduced to craft beer you were my love. Your scotch ale was delicious, but soon things started changing.

Your service was sub-par. I would sit waiting to be served for 5-10 minutes without even being so much as talked to. Your servers were curt and not very friendly.

We started growing apart as I found better and better craft beers and bars/eateries that had better beer on tap. I began to notice that pretty much all your beers tasted the same, hoppy and sweet. My massive headaches after just two of your beers were attributed not long enough fermentation times.

You're getting better though and i hope our relationship can be mended in the coming years.

Photo of soccerbrew
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of Erik-P
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of Bfarr
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Boundary Bay has a lot to offer. Family dining, tap room with a couple of TV's, a beer garden, and an almost constant stream of events throughout the year. There is a good amount of seating available when the outside is open but limited at all other times.

Boundary Bay is all about the beer. They are very prompt at getting your beers out to you. However, the servers (and some bartenders) are not always very knowledgeable about what they have and what to recommend. Being a fan on facebook I have often been more knowledgeable about the different beer they have. That being said, they are always trying new things and have different taps rotating in conjunction with their regulars and the new cask engines they put in make choosing even more difficult. Definitely not a bad problem at all!

The food is good though in my opinion not as spectacular as they like to promote. They have a wide variety of offerings for the family and even brew a house root beer for the kids, although my root beer connoisseur son states it's just above average. They are also quite slow at the best of times. Last Friday it took over 20 minutes to get a couple appetizers out to our table, which I suppose does give you time for more beer which is what they may want in the first place.

They are a bit pricey for what you get relative to other locations. In fact, I can get a growler of seasonal brews (which they refuse to sell at Boundary Bay) down at the Porterhouse Pub in Mount Vernon for the same price they sell their regular offerings. I think this is due to a lack of competition in the area and the fact that they have been firmly entrenched in the community for a long time.

Overall, Boundary Bay is certainly a worthwhile stop if you're ever around the city of Bellingham.

Photo of EspressoGuy
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 2.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

First the good: love the room, the beer garden, the whole ambiance. It's great! The service was just as great. It was busy and our server was doing a fantastic job of being personable and making sure everyone was happy. Amazing! The menu has a good selection that is sure to please a wide variety of people. Speaking of which, it's a good mix of patrons from sporty-bikesters to hipsters to everyday working people. I wish patrons were allowed to choose the 6 beers in the sampler but it covers nearly all their regular offerings ... and when I asked about the two keg beers the great server happily brought me mini tasters in addition to the 6 on my tray.
Now for the bad: I really didn't like any of their beers. They were totally disjointed, tasting like they were just thrown together without any sense of balance. The listed alcohol levels were reasonable but the lack of a balanced accentuated the alcohol which made the beers taste even worse. I didn't finish any of the eight I tried. I thought I had hit the beers on an off day but a local beside me was raving about their big and bold taste.
So I'm torn about recommending BBB to friends. How about: it's a fantastic beer destination but just don't drink the beers.
Maybe it's just me so I'll give the beers another chance another time ...

Photo of LazyL
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Old building with high ceilings and some tacky art work. Old wooden mismatched tables and chairs on a nice wood floor. You dont go here for the food or the atmosphere, but for the beer. Their IPA is quite nice and the Imperial Oatmeal Stout is very good. The seasonals look to be outstanding. Had a Belgian Pale Ale served in a nice brandy snifter. Cascadian Dark Ale coming out soon. Would have probably given higher marks in the summer when the outdoor patio opens and I had more than 2 of their pints.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Just visited this place today. Atmosphere is relaxed and informal. I had a lovely, smoked salmon pizza here for under 10 dollars. 6 Regular and 3 seasonals on tap when I visited. Kind of a hippie-rustic sort of appeal if you like that kind of stuff. There was a fairly large indoor restaurant as well as an outdoor patio area and a Jazz band playing.

Beers, I found were maybe on the happy side of average. My favorite was the scotch ale, which I found quite good, as well as the blond. Lots of detail on the menu itself for interested parties, including OG and hop and malt varieties used.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.73/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

A: Stopped in here on a Saturday, busy World Cup day, farmers market and WWU graduation. Busy but I saw some beer shirts. Laid back.

Q: Beer quality at BB is always good to very good

S: Slow at times but not bad, it was a busy day afterall.

S: 7 regular handles and 3 seasonals but nothing exciting at all

F: Fish tacos and burger were bland, bad, we did NOT finsh them. Not bad on price for the food but I have had better pub food for sure

Overall a good stop and glad I went but probably would not go out my way to go back.

Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of Anaxagoris
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of stokeliosis
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of gboyd
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The place was hoppin! A weekend night during the holidays. .

