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We're Thankful for these bars

The Weekly Volcano is thankful for these spots to toast pre-Thanksgiving good times

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Is it possible for a bar to save your life? The Weekly Volcano thinks so. Whether you’re looking for cocktails and conversation or a place to brood, your favorite bar, tavern or lounge can be a home away from home. These are the places you go to commiserate, to communicate, or to just get rocked. And this Thanksgiving, as we all prepare to give a bit more in the way of thanks for what we have, we thought we’d give it up to those watering holes that keep us sane.


Don’t expect me to shut up about Asado anytime soon because it’s just not going to happen. I LOVE the Asado bar, especially with the way it’s set up socially. Sitting on one side, you can admire all of the people in the dining room. My favorite seat is on the other side that’s elevated and looks down on all the people in the bar including 30-somethings on up. There are always so many pretty people there to watch! I’ll take any drink that’s been created by Andi the bartender. I’ll eat any food that comes out of that kitchen (I’m currently dreaming about the flat iron and the roasted corn). My apologies go to any No. 1 bus driver who takes me home after a happy hour there: I’m not another crazy person, I’m just a girl with a slight buzz and a happy belly. — Natasha Gorbachev

[2810 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Ben Dew’s Clubhouse Grill

Sometimes, you just want to pull up to a place, park your car without a hassle, and get a damn drink. Ben Dew’s is just what the doctor ordered. A haven for drivers waiting out Narrows Bridge traffic, or working folks stopping for a quick one on the way home, the lounge at Ben Dew’s is perpetually packed. The crowd may be just past their prime and way too loud, but they are the friendliest group of goofballs you’d every want to drink with. — Deena Moody

[6501 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Brotherhood Lounge

When I first ended up in Olympia, the Brotherhood intimidated me. Even from the outside you can see it’s the coolest bar in town, and to be honest, when I first arrived in Oly I didn’t feel very cool. Luckily, I came to my senses. Not only is the Brotherhood the coolest bar in Olympia, it’s also one of the friendliest. For my money, a Maker’s on the rocks, a game of shuffleboard and a smoke out back is hard to beat. You can do all of that and more at the Broho. The stacked jukebox is just icing. — Matt Driscoll

[119 Capitol Way N., Olympia]


There are few true theme bars in the South Sound. Sure there are Irish bars and even a few country western holes-in-the-wall, but there are really no bars that have a feel all their own, except for CANS that is. This self-proclaimed dive bar is a tavern ode to white trash with its cans of beer specials and all things trailer park. It is Spanaway without the pregnant 15-year-old girl in the White Snake T-shirt living in the next mobile home, even though it is located next to the Frank Russell Building. Thursdays feature 50-cent drinks and no cover charge for the ladies. ’Nuff said. — Steve Dunkelberger

[100 South Ninth St., Tacoma]

C.I. Shenanigan’s

Upscale, polished, and offering a happy hour that can’t be beat, Shenanigans is the ideal place to go for drinks with coworkers, clients or hey, even friends. Buy one get one free appetizers? Yeah, that’s right. Buy an order of organic kalbi chicken wings (yum, yum!) and the pesto Panini is free. Microbrews from Bighorn Brewery are just $3 at Happy Hour (try the Porter), well drinks just three bucks too. Sitting at the bar, looking out at Commencement Bay and sipping on a cold on … sign me up. — Deena Moody

[3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma]

The Clipper

The Clipper, located on Fourth Avenue near the Clubside and the Eastside Tavern, is not the coolest bar in Olympia. But don’t hold that against it. For all the “coolness” the Clipper lacks, the stiffness of their drinks more than makes up for it. Even the fact that my favorite bartender at the Clipper is a Chargers fan doesn’t get on my nerves when he’s served me two drinks and I’m already slurring my speech. Call me a purist, but I really love a bar that gets you loaded. The Clipper, if nothing else, definitely gets you loaded. — Matt Driscoll

[402 Fourth Ave E., Olympia]

Cloverleaf Pizza

Thank the non-smoking Gods (or whatever animal force you believe in) for making our town a breathe-easy place. Gone are the days of exiting a night at the Cloverleaf smelling like Bobble Tiki’s ashtray. A beautiful new air filter system and months of refurbishing have made this Tacoma pizza landmark a place to chill out in again. A pitcher of beer, a salami and pepperoncini pizza, and a table full of all your closest friends. That right there, folks, is what I like to call an “Old School Tacoma Orgy.” Speaking of orgies, want to bring the kids? Did you know they’ve added on? There is now a family-friendly area in the back. This area also hosts large parties and is incredibly painted as though you are sitting in Safeco field. Add a separate beer tap just for this room, and you have a DeRosa family gathering with my in-laws. Time to get out the boxing gloves and drama medicine.

