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A cocktail at En Rama.
Carly T./Yelp [Photo by Amelia Vaughn Photography]

20 Essential Tacoma Bars

Where to find everything from craft cocktails to boozy jukebox joints

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A cocktail at En Rama.
| Carly T./Yelp [Photo by Amelia Vaughn Photography]

Tacoma’s bar scene is a burst of boozy wonders, where bars that served as actual speakeasies during Prohibition bump up against modern cocktail lounges that still pretend to. Historical buildings in bizarre shapes might house classic dives or brand-new award-winning breweries. Downtown arcade bars clatter alongside karaoke caverns and sawdust-strewn dart dens in the port.

No matter what the occasion or preference, Tacoma can deliver — here are 20 pieces of evidence. Anyone looking for a more food-focused list should check out Eater’s guide to 24 essential Tacoma restaurants.

Note: Map points are listed geographically and are not ranked by preference. Did we miss your favorite value meal? Show it some love in the comments, send us an email about it, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Beach Tavern

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8612 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98465
(253) 564-9984
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The iconic Beach Tavern, serving meatloaf and pitchers in the shadow of the Narrows Bridge, came onto the bar scene only months after the repeal of prohibition and it’s been earning regulars ever since. The interior is as lively as the exterior is drab.

2. The Mule Tavern

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5227 S Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 212-3112
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Although the Mule is relatively new to Tacoma’s storied bar scene, it has the timeless trappings of a business that intends to stick around: blacked out windows, neon Rainier signs, an owner cleaning glasses behind the counter. Despite the dive-bar design and the freezer-aisle White Castle sliders, though, the drinks are righteous. The Moscow Mule, the tavern’s signature item, is prepared with a housemade ginger beer that simply is not messing around.

3. Bob's Java Jive

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2102 S Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 475-9843

On the National Register of Historic Places, this coffee pot-shaped bar has been rockin’ and rollin’, jumpin’ and jivin’ since 1927, hosting some of the world’s most famous musicians from Bing Crosby to The Ventures to Nirvana, and showing up in films like “I Love You to Death.” It’s struggled to stay relevant in recent years, though, despite weekly karaoke — maybe the next worldwide sensation will get their start performing for kicks in this nostalgic den.

4. Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

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3529 McKinley Ave E
Tacoma, WA 98404
(253) 272-1502
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This revered neighborhood dive, chugging along like a well-oiled machine with affordable drinks and frequent happy hours, is perched atop a hill overlooking the Eastside. The sandwiches, tacos, and other menu items are a cut above, too: organic and with options for vegetarians and vegans.

5. The Valley

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1206 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma, WA 98421
(253) 248-4265
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Folded neatly into Tacoma’s surly port, The Valley has been delightfully divey in one form or another since 1926, with the latest incarnation under the control of the folks behind such gems as Engine House No. 9 and Peaks and Pints. It’s all about hoagies and local beers here, to the tune of punk and classic rock from a live stage in the corner, with animal heads and band posters watching from the walls.

6. Wingman Brewers

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509 1/2 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma, WA 98421
(253) 256-5240
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Named for one of the founder’s grandfathers, a fighter plane-painting WW2 vet, Wingman has everything a drinker needs: darts, barrels, and knowledgeable staff pouring fantastic beer from the taps.

7. 7 Seas Brewery and Taproom

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2101 Jefferson Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 572-7770
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This Gig Harbor mainstay has spread its roots to Tacoma and the soil is good for growing. The massive interior hosts industrial brewing vats, a couple of shuffle board tables, a Valhalla coffee booth, and 3uilt’s next-level bar food. The rotating beers are made on the premises.

8. 1022 South J

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1022 S J St
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 627-8588
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This hip spot is home to serious drinks for the discerning palate, and yet it’s as friendly as a neighborhood bar should be, thanks to servers who give a damn.

9. Tacoma Brewing Company

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1116 Court E
Tacoma, WA 98402

This brewery puts out an intriguing array of libations like hard ginger ales, chocolate chili stouts, and Broken Window IPA (voted best in Tacoma during a blind tasting at a Tacoma Beer Week). It also features a number of guest taps from other local brewers. No food is served, so outside treats are encouraged.

