Bars and restaurants in Ellensburg


Casey Rothgeb

The Nodding Donkey Bar is a favorite for students and locals looking to get a bite to eat.

Jayce Kadoun, Staff Reporter

Breweries, taverns and pubs are all around the city, and students have narrowed down which bars they prefer to visit during their nights out on the town.

Certain criteria determine which bars students choose to go to. Food, drinks, prices and atmosphere are some of the aspects they focus on in their decision-making process.

Makenna Smith, a fifth-year student double majoring in family and consumer sciences education and secondary education, said as of right now, her favorite bar is The Nodding Donkey. Smith said she enjoys the outside portion of the restaurant and bar and that the customers are a good mix between a local crowd and college students.

Aside from The Nodding Donkey, Smith said she likes to spend time at other bars depending on the mood she’s in and who she is with.

“If my friends and I are looking for a bar to party, we either go to The Frontier or Club 301,” Smith said. “The Frontier just has a fun cowboy vibe and we always sit in the beer garden. Club 301 draws a crowd of people who want to spend their night in the dance scene.”

As far as food goes, Smith said The Palace Cafe has the best. She said she’s been eating there since her freshman year and rarely ever turns down the option to grab a bite there. Smith also said the menu is big and the restaurant has always had great service.

Smith said Club 301 and The Nodding Donkey have the best prices in town. But, when it comes to drink quality, she said it varies between establishments.

In the heart of Ellensburg, Club 301 provides a modern atmosphere for dancing and drinking. (Casey Rothgeb)

“I typically will order the same drink at every bar and they do make them a little different. For my go-to drink, I prefer the way The Palace makes it. As for other mixed drinks or cocktails, The Pearl’s are very good,” Smith said.

Smith said she occasionally stops into Iron Horse Brewery and Ellensburg Brewing. For food and drinks besides beer, she said she would choose Ellensburg Brewing. Caleb Johnston, a freshman in the paramedic program, said The Nodding Donkey is his preferred bar as well.

“It’s my favorite bar because they let little babies and kids in and I think that’s funny. Also, there are Razor scooters everywhere. I really like [Club 301] too because it has a dance floor and I have some sick moves,” Johnston said.

Johnston said the best food he’s had at a bar in Ellensburg was the Hawaiian burger at The Tav. He said they also have an amazing french dip, and the food he has seen his friends order looked just as good.

According to Johnston, all the bars he has been to have made good drinks, but he said The Frontier and The Nodding Donkey seem to make them for the best price.

Johnston also said he enjoys trying new beers at different breweries in town. Whipsaw and Iron Horse Breweries are
his favorites, but Whipsaw is the best in his opinion.

Loryn Ziegler, a senior majoring in social services, said she also enjoys going to local breweries for the variety of beers on tap. Buzz On Blackberry from Whipsaw Brewery and Aloha Death at Iron Horse Brewery top her list of best beers.

“I always like to try new beers if they have them and I like how chill it is in the breweries here. You can get a lot of the beers in other places too but I like to go in and support the business,” Ziegler said. Ziegler said she enjoys going to bars like Redhorse, The Tav and The Frontier just as well, especially if she’s with a group.