Tip from Steph: Call ahead and order your pizza if you’re in a hurry. Don’t expect the pizza to take less than 45 minutes to an hour on a Friday or Saturday night. Definitely worth the wait, though. — Steph DeRosa

[6430 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

The Crown Bar

The Crown Bar fits Sixth Avenue like its name fits Charlie McManus: sure, he was loosely inspired by a bar in Belfast, but really, since he is a member of Tacoma restaurant nobility, heck, give the man a crown.

It’s only apropos that the interior, resplendent with silver-river-rocked-fireplace, embellished with art by Tacoma-art nobility James Hume, also echoes the regal theme. But before you get to thinking it’s going to be all stuffy, you realize the menu of small bites reminds you of the pub fare you enjoyed in the United Kingdom and abroad, like curried ketchup and casual favorites heavy on the meat — but favoring a commitment to sustainable local agriculture.

Throw in some top-shelf spirits and a Pimms and rosemary cocktail that will make you smile with memories of places not Tacoma, and you have a royal good time in a royally cool place. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Doyle’s Public House

My adventures at Doyle’s started within its first week of being open, and a month of me writing for this paper. I plopped my unidentified self down and started asking suspicious questions. Co-owner Russ Heaton accused me of being Lois Lane (he was right) and would grow to become one of the best friends I’ve ever had. So, yah, I’m totally partial, but let me list a few of the things that I really heart about Doyle’s. The staff is so amazing like Brian, TK, Leah, Jane, Nicky Dubs and Shelby. Their events (St. Practice Day every 17th of the month) and holidays (open 365) are always a blast. They’ve done an amazing job of attracting regulars that you’ll actually want to sit next to. Their microbrews are UK-based and always de-lish. It’s right up the hill from my day job. It’s without a doubt one of the places in Tacoma that I call home. — Natasha Gorbachev

[208 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma]

El Gaucho

Spendy spend o’spendy spend. What’s great about the piano bar at El Gaucho is this — it’s not loud. There is a lovely calm here, and with gorgeous woods, comfy seating, proper lighting and the heady smell of smartly prepared dinner fare. Who wouldn’t be in heaven? But now I give you the real reason to go there — the classy, talented men playing piano. Don’t get me wrong, I love punk rock, but this place speaks to my finer side. Every now and again change is good, especially musically. Who doesn’t dig listening to the twinkling sound of the ivories being handled with such finesse by a jazzy guy in a tux? — Jennifer Johnson

[2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma]

Taqeria El Guadalajara

Everyone needs a bar where they’re not worried about making an ass out of themselves. Everyone needs somewhere they can drink carefree, without regard for social appearances. At least I do. For me, that bar is El Guadalajara. From the street, El Guadalajara resembles a typical Mexican restaurant. But in back at the bar, a rowdy selection of old-pro drunks and first-time vomitters throw back booze with abandon. The food is good, but that’s the case at many Mexican estaurants. El Guadalajara sets itself apart with liquor, and I’m thankful for it. — Matt Driscoll

[110 Tacoma Ave. N., Tacoma]

Engine House No. 9

Frat boys, sorority girls and “independents” come in droves to partake of their lager of choice. It is often the first stop on the infamous “21 Run,” which ends with liquor and death-metal at Hell’s Kitchen up the street. The food is on par with most pub-style cuisine in the area, but the attraction may be more ephemeral. Many people enjoy the sense of Tacoma’s history in spirit, as E9 has been a tavern for more than 35 years, and in the old photographs that deck the walls and provide a distraction from that pointless obliterated conversation you began with someone in your Chemistry lab. — Suzy Stump

[611 North Pine, Tacoma]

Harbor Lights

Generations of Tacoma natives know where to find the toughest drink in town (and believe me, that’s a good thing). Rivaled only by the Hob Nob, Harbor Lights makes cocktails for customers who know what they want. These waitresses have been slinging drinks for years, and are true professionals, but what keeps me coming back are the patrons. Harbor Lights is the finest place in town for witnessing senior citizens acting the fool. After all, this is the place your Grandparents come to get their shine on. And do they ever. — Deena Moody

[2761 Ruston Way, Tacoma]