10. En Rama

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1102 A St Suite 220
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 223-7184

Those awaiting the reopening of Tacoma’s iconic Hilltop Kitchen will find that it’s basically been reincarnated in the old postal building downtown: same owner, same killer execution, slightly different style. En Rama specializes in daring cocktails — like the Get Down, featuring mezcal with Ancho Verde, pineapple falernum, lime, two kinds of sherry, and chili salt — made to pair with minimalist pasta dishes, all splashed against an Art Deco backdrop.

Carly T./Yelp [Photo by Amelia Vaughn Photography]

11. Dorky's Arcade

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754 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 627-4156
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Pinball and Sega classics pair well with a fresh slug of beer and Dorky’s doesn’t skimp on either. Cheese stretching off a slice of pizza, the blaring beep-boop, and the clatter of quarters in more than 100 arcade machines make Dorky’s the perfect place to be, well, dorky.

Jizelle O./Yelp

12. Tacoma Cabana

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Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 222-4184
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The Tacoma Cabana nails the nostalgic, laid-back South Pacific style perfectly. Painkillers, Daiquiris, coconut, and rum add up to all the fruity goodness of island living without all the pesky sunshine.

13. Odd Otter Brewing Company

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716 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 327-1680
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This brewery was birthed from a Kickstarter campaign and is run from a community-renovated twisty-cozy space in downtown Tacoma by five local friends. If it’s unusual and fun — from a pint of the Ottermelon Hefeweizen to beer and yoga sessions Saturday mornings — the Odd Otter has it, 364 days a year (closed on Christmas).

14. The Mix

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635 Saint Helens Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 383-4327
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This LGBTQ bar in downtown Tacoma features excellent drinks, a modest dance floor, spirited karaoke nights, and a wonderful group of patrons. The owner, a college professor, opened The Mix seven years ago and it's been a community gathering place ever since.

Kellen Burden for Eater

15. Dystopian State Brewing Company

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611 S Baker St
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 302-3466
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The brand embraces dark sci-fi tropes with beer names like The Immolator (a Scotch ale that won a bronze medal in the 2017 Washington Beer Awards) but the building it occupies, a former car dealership in the heart of downtown Tacoma, is surprisingly less industrial than is typical of taprooms. It’s more like a wedding venue, with warm wood floors and ceilings, big windows, and plenty of open space, perfect for gathering around a large table with friends and an excellent ale.

16. Doyle's Public House

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208 St Helens Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 272-7468
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Specializing in pints, grub, and sports from across the pond, this dim and knick-knacky tavern is the place to go for those who wish to clink a glass of something dark while their favorite team plays football live, time difference be damned.

17. Parkway Tavern

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313 N I St #1
Tacoma, WA 98403
(253) 383-8748
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This tavern has been the heart and soul of Tacoma since 1935, spackled with accolades and lived in lovingly by its regular patrons and visitors. The team here knows their customers and their city and, unlike some old-school haunts, also knows their way around a tap. The sandwiches shouldn’t be missed either.

18. The Spar

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2121 N 30th St
Tacoma, WA 98403
(253) 627-8215
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The most classic of classics, with the Puget Slund stretching beyond its windows. Established in 1913 and perfumed lightly with fish oil, this homey brick bar bursts with the sounds of local laughter. The Spar serves the kind of fish and chips that might make a landlubber take to the sea.

19. Peaks and Pints

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3816 N 26th St b
Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 328-5621
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The fevered dream of beer aficionados comes to life in this freshly renovated beer hall, a collaboration of local business owners featuring a massive selection of suds from near and far catalogued by bitterness and type, served in glasses befitting their heritage. The bar food gets the same attention to detail, too; the menu focuses on sandwiches like pesto pastrami, all fresh and incredible.

