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Endgame Bar & Restaurant closes with hope of future relocation

Brunch & Babes, one of Bellingham’s longest-running drag brunches, comes to an end

Taken at Endgame Bar & Restaurant in Bellingham, Wash. on Aug. 14, 2022, at one of the Brunch Babe’s drag breakfast performances. From left to right, Alexuhhh Storm, Ursula Major, Mx and Rikki Sinsation. // Photo courtesy of Whorechata

With rent prices rising in downtown Bellingham, Endgame Bar & Restaurant is being forced to shut down. Endgame, located at 188 W. Holly St., will have its last day on Feb. 24. 

Endgame has a maximum capacity of 49 people, and despite being crowded on the weekends, is not making enough money to stay at their current location. 

“We’re turning people away on Fridays and Saturdays,” Austin Sines, co-owner of Endgame Bar & Restaurant said. “You think that’d be good, but it’s not.”

The closing of Endgame also marks the end of Brunch & Babes. Occurring twice a month, on Saturday or Sunday, and eventually becoming one of Bellingham’s longest-running drag brunch events, Brunch & Babes was arranged by Bellingham drag performer and organizer Mx.

“What they did here, [Endgame] was very connected,” Scout Wiley, a long-time drag brunch attendee, said. “You got to see the best of the best, and you got to see people trip and try, and everyone was enthusiastic… it's that sense of community that brought these shows to a wonderful place.”

“To have longevity of a year-and-a-half, almost two years, that’s definitely nothing to sneer at,” Mx said. 

Mx has been a drag performer in Bellingham for the past five years and is seeing the drag scene grow and gain traction.  

Lark Pascual, Brunch & Babes performer and drag queen in Bellingham, described Brunch & Babes as an opportunity for performers to experiment with alternative routines in a space that was comfortable and accepting. According to Pascual, Endgame cultivated an organic and raw experience. 

Themes for Brunch & Babes varied and could be anything from “Lord of the Rings” to “Star Wars” to “Finding Nemo.” Sometimes they range into the current political sphere, recently revolting against the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

“And remember, you can always drunk call your senators,” Pascual said, quoting Mx from one of their previous Brunch & Babes shows. 

Usually containing performances from three to six drag queens, and starting at 1 p.m., Brunch & Babes was a 21+ event with a $10 cover fee. 

“Everyone felt like they were seen and heard and this was such a safe space for people to be able to come,” Wiley said. 

endgame bar street view

A view of Endgame Bar & Restaurant in Bellingham, Wash. from Holly Street, taken Feb. 9, 2024. Endgame has a small outdoor section for warm weather. // Photo by William Morton

Marissa Hall, front-of-house manager at Wander Brewing, has organized many drag brunch events and understands what goes into hosting an event such as Brunch & Babes. 

“It takes a lot of coordination,” Hall said. “I’m the connector, I’m reaching out to people, pulling them together, and then once we're here, they’re doing the rest of it.”

Wander Brewing, which opened in 2014, recently hosted an all-ages, New Year's Eve drag brunch event. 

“We’ve always really pushed to be a place where folks can come and just be them,” Sines said.

Home to the Random Encounter shot and boasting a collection of free-to-play board games, Endgame has been operating in downtown Bellingham since September 2019. 

Endgame is eventually hoping to relocate, but has not been looking at any specific locations yet. The restaurant will be selling items from the bar before its closure, taking offers from patrons and walk-ins.

William Morton

William Morton (he/him) is a third year news and editorial major reporting about city life for The Front this quarter. Outside of school, he enjoys playing the banjo and attempting to read Finnegans Wake. You can contact him at williammorton.thefront@gmail.

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