Despite having anchored in nearly all of the great Puget Sound anchorages, we have never visited Bremerton. So, on a recent Sunday we decided to do a "Jane's Excellent Adventure", and hop a ferry to Bremerton to check it out as a possible boating destination.
But sadly, the marina was less than half full. And here I am not talking about the guest moorage, which was not unexpectedly essentially empty at this time of year. I am talking about the assigned slips. The marina is the victim of unbelievably bad timing - the construction work on the marina was started in 2007, just before the big economic bust.
You see, the Bremerton waterfront has been the victim of a big-city urban planning exercise. The waterfront is all high rises and expensive retail space. You can get a Subway sub, but it is difficult to find a charming pub. Worse, many of the potentially interesting establishments that somehow survived the assault from the Urban Planner then fell victim to the current economic system failure. In short, there was a lot of walking along sidewalks fronted with high rises with either empty retail main floors or your standard nationwide suburban chain fast food. The exception, Anthony's, was having a charity auction and was closed to the public the day of our visit.
Eventually, we stumbled into Boston's - which specializes in wonderfully made Italian food. It is within walking distance of the waterfront, and serves chilled adult beverages which go well with the fare.
Both Jane and I had the Calzones, which we can heartily recommend.
As a boating destination, Bremerton is a mixed bag. The marina is fabulous, but the shoreside ambiance is "downtown financial center" rather than "funky". If you are hoping for an ecclectic collection of small but wonderful restaurants, art galleries and pubs like you will find in Gig Harbor, Winslow, Poulsbo, Friday Harbor or Ganges, you are in for a big disappointment.
If you do journey to the Bremerton Marina, you need to check out Boogaloo's Barbeque Pit, which is right on the promenade, just above the docks. The smells which were coming from this place were simply amazing. It's a take-out place, so it is ideally suited for you to bring your pulled pork BBQ back to your boat where you can enjoy it with the best waterfront view around: the one from your own deck.