20. Engine House No. 9

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611 N Pine St
Tacoma, WA 98406
(253) 272-3435
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Built beautifully to showcase the century-old bones of a fire station that relied on real horse power, Engine House No. 9 features a plethora of expertly brewed beers and some delicious bar food. E9’s range is wide, with fruited sours alongside solid IPAs and other standards, and an outdoor patio is a nice complement to a variety of well-lit indoor seating.

1. Beach Tavern

8612 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98465

The iconic Beach Tavern, serving meatloaf and pitchers in the shadow of the Narrows Bridge, came onto the bar scene only months after the repeal of prohibition and it’s been earning regulars ever since. The interior is as lively as the exterior is drab.

8612 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98465

2. The Mule Tavern

5227 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409

Although the Mule is relatively new to Tacoma’s storied bar scene, it has the timeless trappings of a business that intends to stick around: blacked out windows, neon Rainier signs, an owner cleaning glasses behind the counter. Despite the dive-bar design and the freezer-aisle White Castle sliders, though, the drinks are righteous. The Moscow Mule, the tavern’s signature item, is prepared with a housemade ginger beer that simply is not messing around.

5227 S Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409

3. Bob's Java Jive

2102 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409

On the National Register of Historic Places, this coffee pot-shaped bar has been rockin’ and rollin’, jumpin’ and jivin’ since 1927, hosting some of the world’s most famous musicians from Bing Crosby to The Ventures to Nirvana, and showing up in films like “I Love You to Death.” It’s struggled to stay relevant in recent years, though, despite weekly karaoke — maybe the next worldwide sensation will get their start performing for kicks in this nostalgic den.

2102 S Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409

4. Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

3529 McKinley Ave E, Tacoma, WA 98404

This revered neighborhood dive, chugging along like a well-oiled machine with affordable drinks and frequent happy hours, is perched atop a hill overlooking the Eastside. The sandwiches, tacos, and other menu items are a cut above, too: organic and with options for vegetarians and vegans.

3529 McKinley Ave E
Tacoma, WA 98404

5. The Valley

1206 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma, WA 98421

Folded neatly into Tacoma’s surly port, The Valley has been delightfully divey in one form or another since 1926, with the latest incarnation under the control of the folks behind such gems as Engine House No. 9 and Peaks and Pints. It’s all about hoagies and local beers here, to the tune of punk and classic rock from a live stage in the corner, with animal heads and band posters watching from the walls.

1206 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma, WA 98421

6. Wingman Brewers

509 1/2 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma, WA 98421

Named for one of the founder’s grandfathers, a fighter plane-painting WW2 vet, Wingman has everything a drinker needs: darts, barrels, and knowledgeable staff pouring fantastic beer from the taps.

509 1/2 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma, WA 98421

7. 7 Seas Brewery and Taproom

2101 Jefferson Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

This Gig Harbor mainstay has spread its roots to Tacoma and the soil is good for growing. The massive interior hosts industrial brewing vats, a couple of shuffle board tables, a Valhalla coffee booth, and 3uilt’s next-level bar food. The rotating beers are made on the premises.

2101 Jefferson Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

8. 1022 South J

1022 S J St, Tacoma, WA 98405

This hip spot is home to serious drinks for the discerning palate, and yet it’s as friendly as a neighborhood bar should be, thanks to servers who give a damn.

1022 S J St
Tacoma, WA 98405

9. Tacoma Brewing Company

1116 Court E, Tacoma, WA 98402

This brewery puts out an intriguing array of libations like hard ginger ales, chocolate chili stouts, and Broken Window IPA (voted best in Tacoma during a blind tasting at a Tacoma Beer Week). It also features a number of guest taps from other local brewers. No food is served, so outside treats are encouraged.

1116 Court E
Tacoma, WA 98402

10. En Rama

1102 A St Suite 220, Tacoma, WA 98402
Carly T./Yelp [Photo by Amelia Vaughn Photography]

Those awaiting the reopening of Tacoma’s iconic Hilltop Kitchen will find that it’s basically been reincarnated in the old postal building downtown: same owner, same killer execution, slightly different style. En Rama specializes in daring cocktails — like the Get Down, featuring mezcal with Ancho Verde, pineapple falernum, lime, two kinds of sherry, and chili salt — made to pair with minimalist pasta dishes, all splashed against an Art Deco backdrop.

