Poppe’s Bistro and Lounge has undergone a transformation. The venue has been renovated to include updated furniture, menu, and patio space for year-round hours, and with it a reignited passion for music.

Larry MacDonald, General Manager of Lakeway Inn & Conference Center, believes that the new decor of Poppe’s mirrors the establishment’s interest in live music. “The name change is not really a name change,” MacDonald explained. “It now has a tail, ‘Neighborhood Pub.’ We want to be a landmark and we won’t stop until we get there.”

MacDonald took over his role at the end of a long-awaited reformation of the space. During the transitional period, MacDonald said Bar Manger Juli Wavada and Art and Entertainment Manage, Clint Lincoln were important roles in building a stronger future.

Wavada started working at Poppe’s two-and-a-half years ago, starting as a bartender and working her way up. “I’ve learned that Bellingham is a diverse community and, since we aren’t located downtown, we need to offer something to encourage people to come here,” she said. “This passion doesn’t come from nowhere. A lot of people have a strong connection to Poppe’s.”

Lincoln, otherwise known as DJ Clint Westwood, is mostly excited about booking more live shows. “For a long time, my DJ-ing on Thursday nights was the only live music we offered. People kept asking when we were going to bring live music back and it feels so good to finally have that again,” he said. “We book everything from classical to R&B.”

With a revamped schedule, Lincoln is extremely optimistic. “We’re planning to have shows every night except Sunday nights,” he said. “Also, the shows are always free.” MacDonald believes that Wavada and Lincoln have brought back a sense of consistency, music, service, food, and beverage that will solidify their clientele. MacDonald adds that Poppe’s caters to a more mature crowd, making sure to clarify that “mature” does not necessarily mean “older.” “We don’t want to be a venue with obnoxious music or crazy attendants,” he said, “We want this space to be occupied by people who prefer an enjoyable, calmer typer of evening.”

The future of Poppe’s leans heavily towards maintaining quality consistency and a friendly atmosphere. “We want people to come here and enjoy themselves,” Lincoln said. “Whether they come for a few drinks or to see some live music, we want our customers to feel that a good time is guaranteed.”

According to MacDonald, the entire menu will be revamped, containing both bar classics and local ingredients. “We’re also planning for Sundays to be ‘wing days,’ which is something that doesn’t really exist around here,” said Wavada.

“We want to be for everybody,” MacDonald added, “Whether it be college students or Bellingham’s more mature crowd. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that, when we reopen, we do it right.”

Poppe’s is located at 714 Lakeway Drive. For more information, visit www.poppesbistro.com or e-mail Clint Lincoln at djclintwestwood@gmail.com.