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Nestled in a small bay off the Lynn Canal and visited by fewer cruise ships than its sister town Skagway, Haines, Alaska, is easy to miss on many Alaska itineraries – but that doesn’t mean you should skip it, if you have the chance. Known for incredible wildlife viewing and a chance to escape the summer crowds, Haines has a lot to offer visitors, and is well worth a stop whether you find yourself there by ferry or on a detour from driving the Alaska-Canadian Highway to or from Alaska.
After not visiting Haines for years, I found myself there twice in 2022: first early in the season as part of a cruise with Windstar, then again in mid-summer before setting out on an epic river rafting adventure. Between my first and second trips, I did a ton of research and planning to try and see as much of Haines as possible – and to visit as many Haines restaurants and bars as I could during my short second trip.
Based on that research and the hard work of eating and drinking my way across town, I’ve put together this guide for where to eat in Haines – and drink too. Below you’ll find the restaurants, bars, and other food establishments that made the top of my list for my visit, and which are worthy of your time and economic support during yours.
Whether you’re crazing a great pizza, need a caffeine fix, or love to sample local, craft alcohol (in a variety of forms), Haines has a delightful variety of options. Read on for the best restaurants in Haines, plus the bars and other spots I recommend too.
Rusty Compass Coffeehouse
As I mention in many of my Alaskan restaurant guides, Alaskans love coffee – for a long time, it was one of the things we were proudest of (along with our love of ice cream despite cooler temperatures and our finely-refined palates for pizza!). As such, almost all great Alaskan communities have a good spot for java, even if it’s a tiny roadside hut.
While you can definitely find a few coffee huts on the way in and out of town, in Haines proper your bet bet is Rusty Compass Coffeehouse. This spot draws a small crowd most mornings, and is also a good place if you want to sit and get some work done during your visit. (I know, that’s not most people, but I am a workaholic travel blogger so always keep an eye out for cool coffee shops and work spots!)
Chilkat Restaurant & Bakery
When I visited in mid-2022, small communities like Haines were still struggling with seasonal employment and I’ll be honest: it was not the best experience trying to get a table here (both a long wait and a very frazzled, overworked hostess). Instead, I opted for two things: to go somewhere else to for a meal, and to grab one of their famous rhubarb fritters (not available every day, but get one if you see ’em!) to-go, to tide me over in the meantime.
While their website is lacking, broadly speaking, their restaurant menu focuses on Thai food, which is great if you’re looking for some rich, unique flavors among the American options elsewhere in town.
Mountain Market & Cafe
On the morning my group left Haines to set out on our rafting trip down the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers, we stopped at Mountain Market & Cafe for breakfast and to grab sandwiches to eat later before putting in on ther river. This small grocery store and casual dining spot is great for just that kind of thing: grab-n-go food without sacrificing flavor or ingredients.
I had a freshly made and piping hot breakfast burrito, which was a great way to start the rainy day and keep me fueled up and warm for the adventure ahead; even if you’re not setting out on a 12-day rafting trip, this is a good spot to stop before a busy day exploring Haines and the surrounding region.
Old Field Kitchen
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my rafting group had dinner at Old Field Kitchen on our first night together – we weren’t told that was what it was called though! In any case, our meal here was amazing, and I highly recommend having dinner here if it’s open during your Haines trip.
As you can see, our menu featured many summer ingredients and flavors: sockeye salmon, rockfish, and locally sourced farm greens, among others. The menu at Old Field Kitchen does change seasonally based on what’s available and what’s reasonable; the winter 2023 menu is inspired by Japan with ramen, donburi, and edamame for food (plus weekly specials) as well as sake and Sapporo beer.
If you’re looking for fresh, hyperlocal food, this is the spot.
Port Chilkoot Distillery
While they don’t serve food, I consider Port Chilkoot Distillery an essential stop on any Haines visit, assuming you drink alcohol (spirits and cocktails, specifically). As their name suggests, Port Chilkoot is a distillery, and they’ve come to be known for their whiskeys (rum and bourbon), vodka, and gin.
