Sailing into a marina for the first time, you might fantasize about finding a charming pub, a rustic watering hole where you’ll while away the afternoon over a few frosty beers.
The Harbour Public House on Bainbridge Island is that place. Overlooking Eagle Harbor, the pub is located in a former house built in 1881 for a family of early Bainbridge homesteaders. Its wooden vaulted ceiling and walls, wood booths, mantel and floors give the place a cozy feel, and the ubiquitous pull-tabs, neon beer signs and big-screen TVs are blessedly absent.
It’d be worth hanging around such pretty spot just for drinks, but the Harbour Pub’s menu offers a well-rounded selection with plenty of healthy options. There are classics such as fish and chips and burgers, with organic produce and sustainably raised meat featuring prominently and an impressive array of unusual salads—for example, greens topped with chicken breast, spiced candied walnuts and blackberries in a blackberry vinaigrette (entrees from $8.95 to $18.95).
The menu also offers some twists on familiar dishes. The “sweet papas latinas” ($8.95), a less sinful take on nachos, consists of yam fries topped with black beans, pepperjack cheese and sour cream that were enthusiastically devoured by our party. My husband declared his burger ($14.95 with fries) juicy and delicious, and the Asian salmon bowl ($14.95) I ordered was also satisfying, featuring a generously sized portion of charbroiled wild salmon over brown rice dressed up with a slightly sweet ginger vinaigrette, with fresh baby spinach and slaw rounding out the dish.
With so many healthy options on the menu, it’s not surprising that the Harbour Pub lays claim to being the first non-smoking tavern in the Seattle area when it opened in 1991.
The pub is fully licensed but takes its beers as seriously as its food. Draft beer is kept at two different cellar temperatures according to type—warmer for heavier brews, cooler for lighter ones—and a range of Northwest varieties are available.
Though the pub doesn’t take reservations, our server allowed us to move tables together as our party’s stragglers arrived and tracked our orders on separate checks, a convenience I always appreciate.
If we visited in summer, we would have planted ourselves on the large deck overlooking the water. But on the snowy December night we went, the pub’s dim lighting and warm glow made for the perfect spot to look out at the drifting flakes and boats festooned with Christmas lights (ours among them).
We’ll be back soon, probably on a lazy summer day. I can already taste that beer.
The Harbour Public House
Address: 231 Parfitt Way SW, Bainbridge Island
Hours: Every day from 11 a.m. to midnight