Like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there’s a reward waiting for visitors who cross the newly rebuilt bridge from downtown Bremerton to the charming community of Manette – gorgeous views and an ever-growing array of inviting shops and restaurants.
At the end of the bridge is Whitey Domstad Park, which looks across to the historic USS Turner Joy museum ship and is an ideal place to watch the iconic green and white Washington State Ferries cross the Puget Sound between Bremerton and Seattle. On summer Thursdays, it’s also the site of free concerts.
For another relaxing waterfront stop, continue along Shore Drive to Bachmann Park, a pocket park with a rocky beach and water access. A covered platform offers shade at the water’s edge.
What Manette lacks in size, locals say it makes up for with character. The annual Manette Fest from 10-4 Sat., Sept. 10, is a great time to see the area at its best. There’s a pancake breakfast, fun run, live music, car show, kids’ activities, vendors and the “tiniest parade.”
The business district is concentrated in several blocks along 11th Street and is fast becoming a foodie hub, with a mix of old and new eateries, including:
- Boat Shed – This is the quintessential Pacific Northwest dining experience. An oldie, but goodie, the Boat Shed has been serving classic American fare with a northwest twist for more than 30 years. You can’t beat the waterfront deck on a summer day and there’s a dock for customers who boat in. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
- Saboteur – The most buzzed about eatery in Bremerton, this bakery features Matt Tinder’s European-style pastry. The menu changes daily and is always amazing. Recent standouts include meat pies, quiches, tarts, scones and things with French names that we can’t pronounce, but love to eat. Follow Saboteur on Facebook to keep up with specials and the occasional lunch or dinner pop-up. Open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
- La Fermata – Another Manette institution, this restaurant serves Northern Italian cuisine with seasonal Northwest flair and is considered one of the best restaurants on the Kitsap Peninsula. The romantic atmosphere and attentive service make it perfect for special occasions or any time you feel like splurging. Reservations recommended. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5-10 p.m.
- Der Blokken – This neighborhood brewery has been turning out craft beers in classic styles since 2010. It operates both a family-friendly pub and an adults-only lounge with full-service bar, pool, darts and shuffle board. The menu includes burgers, wings and a few international dishes, such as bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. Open 4-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.
- Manette Saloon – A staple of the Northwest music scene, The Manette offers live and DJ music three to four nights a week. It also offers a full menu, including steaks, sliders and “sexy fries” topped with sea salt, cracked pepper, truffle oil, parmesan and garlic. Open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays.
- Elixir Fixer – One of the newest additions to Manette is this chic shop offering fancy syrups that can be used for sodas, cocktails or punch. Flavors include Mother Pucker, Twisted Citrus and Blackberry Thymes. Open noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
- Nightshade – This tiny mostly vegetarian restaurant is slated to open soon above the Boat Shed. The owners also have the Port Gamble General Store and Café.
Some Manette shops and restaurants are closed at the beginning of the week, so be sure and check the website or Facebook page of your intended destination when planning a trip. For lodging options and more to do in Bremerton, check out the VKP website.