We experienced a small wait at the door, where 2 out of the 3 employees I encountered were very pleasant (the third wasn't having any of it!)

They put us in a table too close to a set of stairs, which turns out is where the staff took their breaks. A lot of unnecessary bumping and moving of my chair during my meal...hhharumphhh!!! The place was also VERY NOISY.

We had decent service, nothing to write home about but also nothing to bitch about. Keep the beer full, but neglected the H2O glass all meal.

The food was pretty good, and very reasonably priced. Portions were good and the kitchen accommodated the wife's menu rewrites without exacting revenge by burning something (you would be surprised!) Everyone in our group got something different. All served tasty and hot!

The beer...
My group tried everything. They had a decent selection of house beers but nothing that I would go out of my way to buy and bring back to MI with me.

I hear the music scene can be pretty fun, and it from the info on their website, it looks like a great mix of music, but again, I can only imagine how loud it must get with the addition of musician volume control ego syndrome!

If I lived in Bellingham, this would probably be my stomping grounds. This is a good place in a surprisingly bad beer town.

Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Decent joint in downtown Bellingham. Nice decor, although the size of the building can make it seem a little spares at times. The white walls don't help. The place was decked out for Christmas, which was a nice touch. That it is non-smoking/all ages is a definite plus.

Service lost some points due to speed. They were friendly enough, but almost painfully slow. It wasn't busy when we got there, although it had picked up quite a bit at the end. Only one server was on, so I can't really blame her.

Good selection of food, almost a something for everyone place. The food itself was quite good. I've had better, but not often.

Wish i could have tried more of their beers.

Photo of davidchollar
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

years ago i had a dinner party here, got the sampler set, loved it. i remember it well, because i had already been going to WWU (about 10 blocks away) for a year, but just discovered this place. i was surprised and impressed that a place like this exists, where you can get good food and great beer in a cool, relaxed atmosphere.

last week i took the family on a little trip up to victoria. from there we took the ferry over to vancouver, stopped in B'ham for a short visit on the way back to seattle. we didn't have much time, so i went to boundary bay just to check it out and buy some bottles to take home. the place had obviously been remodeled. there is a big outdoor dining area i don't remember, and the basic layout is different, expanded i think.

i spent some time looking at the t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale, eventually made my way to the bar. i told the bartender i wanted to buy some bottles, and she said all they had was the ESB and the scotch style ale. while i was waiting for her to get some bottles for me, i asked for a sample of the 2003 bounder. WOW. that was one of the most flavorful beers i tasted on my whole 2-week trip, wish i could have had more. i have yet to enter my reviews for the beers, from notes. the ESB was pretty good, i really liked the scotch style ale though it doesn't compare to the awesome fat bastard.

the reason i docked some points for service is that after i walked in, i wandered around for nearly 5 minutes checking out the place and nobody said a word. they looked a little busy with a little late lunch rush, but everybody saw me looking around like it was my first time there and they ignored me. even when i went to the bar, it took a few minutes for the bartender to even notice me, but there were only about 3 guys at the bar. this was a little annoying at first, but then she was nice, helpful and quick. wish i could've tried all they had to offer, but i had to drive. next time i'll stay in town and walk as it's conveniently located downtown.

Photo of vbre23
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Always visit Boundary Bay when we go to Bellingham. Great atmosphere but gave it an OK only because it was always too crowded when I went there. They need to expand. Otherwise I could rate it higher. The servers busted their tails to get the beer out so I say great service! My favorite beer is the Imperial IPA. Be ready for it! IBU's are up there! Great place!

Photo of berley31
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Dropped in for lunch and a beer on the way to Seattle from Vancouver. Atmosphere was comfortable enough, but not exactly what I'd call 'cozy' or 'warm'. Sat in the bar area where there's basically a bunch of picnic tables. Ordered their Blonde (which was pretty good) and the Yellow Curry as a meal, which was also good. They had a bunch of their other beers on tap that I would have been interested in trying if we'd only had the time. Waitress was friendly and fast. A nice enough spot that I'd easily visit again if in the area.

Photo of RedDiamond
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It's tempting to think of Bellingham as the quintessential northwest city. It's comfortably mid-sized with a mix of historic charm, modern adaptations and a lively personality. That might also describe the Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro. It enjoys a great broken-in feeling courtesy of the building's origins as a downtown waterfront industry. The bar has worn, wooden floors, suspended sails and a dingy, and windows into the brewery. Plus, there's a beer garden, a patio, and isolated views of the bay.

