Remote, authentic, and welcoming is how I would describe the oldest bar in Alaska; the B&B bar. Based on its online reviews, size and location, we expected to find a seedy little fisherman’s bar on the wharf. That was actually pretty accurate. What surprised us, though, was how much we enjoyed it. The first thing we noticed when we sat at the bar was the humorous lines written in neon colors on the back wall mirror. The first one stated “Bruce, shut up.” Bruce and I introduced ourselves to the bartender Stacy, who told us the sign was for one of their regulars, and I appreciated the name coincidence probably a little too much. It certainly broke the ice for a fun afternoon learning about the bar and the area.
The building itself was a small wooden frame building. Stacy told us that it was moved in pieces by horse and buggy to its current location. The interior was rustic and filled with beer signs, advertisements and drink specials covering the walls. A pool table filled the center of the room in front, while the small U-shaped bar filled in the back. The warmth of the atmosphere though was evident with the dollar bills posted on the ceiling and featured fisherman antiques along the walls. The bar is clearly an oasis for men looking to unwind after a hard day’s work on the many fishing trawlers based in America’s second largest fishing fleet, stationed in the marina just across the street.
One case along the wall featured the original liquor license issued in 1906. It was accompanied by a framed letter from a retired lawyer returning the liquor license he had received as momento for work he had done years ago for the bar. In the letter, he had asked to give his regards to any Blodgette’s or Blinn’s that may be around; a reference to the possible origins of the bar’s B&B moniker. We returned the next day for drinks, met Abby who was tending bar, and made a couple more friends while talking about what there is to see in Kodiak. What really touched us that Abby even offered to loan us her car at one point so we could do a little sightseeing. We didn’t take her up on her offer, but we did take her advice about what to see, discovering a small portion of the island’s beauty and large measure of its hospitality along the way.