Astoria has captured most of the food and drink attention in recent years as far as the mouth of the Columbia River goes, but there’s a promising scene on the Washington side. Long Beach is home to an immensely long peninsula fit with a boardwalk, the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame and the many pizza parlors and seafood restaurants we tend to associate with the Pacific Northwest coast. It’s also home to Adrift Hotel, a cozy inn overlooking the beach with its own just-opened distillery and a delightful house restaurant in Pickled Fish.
The hotel has a reclaimed chic feel, with weathered wood framing mirrors and making up cupboards and coffee tables throughout its many public areas. Visitors are welcomed by a well-stocked fridge of harder-to-find beers for purchase, such as Fort George’s Fields of Green. There’s a short but sweet cast of wines available too, including genuine indie outfits like Love & Squalor. The community foosball and ping-pong tables offer the congeniality of a hostel while the rooms, efficiently laid out with useful perks like iPod docking stations and memory foam mattresses, make for perfect hideaways when the time comes.
The restaurant, Pickled Fish, sits atop the hotel on the fourth floor. As such, it offers an expansive panorama of the coastline, especially becoming on a dreary, storm-watching day or during a midsummer sunset. The food is fresh and very much maritime, set to live music on the weekends. Try the seafood and French lentil stew with rockfish, clams, oysters, smoked salmon and fennel — one of several house-made pasta items — or their strong take on a burger.
The cocktails incorporate what’s made at the house distillery next door. The cranberry margarita, for example, builds around Adrift Distillers most popular spirit – cranberry liqueur – adding tequila, lime and agave for a vibrant sipper.
Opening its doors to the public in early March, Adrift Distillers sits on the edge of the hotel property. There, head distiller Matt Lessnau is working on batches of gin, vodka, white whisky and that liqueur. Lessnau is drawn to local ingredients, sourcing wheat from Living Heritage Farms in Edwall and Skagit Valley Malting in Burlington and cranberries from nearby Starvation Alley Farms. “These organizations share similar values to our own,” Lessnau says. “With their penchant for innovation and a commitment to the triple bottom line.”