People-watching is a time-honored activity to enjoy over cocktails, but what about bird-watching? 

At the Café Marina, you might tally a dozen seabirds while you have a sip and a snack. On a recent visit, a harbor seal was spotted swimming by. 

Café Marina sits on Woodley Island, across a short channel of Humboldt Bay from Old Town Eureka. Inside, there's a spacious, airy dining room, with a roomy bar up against south facing windows. But the best seats in the house, assuming the weather is cooperating, are on the broad and sunny outdoor patio facing south toward Eureka. Views of the city's waterfront and Old Town include the famous Carson Mansion and the gorgeous county library surrounded by tree-covered hills.

It's worth a walk along the marina for more view of the bay and Samoa, Arcata and more distant ridgelines. Kids will love walking the docks to see the boats and it's the perfect place to catch a summer sunset.

Woodley Island is home to much of the region's fishing fleet, as well as residential boats, research vessels and even a fire boat with which firefighters can attack blazes and perform rescues from Humboldt Bay. 

click to enlarge Café Marina - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark Mckenna
  • Café Marina

Fishing boats sell their fresh catches directly off the marina dock, too, so it's a good place to pick up something to throw on your grill aprés-cocktail, if you're not staying for dinner. 

But about those cocktails. In addition to their beer and wine offerings, Café Marina crafts a seasonal cocktail list with familiar favorites like an old-fashioned and a Woodley Island iced tea (after the Long Island variety).

This summer, they're offering refreshing, fruity and tropical fare. The Catch and Release is a refreshing mix of Caribbean and Malibu rums, pineapple juice, and blue curacao. Served in a tall glass with a cartoonish maraschino cherry, it's a fun, easy to drink cocktail that gives off vibes from other islands.

click to enlarge Café Marina - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark Mckenna
  • Café Marina

The Lavender Sapphire Collins is a floral cocktail of Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon juice, lavender, and a splash of club soda. The gin bite and fresh lemon make it botanical without being perfumy or overly sweet. 

A favorite of the day, the Siren is described as a fresh citrus martini with lemon juice and gin, but Triple Sec gives it a sort of margarita crossover vibe. It's elegant in its simplicity, tart and tasty.

In addition to its full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, Café Marina offers a seafood-oriented appetizer menu to give you a foundation for your drinks. Fresh oysters in lemony garlic butter are a good sea-faring treat, and the bay shrimp cocktail, with a classic, tangy sauce, is good to wash down with a drink.

Spending a sunny afternoon or evening at the marina pairs beautifully with exploring the best Humboldt Bay has to offer.

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About The Author

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth was an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal from 2013 to 2017.
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