Best Venues to Watch Local Bands in Bellingham


Bellingham is a creative little city. With the energy of Western Washington University (WWU) students fertilizing its musical seeds, new bands spring to life effortlessly in The 'Ham. Death Cab for Cutie was born in this way — Ben Gibbard formed his band in 1997 at WWU.

Bellingham is equally set apart as a live music destination by its location. National acts stop here for weekday shows between major international sets in Seattle and Vancouver. We've seen the likes of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Jimmy Eat World, Jefferson Airplane, and so many more grace our stages. But it's the local bands that coax us out of our homes every night of the week. Here are some of the best local, live music venues in Bellingham.

Wild Buffalo
With its relatively intimate size (capacity: 450), the Wild Buffalo House of Music manages to book some of the biggest shows in town. Macklemore has played here; Sir Mix-a-lot and Tech N9ne make regular tour stops at "The Buff". In between big shows, you'll find an assortment of free or cheap (starting at $5) local shows, lip sync battles, and 90's nights to keep the floor dancing. This venue books just about any genre — from hip-hop to funk/soul/R&B and indie rock.

The Shakedown
One of the loudest venues in town, The Shakedown does not disappoint. Expect rock and roll, metal, hardcore punk, and everything else electric. Cheap eats and drinks keep the party alive. Sit yourself down at a cushy booth, or head upstairs for balcony views of the entire bar. Next door, check out Shakedown's sister space, The Racket, for Philly cheesesteaks, falafels, and a pinball arcade.

The Green Frog
When other venues in town have nothing going on, you can usually count on The Green Frog. Offering live music nearly every night of the week, this dark tavern leans toward folk, Americana, string band, and blues artists. Their beer and whiskey selection is excellent. Don't forget to pair your drink with a grilled cheese — there are over a dozen varieties on the menu. Out back, find some fresh air on the deck overlooking Bellingham Bay.

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based freelance writer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he contributes to a handful of regional publications in the Pacific Northwest.