Harmon Brewery and Restaurant

The most successful brewhall story of Tacoma’s recent past is that of the 10-year-old Harmon Brewing Company since it opened its doors when there was a whole lot of nothing for people to do in the City of Destiny. The bar is a triple threat to other places since it offers great food, a wonderful atmosphere and some of the best crafted beers found through Tacoma’s rich beer heritage. There is the wheatened wonder found in the Mount Takhoma Blonde Ale and the bitter bite of the Brown’s Point ESB or the light and crisp Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale. Every brew is a masterpiece almost too good to drink. We love it for that. But wait, then there is the Puget Sound Porter. Now that is good beer. And the Point Defiance IPA speaks for itself. Get the idea? — Steve Dunkelberger

[1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma]

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen has now been located at Sixth and Proctor for more than five years. While many bars and music venues have occupied the same real estate in the history of Tacoma, none has had the impact of Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is slimy, smelly, raucous, and rowdy. Hell’s Kitchen is tawdry, tantalizing, titillating, and testosterone heavy. Hell’s Kitchen is gritty, grimy, drunk, and disorderly. Pretty much, Hell’s Kitchen is Tacoma. Without the club, not only would I have one less cool place to get drunk and fall down while going deaf to metal music, but as a music writer in Tacoma, I probably wouldn’t have a job. — Matt Driscoll

[3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Hob Nob’s Sidedoor Lounge

The average person hearing this establishment’s name envisions old people eating Yankee Pot Roast while looking out at Wright Park. Well, let me point out the side door entrance to the lounge in the alley. Remodeled to look swanky yet relaxed, the Hob Nob Sidedoor Lounge is as easy going as the drinks are to guzzle. The bartenders rotate like a revolving door, but one thing’s always consistent — seriously good drinks with a highlight on the late night menu. — Jennifer Johnson

[716 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]


Throwing back sashimi while listening to George Clinton, The Smithereens, Savoy Brown, as well as Tacoma’s darling — Vicci Martinez. Where else but Jazzbones? The ambiance and total package of the place are the real sellers: combining art, music, dining and cocktails with the perfect degree of each. However, the staff really do make this place one of the Weekly Volcano’s favorite bars. — Suzy Stump

[2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Le Voyeur

Le Voyeur is everything an Olympia joint should be: tiny, charmingly weird, crawling with memorable characters and packed with Evergreen State College students. This is the ideal place to grab a veggie meal, gripe about a teacher or blot out the memory of being a student all together, while a punk band, sometimes famous, always interesting, jams in the tiny room in the back. — Brad Allen

[404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia]

The Loft

Crank up the outside temperature 40 degrees and you could be smack in the heart of Daytona Beach’s spring break at The Loft. Of course, you’d have to remove about 75 percent (45 percent for the women) of the crowds’ clothing to complete the picture, but the disposition and mindset here are undeniably that of an older college party — not many who are worried about a baby-sitter yet. — Brad Allen

[2106 Pacific Ave., Tacoma]

Longhorn Saloon

The walls are adorned with colorful posters and a number of authentic longhorn skulls. Behind the U-shaped bar are four 36-inch flat screen televisions and friendly personnel. The list of libations and finger foods is long, varied and good. Hell, let’s cut to the chase. You can smoke a stogie here. — Brad Allen

[1011 Bridgeport Way S.W., Lakewood]

Magoo’s Annex

It’s the quintessential neighborhood bar. The layout is perfect for a private moment with a friend or a loud ruckus with a full posse. The pool table is always taken, but the sport lover can play foosball with local greats. The crowd leans toward UPS students. — Suzy Stump

[2710 North 21st, Tacoma]


Where can you wash tongue and hot salsa down with an obscenely expensive flight of tequila?

Masa, baby.

OK, so I should mention the tongue is a dish, the Salsa, a rhythmic style of dance and music, and the obscenely expensive tequila — several different types  — obscenely good.

While the tongue wasn’t exactly a dish I will revisit any time in my sober future, the heat of the Salsa and the swell of the crowd at “Club Masa” (the Friday and Saturday night transformation from restaurant to nightclub) is a tempting scene that must be observed from within to be appreciated.

But then there’s the side of Masa that is the lazy Sunday afternoon snack and sip for two; I enjoy shrimp cocktail and white wine while he sips on beer and dives indelicately into his tacos; together we drink in the magical mural and mellow ambience. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

The Matador

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for sex, and the Matador seems to know how to do me up right. It’s got hard wood, dark ambience, and it will wine me and dine me and feed me tequila until I say “take me home.” It has everything a swinging bachelor could offer, including the large mirrors, velvet drapes, a fireplace and sensual music. This place IS my Latin lover. Tasty signature margaritas using only the finest liquors are just a part of what makes this place roll. Happy Hour here is not typical, mind you. You won’t find cheap chili fries and onion rings here, no-sir-ee. Happy Hour at Matador consists of steak tacos that melt in your mouth and Tex-Mex spring rolls that make me orgasm. (We’re talkin’ sex, remember?) And it’s all for under $5. Call me a cheap whore, I don’t care.  As pretty as it is, the fire pit gets hot. Sit back and just admire it from a booth. — Steph DeRosa

