There’s nothing like taking a drive up the Pacific coast to calm the mind and awaken the senses — especially when there’s a one-of-a-kind experience waiting at the end of the journey. That’s just what you’ll find at Glen Blair Bar, an outdoor watering hole set deep in the majestic Mendocino County redwoods.
One of the things that makes this venue truly unique is its location. Glen Blair Bar is accessible only by way of the Skunk Train. Since 1885, this historic line has chugged its way through redwood groves and across trestle bridges into Mendocino’s scenic Noyo River canyon. Now, on Friday nights, it carries passengers from the Skunk Train Depot in Fort Bragg to a delightful hidden bar.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., passengers pay a $49.95 round trip fare and hop aboard a vintage train for the 25-minute ride to Glen Blair Junction. Along the way, bar-goers may purchase freshly popped popcorn as well as beer and wine as they take in views of the surrounding redwood forest while seated in enclosed train cars or standing on a breezy open-top “deck.”
As the train arrives at the Glen Blair Junction clearing, a magical, fairy-lit oasis comes into view, complete with fire pits, lawn games, live music, picnic tables and a bar station serving local wine, beer and cocktails. Even on cool, rainy nights, Glen Blair is a cozy destination thanks to the expansive covered bar structure and plenty of warming patio heaters. Trains depart hourly until the bar closes at 10:30 p.m.
Opened in October 2022, the Glen Blair Bar concept was two years in the making. The Skunk Train folks previously used the spot for events, weddings, concerts and movie nights before they hit on the genius idea to add a Friday night bar. “Why have the venue,” says Skunk Train General Manager Stathi Pappas, “if you’re not going to share it?”
As long as there are riders who want to make the journey, Glen Blair Bar will remain open year round.
Although the adults-only experience was created with locals in mind, it provides an excellent excuse — as if anyone needs one — for an overnight stay or weekend getaway in Mendocino. We can’t think of a better way to whet a thirsty traveler’s whistle.
Skunk Train Depot, 100 West Laurel St., Fort Bragg, 707-964-6371, skunktrain.com