1102 A St Suite 220
Tacoma, WA 98402

11. Dorky's Arcade

754 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Jizelle O./Yelp

Pinball and Sega classics pair well with a fresh slug of beer and Dorky’s doesn’t skimp on either. Cheese stretching off a slice of pizza, the blaring beep-boop, and the clatter of quarters in more than 100 arcade machines make Dorky’s the perfect place to be, well, dorky.

754 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

12. Tacoma Cabana

Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

The Tacoma Cabana nails the nostalgic, laid-back South Pacific style perfectly. Painkillers, Daiquiris, coconut, and rum add up to all the fruity goodness of island living without all the pesky sunshine.

Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

13. Odd Otter Brewing Company

716 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

This brewery was birthed from a Kickstarter campaign and is run from a community-renovated twisty-cozy space in downtown Tacoma by five local friends. If it’s unusual and fun — from a pint of the Ottermelon Hefeweizen to beer and yoga sessions Saturday mornings — the Odd Otter has it, 364 days a year (closed on Christmas).

716 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

14. The Mix

635 Saint Helens Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98407
Kellen Burden for Eater

This LGBTQ bar in downtown Tacoma features excellent drinks, a modest dance floor, spirited karaoke nights, and a wonderful group of patrons. The owner, a college professor, opened The Mix seven years ago and it's been a community gathering place ever since.

635 Saint Helens Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98407

15. Dystopian State Brewing Company

611 S Baker St, Tacoma, WA 98402

The brand embraces dark sci-fi tropes with beer names like The Immolator (a Scotch ale that won a bronze medal in the 2017 Washington Beer Awards) but the building it occupies, a former car dealership in the heart of downtown Tacoma, is surprisingly less industrial than is typical of taprooms. It’s more like a wedding venue, with warm wood floors and ceilings, big windows, and plenty of open space, perfect for gathering around a large table with friends and an excellent ale.

611 S Baker St
Tacoma, WA 98402

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16. Doyle's Public House

208 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

Specializing in pints, grub, and sports from across the pond, this dim and knick-knacky tavern is the place to go for those who wish to clink a glass of something dark while their favorite team plays football live, time difference be damned.

208 St Helens Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402

17. Parkway Tavern

313 N I St #1, Tacoma, WA 98403

This tavern has been the heart and soul of Tacoma since 1935, spackled with accolades and lived in lovingly by its regular patrons and visitors. The team here knows their customers and their city and, unlike some old-school haunts, also knows their way around a tap. The sandwiches shouldn’t be missed either.

313 N I St #1
Tacoma, WA 98403

18. The Spar

2121 N 30th St, Tacoma, WA 98403

The most classic of classics, with the Puget Slund stretching beyond its windows. Established in 1913 and perfumed lightly with fish oil, this homey brick bar bursts with the sounds of local laughter. The Spar serves the kind of fish and chips that might make a landlubber take to the sea.

2121 N 30th St
Tacoma, WA 98403

19. Peaks and Pints

3816 N 26th St b, Tacoma, WA 98407

The fevered dream of beer aficionados comes to life in this freshly renovated beer hall, a collaboration of local business owners featuring a massive selection of suds from near and far catalogued by bitterness and type, served in glasses befitting their heritage. The bar food gets the same attention to detail, too; the menu focuses on sandwiches like pesto pastrami, all fresh and incredible.

3816 N 26th St b
Tacoma, WA 98407

20. Engine House No. 9

611 N Pine St, Tacoma, WA 98406

Built beautifully to showcase the century-old bones of a fire station that relied on real horse power, Engine House No. 9 features a plethora of expertly brewed beers and some delicious bar food. E9’s range is wide, with fruited sours alongside solid IPAs and other standards, and an outdoor patio is a nice complement to a variety of well-lit indoor seating.

611 N Pine St
Tacoma, WA 98406

Related Maps