The Basic 411
The Anacortes Brewery and Rockfish Grill
320 Commercial Ave.
Anacortes, WA 98221
A brew pub with an extensive food menu that includes woodfired pizza, salads, sandwiches and a number of entrees. Seven-barrel brewery on premises. Live music.
You will find 12 different beers on tap, including a complete selection of their own beers; at least one guest beer from another Washington brewery; a selection of seasonal beers (usually 3-4 seasonal beers on tap); and Chimay. They serve liquor and wine as well.
The pub is casual, which is exactly what you’d expect in a town like Anacortes where refinery workers and boat builders mingle with retired empty-nesters and the occasional artist. The crowd varies from young, inked-up hipsters to older blue collar types. Dad can get a tasty beer while the kids get their pizza fix. The menu, the beer, and the atmosphere cater to a wide variety of tastes.
What Else You Should Know
The Anacortes Rockfish is a great live music venue. Their Web site has a regularly-updated events calendar. They host a lot of good local and regional acts. Occasionally, you can catch a really good, touring blues act. If you like music, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on who might be showing up on their calendar.
The Whole Story
Pretty much everyone in Washington knows that Anacortes is the gateway to the San Juan Islands and that it’s home to a pair of large oil refineries. Some people even know that Anacortes was home to the late, great Burl Ives. But unless you live on Fidalgo Island, or are a well-school Washington beer geek, you likely do not know that Anacortes has a brewery serving up fine craft ales in a friendly and surprisingly hip brew pub.
In the heart of old downtown Anacortes you will find the Anacortes Brewery and Rockfish Grill (a.k.a. The Anacortes Rockfish). A true brew pub, the beer is made on premises. To keep up with demand, the two brewers -Paul Wasik and Allen Rhoades- tax the production limits of the seven-barrel brewing system. In other words, they make beer almost constantly. They eagerly anticipate a new and larger system.
On the weekends and sometimes on the week nights, the Anacortes Rockfish is one of Skagit County’s hottest spots for live music. The crowd is lively and fun. You find rock, blues, and just about anything else as long as it’s good. Rick Starr, one of the proprietors, books the music himself. Rick plays in a blues band and is a successful musician in his own right. He’s got friends in the biz. Suffice it to say that on occasion they host some real serious blues acts. The last few months have seen the likes of Little Bill and the Blue Notes and Nick Vigarino, to name just two.
We admit it. We’re biased. We like this place. Good beer, good food, good fun, good people, good music, and it’s just a bit over an hour up the road from Seattle. It’s an easy and fun out-of-town adventure for us city slickers who just want to get away for a night of boot stompin’ fun. And it’s on the way to the San Juan Islands. What’s not to like?
If you stop in for lunch or dinner, you will have a good meal and some very good beer. If you stop in to party on a night when the place it hopping, you’ll have a rockin’ good time. Check out the calendar, pick a show, go to Anacortes and spend the night. Have fun. Dance. Drink. Tell ’em the blog sent you.
There are a number of motels, and even one very nice hotel (The Majestic Inn), within walking distance. The Anacortes Rockfish usually recommends the Cap Sante Inn, located just a couple of blocks away within easy stumbling distance. It is affordable and “clean enough.” That’s where the band (and any entourages they bring with them) typically stays. Tell the Cap Sante you’re “with the band” and you might get a discount.