You can find the entire Bellingham Bucket List on bellingFAM.
It’s undeniably one of the most popular spots in Bellingham and, much to my own surprise, it’s kid-friendly too. I had no idea that Kulshan Brewing Co. (or Kulshan Brewery, as it’s commonly called) was kid-friendly until I was there, sans kids, and noticed that both the patio and the inside seating sections were swarming with little ones who were hanging out with their beer-loving parents.
At Kulshan, minors are allowed in both the indoor and outdoor sections of their James Street location, the exception being the section that is to the left as you walk in the front doors, which is the actual “bar” (AKA where you’ll want to hide out on a date night visit so that you can pretend like kids don’t exist, anywhere).
On a sunny weekend afternoon, this is the perfect place to pull up a picnic table bench, order a pint and have some family time. We love the community-feel that you can’t help but soak yourself in at Kulshan. Everyone is friendly, willing to share their space and small groups of friends and families usually turn into large groups, as you see everyone you know at Kulshan and join forces to enjoy a beer or two while the kids play.
While it can be very, very, VERY busy at times (we told you, it’s a popular place for families and the kid-free alike), it’s worth stalking a table and the turnaround is pretty quick, if you have a bit of patience. If we’re planning on visiting with the kids, we often send one parent down first to grab a spot, then head down with the kids 10- to 15-minutes later to join them.
Don’t be afraid to grab a few empty spots at a picnic table with some other Kulshan fans… Just promise that your kids won’t kick them in the shins under the table, and if they do (they will), buy your new table-mates a beer to apologize.
Don’t bring too much, as there isn’t really anywhere to keep your stuff at Kulshan. Do bring snacks for your little ones, cards or some simple board games for your big kids to play, or whatever will keep them nicely entertained while you enjoy your brew (little cars, princesses, Rainbow Looms, etc.). If you have a little one, a stroller isn’t a bad idea, as they can sit in it and leave the benches for the grown-ups. Lastly, bring an extra layer of warm clothes for everyone — it can be a bit chilly on the patio, especially as the sun starts to go down.
We’ve heard from Kulshan fans that the food is one of their favorite parts about the experience. Not only can you BYO food, from grabbing a pizza down the block at Coconut Kenny’s to brown-bagging it with sammies from home, but you can also order food from Kulshan’s delicious selection of rotating local food trucks. They keep a schedule online that is super helpful.
The last time we were there, we ordered from the Diego’s truck and nearly died over the deliciousness of the nachos, which were crispy and fresh, straight out of their oven. Yum.
A mama warning: It can take a while for them to actually make and deliver your food from the trucks, because, well, they are cooking in a truck after all. Before you order, ask how long they are. And, most importantly, don’t show up to Kulshan with hungry kids — either feed them before you go and use the food truck cuisine for a snack or, bring some munchies while you wait for your food to be made.
Looking for the beer? You can either go inside and order one at the bar and take it with you back to your table, or keep your eye out for a server. There are usually at least two taking orders and they’ll happily bring your beer out to you and get a tab started.
The last time we were at Kulshan with the kids, there was a long outdoor table filled with guys who were obviously having a very good time. In conversation, one of the guys dropped a very loud, very enthusiastic f-bomb. He immediately looked at me (we were sitting at the next table) and cringed and mouthed an apology. I reminded him, with a smile on my face, that I was the one who brought kids to a bar and that it wasn’t a big deal. Which, to me, it wasn’t.
But, let this be a reminder to you that while Kulshan is seemingly kid-friendly, people go here to drink. Your kids are going to come across a good, quality swear word from time-to-time and you have to be okay with that. You’re in their space, with your kids. Have a beer and let the little things go. No judgey “hey, did you notice that i have children here” looks allowed.
Kulshan Brewing Co.
2238 James St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
It’s all about the street-parking when you visit Kulshan, so circle the block and circle it slow. We’ve never had to park more than a couple of blocks away, even on a busy night, but if you live within walking/biking distance, you should consider making the trek to Kulshan that way first. There is plenty of bike and stroller parking available.
Remember to be kind to the homeowners who live around Kulshan. Don’t block their driveways or park on their grass. It’s not nice.
You can find Kulshan Brewing Co. online, where they’re great at keeping events and other information up-to-date. If you’re planning on visiting with the kids, you might want to take a quick peek at their events calendar first, as those can draw a big crowd, making them a bit less kiddo-friendly.
You can also find Kulshan on Facebook.