Joe Rudko/The AS Review

Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review

On the corner of Holly and Bay streets, a neon-blue horse sign gleams through a large industrial window. A diamond in the rough that is downtown Bellingham, the Blue Horse Gallery is the perfect definition of casual elegance. It has the charming feel of quiet coffee shop but the sophistication of an art gallery.

I must preface this by saying that I am not the most artistic person in the world. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around why a painting of a silhouette costs the same as nearly half of my tuition this quarter. I’ve always found art galleries to be intimidating.

I felt as if I was a fish out of water while sipping on a $9 glass of merlot. My experience of fine wines doesn’t expand much past $7 bottles on clearance at Fred Meyer. Given that, I felt as though I should have been talking about 18th-century poetry or idealism, rather than how my day was or how Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men.”

The space is quite cozy and split into two separate rooms. The main room is spacious, and various art pieces decorate the warm, rose-colored walls. The art is very eye-catching and varies from sculptures to paintings to photography and glass, all by regional artists.

There were awkward leather armchairs positioned throughout the space, something I found strange. But as I envisioned the room during a crowded night event, I was sure that there’s times when the chairs are utilized.

Joe Rudko/The AS Review

From my observations, I was definitely the youngest there. Other than an older couple sitting and murmuring at a table, there was little old me pacing through the gallery. I can see the appeal for an older generation—those who may truly appreciate the art and wine—but the stillness of the gallery really made for a perfect study spot. I almost wish I had known about this place earlier.

To the left there was a small, cozy space for seating and dining. Black, round tables with flickering tea-light candles and bar stools were spaced sporadically.  A small wooden stage with a microphone stand and piano sat in the corner. The ambiance set the perfect scene for a first date.

The gallery hosts a variety of events, all of which transform the simple space into a tango and swing dance studio or a space for poetry readings, concerts and much more.

A small bar and café are situated in the back, where customers can indulge themselves in fine wines, espresso or delectable sandwiches and other food. The prices are a little steep, but it is the perfect getaway from a crowded Starbucks, a Woods Coffee shop or a loud and obnoxious bar.