If you live in Kitsap County and are looking for your “Seattle fix,” you can find it in Bremerton’s own Manette Business District. Just drive over the Manette Bridge, take a right, look for the iconic TV sign on the roof of the old TV and radio store, and you will find yourself feeling like you are in Seattle’s Fremont district.
The Manette Business District is a three-block area of wonderful restaurants, bakeries, antique stores, an old saloon, a brewery and a waterfront view park overlooking Sinclair Inlet. You can spend an entire day in Manette and have a wonderful experience walking into the older buildings that house the local businesses.
Over the years, the Manette Business District board has developed several special-event days, including Music in Manette, an eight-week summer music series played in the view park overlooking the water and the Manette Bridge. The board also organizes the annual ManetteFest, much like the Fremont District’s street fair, with over 100 vendors, great music and food and a chance for all the people who live in Manette to come say hello to their neighbors. This year’s ManetteFest takes place on Saturday, Sept. 8.
There is also the Christmas tree lighting festival, the First Friday Art Walk and the annual Ladies Night Out. And make sure to drop by the famous Manette Saloon and meet the Kitsap Sun’s writer Josh Farley, who will be conducting his now-famous Trivia Nights and Quiz Nights, all while listening to some of the best live music in town. There is always something to do in Manette.
Manette was its own town, established in 1891, when the residents worked in the sawmill or in the fishing industry. In 1930, the Manette community was connected to downtown Bremerton when the Manette Bridge was constructed.
Today the Manette neighborhood is one of the most sought-after residential communities in Kitsap County. Many of the homes are built on a hill with views of Puget Sound, and the neighborhood is walkable to downtown Bremerton and to the ferry terminal. Most of the homes were built in the 1930, ’40s and ’50s and were modest and smaller, but there has been a significant increase in demand for the homes in Manette in the last few years, thus driving up the prices.
Food is a major part of the Manette experience, led by the well-known Boat Shed Restaurant, which has been owned by Brett and Kathy Hayfield for 40 years. On a nice day, having lunch or dinner on the Boat Shed’s outdoor deck is one of the best restaurant experiences in Kitsap County.
If you love good Italian food served in a small intimate restaurant, you can stop by La Fermata. Owner Sam Shicker opened the restaurant 20 years ago and can be found either in the kitchen cooking or waiting on your table. Everyone in town knows “Sam.”
A new restaurant called the Nightshade is Manette’s first organic-only restaurant. If you love a fresh loaf of bread, stop by the famous Saboteur bakery, and for the best cocktail in town, check out the Honor Bar restaurant. Whatever your choice of food, you can find it in Manette.
A day or an evening in the Manette Business District does remind you of a visit to Seattle’s Fremont District — “it’s hip.”