The brewpub is in the heart of downtown Bellingham immediately across from the Farmer's Market. It's extremely popular among Bellinghammers. The diverse food menu is reasonably priced, tasty and falls mainly into that imprecise category called "comfort food." Try splitting a mac & cheese and a salad with a friend or the grilled portobellos if available.

The bar has just six seats. But the bar room and dining hall probably hold 100 or more people and will be packed during peak service hours. Expect a twenty-minute wait for a table on a Friday night. Service is responsive and pleasant. On one occasion my server forgot to bring me a beer menu for perhaps 15 minutes but compensated for this with a pint on the house. Apparently it's their policy.

Ten house beers include about seven regulars, three seasonals, one nitro tap and no guests. Cask ales are tapped on Thursdays. Boundary Bay enjoys a solid reputation for fine ales though my experience has been mixed. Most beers are American and British Isle derived with rare excursions into continental territory. 22-oz. bottles are available to go at the service counter.

Photo of freed
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5

For a college kid, this was a great place to take the parents. A nice mix of house brews, pleasantly decorated building, and really good food.

Boundary Bay sits just west the main drag, and is within fairly easy walking distance of much of the town. Its in a old shop building with a vacant lot on one side, which lends itself well for projecting movies onto the wall of the opposite building. Its hard to beat watching a cult classic on the deck with beers during the summer.

The beers themselves are solid NW style beers. Hoppy, Malty, and good. I sometimes find it difficult to distinquish between them, but they are quite good. The Doppelboch is excellent.

A wide variety of foods that really are quite cosmopolitain, and very good. I've never had a bad meal here. Service is good, but nothing that distinquishes itself from other places. There's a nice green feeling about the place, almost like an old Park lodge.

Photo of KStark
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Sound_Explorer
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of eballard
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Boundary Bay is a must for any one interested in Washington breweries. It’s a small place but if you know good beer you’ll want to go to the effort to try this beer. It’s hidden in downtown Bellingham but it’s not too hard to find. The brewery it self is a fairly large building for such a small beer but it gives them a great place for a good restaurant. The decor is nautical with lofty ceilings and open spaces. The food is great. They have a wide selection of your standard brew house favorites. The people are friendly and the service is nice but don’t be in a hurry because the whole city runs at it’s own pace and this brewery is no exception. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and family friendly so if you’re a student at Western Washington University this is a great place to take your parents when they are in town. Brewery tours are available by appointment so call ahead and book one. In all if you want to visit a brewery when you in northern Washington you won’t be disappointed if you head here.

Photo of jellikit
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Great Beer! Fish Tacos are a great choice to pair with their excellent IPA. The Barleywineish is a great choice. Also they were pouring a single-hop Amarillo that was out of this world. I have been enjoying this brewery for years and will continue to frequent Bb when I make it to a Bellingham. Great location.

Photo of cdViking
4.1/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Pretty much my stomping grounds throughout my university days at Western Washington U. Visited again this last weekend, and enjoyed myself tremendously.

Best part about the place is the atmosphere. Great, unpretentious crowd with few/no drunk idiots, frequent free live music in the main bar area, and awesome reggae nights and BBQs during the summer. The most fun place to drink beer in Bellingham.

The quality of the beer and the food is a mixed bag that leans towards the side of being very good. The food is standard bistro fare, but the soup and sandwiches are tremendous, and most entrees have generous portion sizes. As far as beer goes, there are usually 5-6 staples and a couple of seasonals on tap, with the quality varying from the very good (IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Barleywine) to the alright (Scotch, Irish Stout) to the wholly unimpressive (Bellingham Blonde). Still, tasty brews are abound.

The service is fine, for the most part depending on who you get as a server. Unpretentious attitude is nice, but sometimes leads to an unprofessional attitude. Servers are honest about what's good and bad, and are willing to make accomodations.

The place on the whole is a very good value, with exceptionally low food prices. The pints are a fair bit pricey (~$4.50) considering you can go down the street to Bob's or the Horsehoe and get the same beer for $3.75, but that's to be expected.

On the whole, great place to come back to again and again.

Photo of dbalsock
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

So I've gone a couple times with different experiences each time. I've tried 7-8 of their beers and they were all at least decent. The scotch ale is better than the highland scotch ale, and their oatmeal imperial stout smells a little bit like wet dog, but other than those comments, the only thing I can say about their beer is: very good! The service has been good every time I've gone, with the servers noticing every time I was ready for a new beer. The atmosphere has been pleasant with nice seating and good lighting. Two times I went I ordered a pizza, and each time it had a very different crust. The first was big and fluffy and just how i like it, similar to pizza port in some ways. The second time was flat and not like pizza dough, but like flat bread. Both tasted good, but I definitely prefer the fluffy ones.

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Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham, WA
91 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.