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Horse and Cow returns to Bremerton

Mike Looby is glad to be helping liven up downtown Bremerton, by opening the latest incarnation in the long tradition of the Horse and Cow bar.

The establishment opened on Fourth Street just off Pacific Avenue with little fanfare in July, just in time to be on the scene for one of the city’s liveliest summer events, the Bremerton Brewfest.

“I think we’ve brought a lot to the city and the neighborhood here, as far as bringing people to the area,” Looby said.

There’s outside seating at tables with umbrellas in front of the Horse and Cow, and inside the walls are covered with submarine photos, plaques and other memorabilia. The submarine theme started with Looby’s late father, Jimmy, whose first Horse and Cow opened in 1953 in San Francisco and became well-known to sailors over the years. 

Mike Looby opened one in San Diego in 1990 (now closed) and still operates one on the Pacific island of Guam, longtime home to a strategic U.S. naval base. The previous Horse and Cow in Bremerton on Northlake Way closed in 2010.

The new location is near the naval shipyard, but Looby and his business partner, Larry Timby, bought the former Nite Shift Tavern building a block over on Burwell Avenue and intended to make that the site for the Horse and Cow’s return. Start-up financing there proved a challenge, so the proprietors are leasing the former site of El Coral restaurant on Fourth Street.

Looby said his restaurant and bar doesn’t appeal exclusively to military customers, and he wants to make it the kind of gathering place where anyone in the community will feel comfortable.

“We’ve got a huge open-air patio upstairs, and eventually we want to get that open,” he said. Bringing in live entertainment is also in the works.

The menu is mostly the same as the Horse and Cow on Guam, and lunchtime and happy hour have been the busiest times so far, said Looby, who makes his own sauce for chicken wings that are a house specialty.

Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, with a 7 a.m. opening for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays.


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