On our first visit, Mr. V and I did a tasting of them all, and he particularly enjoyed their small-batch absinthe too (it’s the Norwegian in him!). We also tried a few cocktails to see how it all went together. During my second visit, I opted for another, different cocktail, and also grabbed a few packs of their canned cocktails to enjoy on the rafting trip to come. Basically, if you like good booze – in fancier terms, high-quality spirits – this is a must-visit spot (like I said!).
Bamboo Room Restaurant & Pioneer Bar
Remember how I mentioned I wasn’t able to eat at Chilkat Restaurant & Bakery due to its popularity and limited staff? I chose Bamboo Room Restaurant as my back-up, and thus wanted to include it on the list, though it’s definitely not my top recommendation (I’ve already covered those!).
The Bamboo Room is pretty historic among Haines restaurants and has a lot of character – which I loved – , but prices were really high for what you get, and my halibut fish and chips were underwhelming. The staff were nice and this is a good spot for families too as they have tons of choices that will appeal to little taste buds, but it’s definitely going to run you a big bill for what you get.
I didn’t pop into the Pioneer Bar during my visit, as I was headed to the next spot on this list, but it’s a good option if you don’t want to walk far for a nightcap after dinner.
For only having spent about a day and a half in Haines during my visits, I tried to visit a lot of spots – and that included the local watering holes. I popped into Fogcutter Bar as I knew they could make a Duck Fart, which is Alaska’s only claim to “fame” in the mixed drinks/shots category.
This place certainly has character and I can see it being pretty hoppin’ with locals on a weekend night, but the Duck Fart itself wasn’t my favorite; it was fully mixed rather than layered, which is the fun part of ordering the drink, watching it get made, and shooting it all in one!
Three Northmen Tasting Room
I’ve included Three Northmen Tasting Room on this list because while I haven’t been there, it is at the very top of my list for my next visit; every time I’ve been in town, they’ve been closed!
Three Northmen makes mead, cider, and hard soda, which I think is a refreshing deviation from the plethora of (admittedly great) craft beer available across Alaska. As I haven’t had a chance to try their drinks yet, I can’t speak to those, but if you’re either not a craft beer kind of traveler or have had your fill of fantastic craft brews elsewhere during your travels, mix things up with a mead (or cider) at Three Northmen instead. (I also included Haines’ craft brewery below, so that’s still an option too!)
Other Places to Eat in Haines
In addition to the above spots, you might be visiting Haines long enough to need other suggestions too. I haven’t eaten (or drank) at any of the places below, but I’ve heard them recommended so want to include them too.
- Alpenglow – Every Alaskan town has pizza, and Alpenglow is one of two good spots for it in Haines. They offer wood-fired pizza in the heart of “downtown” and usually have a line on weekend nights as it’s beloved by locals too. In addition to pizza, they also do warming soups and stews like chili, mushroom soup, salmon chowder, and gumbo, and offer sandwiches for lunch.
- Fireweed Restaurant – If you’re looking for a nice spot for dinner as an alternative to Old Field Kitchen, Fireweed Restaurant is popular – and for good reason. Their menu is primarily Italian with pizzas, calzones, and more.
- Lighthouse Restaurant & Harbor Bar – If you want to enjoy a meal down by the harbor and look out over the Lynn Canal while you eat, Lighthouse Restaurant is your only option; as such, its accompanying Harbor Bar tends to draw the workers off the boats and can be a fun spot to meet some locals. (Their Facebook pages haven’t been updated since 2015 and 2019 respectively, but both spots are still open!)
- The Frog Lady Fish Company – Another spot I haven’t been but which is high on my list, The Frog Lady is a great option if you’re looking for fresh seafood. They don’t have a menu online but reviews suggest they have everything from shrimp and poke bowls to fish and chips.
- Haines Brewing Company – As mentioned, Haines Brewing Company is – as their name suggests – Haines’ craft brewery, and has a wide range of styles on tap. I haven’t been in here but recent reviews say they are both cash-only and don’t do tasting flights, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a stop.
Have any questions about where to eat in Haines, or these specific spots I recommend? Let me know in the comments below!