Fireside Martini and Wine Bar Offers Homey Setting for Wine Lovers

My latest attempt at finding a bona fide wine bar in Bellingham included a visit to the Fireside Martini and Wine Bar in Bakerview Square.

Although locally owned, the bar’s location in the middle of a strip-mall parking lot initially gives the place a bit of a “franchise” feel. But inside, the contemporary decor, replete with a granite bar and a seating area with cushy sofas and comfortable chairs, provides a homey atmosphere that invites you to linger over a beverage or two.

The current selection of about 20 wines is adequate, with a small variety of Washington and California wines and at least one choice from France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. Four sparkling wines and a Champagne are also on the menu.

All of the wines are available for tasting by the glass (from $6 to $12 a pour) or by the bottle (reasonably priced at $22 to $30 for whites, $25 to $40 for reds).

During my visit I tried an Acordeon 2009 Torrontes ($6 a glass/$24 a bottle), a lovely, light-bodied Argentinean white that was very nice, with jasmine aromas, lime zest and pear flavors, and a bit of an herbaceous finish.

Another notable feature is the 4 to 7 p.m. happy hour special that runs daily and includes several varietals from California’s Coastal Vines Winery for only $3 each. I didn’t try any of those wines, but my server assured me they were quite good, especially at that price.

The server also indicated that management is considering expanding the wine list to include wine flights, and to offer weekly specials highlighting local wineries.

Make no mistake; the martini is first and foremost at the Fireside. But the addition of a few more wine-friendly options could allow wine enthusiasts to co-exist with the cocktails drinkers in its warm, relaxed atmosphere.

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