This is the third in a series of posts about the Bellingham beer scene. Previously I told you about Elizabeth Station and Kulshan Brewing. Today, meet the new and improved Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern, which just opened about six weeks ago.
The Green Frog originally opened its doors in 2005 and began serving exceedingly well selected craft beers. To accompany the beer, owners James Hardesty and Nate Carlson offered a rotating lineup of great music. The space was tiny, the beer and the music were outstanding. After five years they considered the concept proven and decided to find a bigger, better location. The Green Frog abandoned its diminutive digs and headed a couple blocks down the street. It took some time to get the new place up and running but The Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern is now reborn.
James and Nate are big fans of 1970s Texas folk music—a music genre unfamiliar to most people here in the Northwest. Back in 1975 a great Texas songwriter named Guy Clark wrote a song called Desperados Waiting for a Train. A line in that song references a beer joint called the Green Frog Cafe. It seemed a perfect name for the new bar. Only problem, the Washington State Liquor Control Board objected to the use of the word cafe to describe a bar. James and Nate eventually settled on the name Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern.
What You’ll Find
Located on North State Street in downtown Bellingham, just around the corner from Boundary Bay Brewing, the new Green Frog Cafe is splendid. Everything is bigger but the place still feels cozy. When you walk through the door on State Street a large stage is on your right. The beer is against the back wall.
Two of my favorite things have not changed since the move: the bar stools are re-purposed tractor seats and the walls are adorned with acoustic guitars. In case you are unaware, tractor seats are carefully engineered to comfortably accommodate a farmer’s derriere for hours on end. If you ask James if you can play one of the guitars hanging on the wall, he will likely answer with, “I don’t know. Can you?” Just don’t grab a guitar when a real musician is performing on stage. That’s a hangin’ offense ‘round these parts.
One of the most endearing qualities of the Green Frog is that they source much of the beer themselves. For James a road trip to Seattle to pick up great beer is a regular part of his job. (“B double-E double-R U N,” as James likes to call it.) The new Green Frog has 30 taps. You will not be disappointed with the tap selection. They also pour a nice selection of whiskey and serve sandwiches. They are particularly proud of their selection of best-of-breed grilled cheese sandwiches.
Out back you’ll find a large deck. When we visited the deck was not yet being used. When the weather permits, this is sure to be a great place to enjoy a beer in the sunshine. The deck overlooks the north end of Bellingham’s popular South Bay Trail—an urban trail that runs from downtown Bellingham through Boulevard Park to the Fairhaven district.
The Green Frog really shines when there’s music on stage. I have yet to enjoy a show at the new location but I’m familiar with the kind of acts that The Green Frog books and am looking forward to spending many hours with my butt planted in one of those tractor seats.
The Green Frog Café Acoustic Tavern
1015 N. State Street
Bellingham, WA 98225