Having traveled extensively and considering myself a good judge of bars, the Chester is undoubtedly memorable. This bar would have a fanatical cult following of it were in Philly or DC (and YES there are still cash bars out there). The fried oysters should immediately become the official state food of WA. Do yourself a favor and step in for at least one drink and some oysters.
My husband and I found this little gem by accident, we had no intention to stop in South Bend, Wa but when we did we were so happy. We visited the county seat and were told by a very friendly woman that Chester Tavern was a good place for lunch an she was so right. We had the most wonderful fried oysters we had ever put in our mouths. The staff was fun and friendly even to us strangers and to see the article that was written up by the NY Times Food Editor was a bonus but not needed to know the food was great. If you don't like a "Bar" atmosphere it might not be for you but for us travelers from Southern California it was a real treat. We highly recommend it to anyone in the area to stop by.
After 3 hours of traffic and long winding roads into nowhere, we were surprised and absolutely delighted to come upon this magical haven upon the shore. We were greeted by a very comprehensive collection of vintage Budweiser ads, ostute and ironic bumper stickers, and my favorite kind of bartender, the old bitter woman kind. Being that we were under 50 and "city slickers" we stuck out like sore thumbs, but were made to feel right at home. The fish and chips was nothing fancy, but we had the option of every kind of dipping sauce. Here's what you can't live without though... OYSTER SHOOTERS. The freshest, most amazing, clean beautiful oyster I've ever had with a healthy dollop of cocktail and a fresh lemon. I will dream of this oyster for years. Get it in you.