State Street Bar has been closed after a fire damaged the building; the closure has elicited attention and concern in the Bellingham community.
The popular bar, located at 1315 N. State St., caught on fire Jan. 3, 2024. The fire was contained to the bar and there were no injuries reported.
“It was definitely unexpected, surprising and saddening,” said Sam Bahn, a Western Washington University student and State Street Bar regular.
The free popcorn and cheap pool games available at State Street Bar were a major draw for customers, Bahn said. It was a common occurrence for him to run into friends at the bar.
“The community that was there was really what had that place going well,” Bahn said. “If it wasn’t for knowing lots of people there all the time I probably wouldn’t be going there, at all.”
Tom Langen owns and operates Ramble Tamble, a bar and small music venue next to State Street Bar. College students and a younger clientele would frequent State Street Bar over weekend nights, Langen said.
“It's actually nice to have a similar business next door to you, it means more people out and about and on your block,” Langen said. “You know, more opportunity for people to come into your place, especially when you're new, being so close to something that's obviously an iconic kind of a place for people.”
There’s been a loss of foot traffic on State Street following the closure of State Street Bar, Langen said.
Langen said that the closure was unfortunate for the block and neighborhood. He hopes that the Bellingham community will continue to support small businesses and give new places, such as Ramble Tamble, a chance.
The history of State Street Bar lends to its significance in the community, said TC Anderson, a downtown Bellingham security guard and bartender. Formerly known as The Beaver, State Street Bar was referred to by many as “the old Beaver.”
“It’s a common meet-up place because everyone knows where State Street
[Bar] is,” Anderson said. “You have two generations that all know of it and refer to it as a location.”
The fire, which originated from the bar fryer, did not cause any structural damage to the building, according to Cascadia Daily News.
In the interim, college students will decide where to spend their time other than State Street Bar. The Beaver and Bellingham Bar and Grill are two popular options for students, Bahn said.
“I think a lot more people are going to stay there throughout the night,” said Bahn on Bellingham Bar and Grill. “Or very well just not go out. I know a lot of people are just not going out at all because State Street is closed. People had some dedication.”
Eleanor Peterson (she/her) is excited to be working as a city news reporter for The Front this quarter. She is in her senior year at Western majoring in communication studies and minoring in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. Eleanor enjoys going for scenic walks, drinking iced lattes and creating music playlists in her free time. You can contact Eleanor at email@example.com.