The Boat Shed Restaurant and Bar has it all–a bar, their own dock, gorgeous waitresses, a giant outdoor deck, and the Mariners. It is located on Port Washington Narrows in the town of Manette across the bridge from Bremerton. It sits, just like a troll, right below the new Manette bridge at 101 Shore Drive, Bremerton (360-377-2600). It is owned by fellow boater Brett Hayfield whom you have probably seen out in his Tiara. Brett bought the place when he graduated from the UW in 1972 for the outrageous sum of $71,000 dollars and has run it ever since–44 years. His wife managed the Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor for over 25 years, so they must know what they’re doing–burgers, beer, boats (and baseball) in their blood.
It also has a ton of history. The Boat Shed rented boats and motors back in the day, when few people owned their own boats. This is a place much like Ray’s Boathouse, Haines’ Boathouse and Norma Beach in Edmonds. I’ll bet you and your dad rented a boat and motor from one of these places, went out and got wet, and caught no fish. I read somewhere that this is the place where the Indians used to rent their dugout canoes (see the picture from 1941). The Boat Shed is one of the last standing boathouses left from the hey day of recreational fishing resorts. Wow! It makes the beer and baseball that much better–living history! Fun and educational.
It isn’t overly fancy or overly dumpy–it’s just right. They serve burgers, steak and seafood from $8 to $30. I had their egg breakfast and a Coors Light (Are you listening Coors? Sponsor me.), which they serve on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 am. I thoroughly enjoyed both the eggs and the beer.
Their private dock (which must be tough to maintain, since it is on a swift running slough, similar to the Swinomish Slough) has room for about two 35-foot boats or 20 dinghies such as mine. No boats were there this weekend, so I had it all to myself, and they didn’t charge me anything.
The dinghy ride from LaConner is a bit long. It takes about four hours and two full tanks of gas. You should bring the gas with you, as there are few fuel stations on the way. And, I suggest you choose a calm day. I might also suggest that you bring your big boat and stay overnight at the new Bremerton Marina, a stone’s throw across the narrows. Or, stay at the Bremerton Yacht club (2700Yacht Haven Way close to Oyster Bay), which is slightly further away but has reciprocal moorage.
I found it the perfect place to dine and watch the Mariners’ preseason games. It also had delightful background music with artist like Captain and Tenelle, Olivia Newton John, and Dionne Warwick. Who doesn’t love that while watching the Mariners on the big screen?
Manette is also a cute little town with about 20 brew pubs and taverns like the Der Blocken Brewery. It was voted one of the 10 best neighborhoods in Seattle. But more about that another time.
Really… funky, old, historic, locally-owned waterfront bars don’t get any better than this. I give it my highest rating, five out of five dinghies!
Next month, on to Toby’s in Coupeville, or possibly Captain Whidbey’s, or up the Skagit River to Mount Vernon, or… Gee, this is habit forming.