Every Alaskan town is equipped with a diner serving hearty meals of typical American fare, often with a few Alaskan specialties thrown in for good measure. Eating out, as with many things in Alaska, is expensive when compared to dining in other US states as much of the food is imported. Beer lovers will be pleased to discover Alaska brews its own beers, which are available in all of the state’s watering holes. Evening entertainment is fairly thin on the ground or non-existent outside of the main cities and towns as the area is known for preserving and appreciating nature.
Bars and pubbing in Alaska
The best cities to bar and pub hop are: Anchorage, the state’s largest city; Fairbanks, its second-largest city; and Juneau, the capital. Anchorage has the best nightlife with dozens of bars and microbreweries, although drinking establishments here must close by 3:00 am on the weekends. Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge (626 D Street, Anchorage) is one of the Alaska’s trendiest hangouts with its sophisticated Paradise Room, while Chilkoot Charlie’s (1071 W 25th Avenue, Anchorage) attracts music lovers with its bands.
Fairbanks offers a more low-key nightlife scene than its larger counterpart, but its student population helps to keep things hopping. The Marlin (3412 College Road, Fairbanks) is a favorite hang-out for students with its open mic night and live music daily. For a more relaxed evening, the Blue Loon (2999 Parks Hwy, Fairbanks) bar and grill is host to frequent outdoor summer events.
Juneau doesn’t have much in the way of after-dark entertainment, but its Alaskan Bar (South Franklin Street, Juneau) offers a unique opportunity to get chatty with locals in an informal environment. The Hangar offers superb views of aircraft taking off and landing, as well as cruise ships coming and going.
Dining and cuisine in Alaska
Finding consistently good restaurants in Juneau can seem like a challenge, yet there are several eateries that offer reasonable value for the money considering many of the foods must be imported by boat or jet. Canton House (8585 Old Dairy Road, Juneau), El Sombrero (157 S. Franklin Street, Juneau) and the Hot Bite (Boat Harbor, Auke Bay, Juneau) are popular choices.
Fairbanks, like Juneau, has a good selection of ethnic eateries, as well as seafood joints. Alaskaland Salmon Bake (2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks), Siam Dishes (338 Old Steese Hwy, Fairbanks) and Wok N’ Roll Express (3535 College Rd, Fairbanks) serve seafood, Thai and Chinese respectively. For a more Alaskan dining experience, try the Loose Moose CafÈ (3450 Airport Way, Fairbanks) where huge buffalo burgers are the order of the day.
Anchorage has Alaska’s greatest choice of restaurants, from diners to taco houses, cafÈs and burger stops. Pizza lovers will want to try Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria (3300 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage), while the popular Glacier BrewHouse (5th Ave between H and G St, Anchorage) is perhaps the best place to eat downtown for its wide selection of dishes. For award-winning French and American cuisine, Crow’s Nest (4th and K (top floor of Hotel Captain Cook), Anchorage) is a safe bet.
Not to be missed wherever visitors dine are the famous Alaskan king crab legs. This local delicacy is served freshly cooked in butter, with lemon juice and Old Bay seasoning.