Man’s best friend can hang out at this new bar

Rylan Schoen gets a high-five from his dog Crosby, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 at Paws For a Beer, a new dog friendly bar that Schoen and his wife Amy Schoen opened on Harris Avenue next to the train station in Fairhaven.
Rylan Schoen gets a high-five from his dog Crosby, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 at Paws For a Beer, a new dog friendly bar that Schoen and his wife Amy Schoen opened on Harris Avenue next to the train station in Fairhaven.

Bellingham is known for its beers and for being a dog-friendly town, so Rylan and Amy Schoen combined both concepts in a new business.

The Schoens recently opened Paws for a Beer at 501 Harris Ave., near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven. It’s a bar that is very dog-friendly, allowing dogs off-leash inside as well as in a fenced outdoor area.

As you might expect, there are a few rules in order to operate this kind of business. The bar operates similar to many beer gardens at special events: Paws for a Beer can’t have beer taps, so they serve beer, wine, kombucha and ciders by the can or bottle. Food cannot be prepared in Paws, but customers can order food from nearby food trucks and bring it inside.

Paperwork and a membership fee are needed before the dogs are allowed in. A complete list of rules can be found on the bar’s Facebook page, but basically the pet owner signs a liability release and pays a membership fee ($5 a day, $20 a month). The dogs must be supervised by the owner and under voice control, neutered, and shots must be up to date. Owners also must clean up after their dogs.

People don’t need to bring a dog to get into the tavern and there is no cover charge.

Rylan Schoen said he came up with the idea and figured he wasn’t the first. He did some research and found other businesses, but came up with his own rules after working with the landlord, Port of Bellingham. He also worked with a variety of agencies, including those involved in public health and liquor, to develop rules that fit in the regulations.

So far, it’s worked as planned, with dogs behaving and the owners enjoying themselves.

“People enjoy watching the dogs and just hanging out,” he said.

The bar is near the Fairhaven dog park and in an area that is popular for dog walkers. Inside, it looks more like a home, with couches, dog toys and a television to create a comfortable atmosphere for both canines and humans, Schoen said. While he hopes to draw customers from all over Bellingham, he expects many who visit the nearby dog park to stop by afterward to rest.

The bar is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is having a Howl-o-ween fest that includes a dog costume contest through Monday, Oct. 31. For information, call 360-704-0013.


The owners of the Bellingham French restaurant Eat at 1200 Cornwall Ave. are busy putting in a French bakery a few doors down.

The new bakery is called Opera and it should be open around mid-November, said Dominique Faury, one of the owners of the bakery and the nearby restaurant.

She plans to serve breakfast and lunch; items include French pastries, hot sandwiches and salads. The owners want it to be a place where people can hang out, but to-go options also will be available.

For details, visit


The owners of the Yorky’s Market of Fairhaven announced they will close the store on or before Dec. 31. Barney, David and Matt Yorkston posted a sign at the store thanking customers for the more than 40 years of support at 1501 12th St. ... The Ferndale Dickey’s Barbecue Pit at 2054 Main St. shut down earlier this month. According to a post in Discover Ferndale, the restaurant had a letter posted in the window from the Department of Revenue noting the business owed about $15,000 in taxes. ... Organizers behind The Rogue Raven Board Game Pub announced on their Facebook page they have signed a lease for 206 W. Magnolia St., near the Mount Baker Theatre. An opening is planned for next spring. ... The Bellingham Public Market and TERRA will host a chocolate festival on Saturday, Nov. 5. The public is invited to try out chocolate samples, and wine tasting will also take place. A $5 donation is requested to participate, with the proceeds going toward a women’s cocoa association in the Dominican Republic. Tastings start at noon; the film “The Dark Side of Chocolate” will be shown by Film is Truth at 5 p.m. ... A new glassware store called Stoneycreek plans to open next month. The store is at 4833 Guide Meridian, north of Walmart. According to a news release, products include hand-painted wine glasses to glass bowls to hand pipes, focusing on work from local artists. A grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 5 Details can be found at or its Facebook page. ... Remodeling work for Masquerade Wine Company and the Illuminati Brewing Company is getting closer to completion. Bill Kimmerly said they hope to be open sometime in mid-November, with the brewery coming online later this winter or early spring. Both companies are going into a warehouse at 3950 Hammer Drive, in the Irongate area. Updates can be found on Illuminati’s Facebook page. ... The Grace Cafe at 1065 E. Sunset Drive has closed. A note on the door said a decision was made to not renew the lease. The cafe had been in that spot for 16 years.