by June Hathaway
The stretch of North State Street dubbed the Alley District has seen a lot of change in the past decade. The neighborhood that was once home to a revolving cast of scrappy shops and arts ventures anchored by the Hub Community Bike Shop is now dominated by condos and apartment blocks. And Honey Moon, which spent that decade serving up mead in the Alley District, is making changes, too. Yummy, boozy changes.
Honey Moon opened in 2009 as a meadery – think a brewpub for mead, a honey-based brew that is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks. The term “honeymoon” is derived from the ancient tradition of celebrating the first month, or moon, of a new marriage by getting blotto with your bae on mead brought by the wedding guests. Honey Moon brews its meads – and ciders – on site. (We reviewed a flight of Honey Moon’s meads back in 2014.)
The recent addition of spirits – reflected in the new “Alley Bar” tagline – opened the door for a roster of cocktails that craftily combine mead with liquor and more traditional mixers, including house-made flavored sodas like root beer and turmeric ginger ale. I couldn’t tell you what turmeric tastes like, but I can certainly tell you that Honey Moon’s ginger ale makes a damn fine whiskey ginger.
The food menu has expanded, too. Happy hour food specials center on $5 whiskey-cider-cheese fondue served with house-made bread, and free bar snacks: snickerdoodle fortune cookies, sweet and salty popcorn and curry pork rinds. (If that last bit sounds familiar, it’s because the wizard behind this kitchen curtain is Michelle Schutte, who instituted a similar happy hour giveaway during her tenure at Redlight.) Happy hour is Monday-Saturday 5-7pm, and you also get a buck off all drinks.
If you’re craving sturdier fare, there are small plates priced from $5 to $8, including a daily soup and salad, pulled pork with locally made Hosa hot sauce, Spanish-style meatballs, baked chevre, and more.
Despite the changes, some traditions endure. Honey Moon continues to host Bellingham’s longest-running open mic on Wednesday nights, and on December 22, readers will take the stage in the fourth annual tag-team reading of Beowulf, the epic poem about a warrior who loves his mead and a monster who loves his mother. As for new events, keep an eye out for True Crime Trivia on the first Monday of each month.
Honey Moon Alley Bar and Cidery
1053 N. State St. (alley entrance)
Open Monday through Saturday 5pm to midnight, happy hour 5pm to 7pm.