Retail Tipsheet: The Local pub to expand, add beer lab

Rob Whitney, manager at The Local Public House, draws tickets for raffle prizes at the Bellingham Beer Lab launch party on Wendesday, July 1, in Bellingham, Washington.
Rob Whitney, manager at The Local Public House, draws tickets for raffle prizes at the Bellingham Beer Lab launch party on Wendesday, July 1, in Bellingham, Washington. The Bellingham Herald

A downtown Bellingham pub is getting ready to expand, but it is also working on a way to grow the local brewing industry.

The Local Public House, a restaurant at 1427 Railroad Ave., is getting ready to double in size by taking over a nearby space currently home to Bellingham Finders Keepers. Finders Keepers will be moving next door later this month, while The Local will start work in mid-August and be ready in the expanded spot sometime this fall, said restaurant manager Rob Whitney.

The expanded space will have more seating, but the key is the establishment of a one-barrel beer lab system. They plan on creating a nonprofit brewery, giving local home brewers an incubator format to try out recipes on a slightly larger scale to see if they have a viable product. The beer lab portion of the project is expected to get rolling in early 2016.

“It’s a way for them to test the waters, if you will. That way they can decide if it can be taken to the next level,” Whitney said.

Co-owner and head brewer Benjamin Buccarelli said he wanted to revive the beer lab idea in Bellingham that originally started in 2012 because this area has a solid group of home brewers that should have an opportunity to test ideas with the beer-drinking community. The details are being worked out, but the plan is to eventually have the proceeds of the beer lab sales go toward local charities.

The owners of The Local have taken a similar route to success. Buccarelli, Brandon Petersen and Tom Raden started The Local in the fall of 2013 partly as a way to promote their Menace Brewing beer, which is made in Ferndale. Along with Menace beer the eatery has a variety of local brews and a variety of lunch and dinner food.

The Local has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for some final touches to the beer lab and possibly get it open sooner. For further details, visit the company’s Facebook page.


Discount Tire recently completed its move to 750 Lakeway Drive, in the former Hollywood Video space at the Lakeway Fred Meyer retail center. The tire store had been nearby at the Fred Meyer gas station.

The move allows Fred Meyer to expand its gas station. Plans include demolishing the former Discount Tire building to put in six additional fueling islands. The company also plans to make some changes to the entrance area from Lakeway to improve traffic flow. Once construction begins, work is expected to take about 10 weeks to complete, according to the original announcement from Fred Meyer.

Hours of operation for the new Discount Tire store are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. In a news release, the company said the store is also in the process of hiring more employees. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Friday, July 31 and Saturday, Aug. 1.


If you have an urge to become a pinball wizard, there’s another option in Bellingham.

The Racket recently opened at 1220 N. State St., next to The Shakedown. The bar and pinball lounge is geared to the over-21 crowd and offers a full food menu, including cheesesteaks and falafel pitas, according to a news release. It has 14 pinball machines from the Bellingham Pinball Collective, which will rotate different vintage games.

The Racket is under the ownership of Marty Watson, Hollie Huthman and Spencer Willows, who wanted to create a space that would be equally comfortable for a wide variety of Bellingham residents. It’s also a place to hang out as live music is playing at The Shakedown.

“So many music venues in Seattle and other cities have a cover-free annex, and we wanted to offer that, too,” said Huthman in the news release.

The lounge also have a 10-stool bar that leads to a small, darker lounge area that has a jukebox.

Much of the space uses reclaimed materials, including bleachers originally installed at Anacortes High School in the 1920s that are now part of the tables and drink rails.

The Racket is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for food and is open for drinks until 2 a.m. every day. It will have a grand opening party on Sunday, July 5. Get further details on The Racket’s Facebook page.


A state liquor license application was submitted to put in a Perfectly Paired store near the Dutch Village Inn at 655 Front St. in Lynden. The applicants are Robin and Matthew Hungerford, who also have a Perfectly Paired store at 1143 11th St. in Fairhaven. The Fairhaven store offers artisan cheese, wine and chocolate. ... Walgreens is moving along with its new store being built at 125 Samish Way. The pharmacy has applied for a liquor license and is expected to open this fall, said spokesman Phil Caruso. ... The Cannabis Seed Co. has submitted a building permit to put in a marijuana growing facility at 4051 Hammer Drive. ... Liquidation Car Co. has reached an agreement with U-Haul International Inc. to be a U-Haul neighborhood dealer. Liquidation Car Co. is at 506 Ohio St. and will offer U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, other rental items related to moving and in-store pick-up for boxes. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. ... Film is Truth is making plans to moving into a new space this fall. The business, which recently transitioned into a nonprofit corporation, is finalizing details before announcing its new location, said Sam Kaas, vice president of the corporation. Since becoming a nonprofit, Film is Truth has focused on expanding its offerings to include community education and resources for regional filmmakers. It’s also been expanding its already large collection of movies. The store is currently at 211 W. Holly St.

Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Follow him on Twitter at @BhamHeraldBiz and on Facebook at BellinghamHeraldBusiness.