[721 Pacific Ave., Tacoma]

McMenamins Spar Café

The Spar Café was an Olympia landmark long before the noted Portland tavern and hotel operators bought and renovated it a year ago. The new look only makes it more of a place to go in the Capital City. Its crafted beers and pub food go well with its historic features and private booths for intimate dining. It has a long-running history from its original days as a blue-collar joint for dockworkers and loggers to its modern reinterpretation as a gathering spot for students, politicians and legislators. Among the most notable beers is the Scarecrow ESB, which offers a bite and snap that wins awards and takes no prisoners. — Steve Dunkelberger

[114 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia]

The Monsoon Room

Three words can sum up the The Monsoon Room on Hilltop Tacoma: small, dark and cool. Stepping through the doors feels like stepping back in time into a hip 1950s Honolulu club. This gem consists of a dimly lit room lined with exotic fixtures, DJs spinning jazz, house and garage, and a sweet outdoor station for smokers that doesn’t make them feel like lepers or societal rejects. Hand-crafted cocktails truly make this lounge tops. They incorporate ingredients you never heard into masterpieces — both visual and taste. — Suzy Stump

[1022 S. J St., Tacoma]

Parkway Tavern

The Parkway is the sort of place that is sort of the bible of the beer world. Now that it stole Nick “the beer Oracle” Brosier from the Steilacoom Deli and Pub a few months ago, it is the multi-denominational church of beer. If anyone wants to sample the best brews the art of fermentation has to offer, this would be the place to go since it has one of the longest altars dedicated to beer in the Sound Sound. This bar just west of downtown Tacoma is a place to go after a hard day’s work while you wait for the traffic to die down. — Steve Dunkelberger

[313 N. I St., Tacoma]

Pour At Four

I confess, I have been known to eye the clock, pacing, bottle in hand, waiting for the magic moment when the numbers 5:00 blink over.
Unless it’s a weekend, then I relax my rule, and I wait for the magic 3:00.
But I love that in one soothingly friendly and warm spot in Proctor, the difference is split, and the magic begins at 4:00.

Truth be told, the magic happens in true wine-bar fashion, beginning at 2 p.m., though the wine tastings and other events typically happen later, if you feel like you’ve said “I drink socially” enough to make you feel you need to have a crowd to pop a cork or two.

Truly delectable small plates mean you can also tell others that it “isn’t really a wine bar, it’s more a restaurant,” and your cover won’t be blown. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[3814 N. 26th St., Tacoma]

The Red Hot

Don’t blink as you drive by or you’ll miss it. This small, energetic beer and hotdoggery joint has a 49-person capacity. Just enough room to feel like you are friends with everyone in there, and no matter where you sit you are part of the action. The big screen on the wall lends itself to Seahawks games, movie nights, and after-hours porn. (Just kidding about the porn. Maybe.) Chris Trashcan, owner of Red Hot, is a Steelers fan. But that certainly shouldn’t be a reason not to go in and frequent the cold, cold kegs of beer he keeps at a chilly 35 degrees. And don’t go thinking you’re too good to eat a hot dog. Once you taste these perfect dogs covered in fresh toppings such as coleslaw and cream cheese, you’ll never be the same.
Tip from Steph: Take a Moonpie for the ride home. — Steph DeRosa

[2914 6th Ave, Suite B, Tacoma]

Pacific Grill

The sophisticated hipster in me feels so elegant and cared for every time my John Fluevog heels set foot in this restaurant’s bar. However, don’t let the gorgeous high-ceiling brick walls, amazing lighting, and swanky looking people fool you. Most of the folks there are nibbling on any one of the tasty snacks and treats that are dirt cheap during happy hour. I can’t for a second diss the full menu, created by Chef/owner Gordon Naccarato, Executive Chef Aaron Valimont and their crew (did you know they’re now doing breakfast and lunch food to go?!), but I just can’t keep my fingers away from the meat candy, the cheeseburger sliders, the blue cheese tater tots or the classic grilled cheese. As far as drinks go, phenomenal bartenders like Lovely Larry are fusing graceful ingredients, and all of the staff will treat you like the king or queen that you are. — Natasha Gorbachev

[1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma]

Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub

Speaking to Patrick Coyne himself, you would almost think he’s faking that thick Irish accent. But alas, he is in fact the REAL DEAL. On any given night you can walk into this downtown Tacoma Irish pub and take a mental teleport into Ireland. (Minus the toothless football players singing Irish jigs.) Saturday night hosts traditional live music, décor is mirror image of perfection, and the beer is spot on. Although they carry all liquors, it’s the beer my belly craves when I enter an Irish pub. Don’t miss out on the true half-and-half beers they will proudly pour you from their grand silver taps. Then passing it along over the shiny, wooden, enveloping bar that makes you want to sit and drink forever … and flirt with the cute bartender.  — Steph DeRosa

[815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.6963]

Puget Sound Pizza

Start out in a small space in downtown Tacoma. Add five-star pizza. People arrive. Hire a hip staff. More people arrive. Serve hangover breakfasts on the weekend. Clientele grows. Knock down a wall and add a lounge. Hipsters arrive. Add rocking karaoke on weekend nights. Add Tacoma’s fun singers. Serve pizza late into the night. Weekly Volcano scribe Brad Allen moves in. Lesson? Start small and confident, create demand, introduce new offerings, expand at the right time, and presto: Puget Sound Pizza rules. — Suzy Stump

[South Seventh and St Helens Avenue, Tacoma]

Ram Restaurant & Brewery

Although it’s tempting to make fun of every element of the Ram restaurant empire, the original was my favorite — located in the old Villa Plaza. However, there really isn’t a better place to catch the game; DJs spin at the Puyallup location, and many of the bartenders have been slinging drinks for a long time. When it comes to making drinks, I appreciate experience. — Brad Allen

[3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma; 10019 59th Ave., Lakewood; 103 35th Ave. S.E., Puyallup; 8100 \'C\' Freedom Lane N.E., Lacey]

The Schooner

It’s old, it’s crowded, it’s filled with nautical stuff. The burgers are the best in the area. The game is always on. The prices make you wonder how they stay in business. The Schooner is not only one of the best joints in Lakewood, it is one of the best joints in the world. — Brad Allen

[100th and Bridgeport Way S.W., Lakewood]

The Spar

How can you not love a bar located on the premises of what might potentially have been a whorehouse ? (Come on, “Five girls and a piano player” seems pretty much code for “insert money and something else, here,” don’t you agree?)
When the building was rebuilt in its current state in 1916, it housed men’s garb, billiards, and a restaurant called the Spar, which had soft drinks that bootleggers could “help out” while the bartender looked away, muttering, “Oh look, a butterfly!”. 
Later, it served hard liquor, but eventually went to “beer and wine” tavern status, where it remains today, serving caffeine as well as “good food at reasonable prices” where you can sit with friends and marvel at the view, the range of homies — in this spot, the middle-aged homeowner sips with the odd frat boy from the nearby University of Puget Sound — and the vibe in a space where sordid history and gentrified location meet with delicious results. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma]

Spud’s Pizza Parlor Trophy Room

I’m a little nervous to write about this specific establishment because it’s my secret place that I go to so I can get away from all of you people, but I just can’t hide a good thing. Spud’s back bar, the Trophy Room (truly full of lots of trophies), is plain and simply awesome. It’s where I’m free to be incognito, enjoy some sports, and soak up enough Bud Lights while sinking back in my chair. They have the best greasy pizza, salads mounted high with cheese, it’s dimly lit, and contains jovial regulars who don’t give a flying crap about who I am. I have to give mad props to my Tacoma native homeboy Oly for introducing me to it. This is one of my favorite places to go to plot the adventures that you read about in this here paper. Natasha who? — Natasha Gorbachev

[7025 Pacific Ave, Tacoma]

Steilacoom Pub & Deli

Webster’s dictionary has a photo of Steilacoom Deli & Pub next to the definition of neighborhood bar. It’s the sort of place where you could either go to meet someone new by just saddling up to the bar, drink a cold one by yourself, or gather with a few friends over a few pints and a game of darts. It often gets overlooked by city dwellers since it is so off the beaten path, but wow those asphalt jungle walkers are missing out by not putting this bar on their route. It is Cheers of the South Sound. And we love it for that. — Steve Dunkelberger

[1202 Rainier St., Steilacoom]

The Swiss Pub

A legend in this town, the Swiss, is still the number one answer to “What do you wanna do tonight?” One of the few places left in town where you can hear live music, shoot pool, throw down decent grub and partake of a full bar, the Swiss is running like a finely tuned machine, and serving throngs of Tacomans from 21 to 71 every weekend. Whenever I feel like socializing, meeting new people, and behaving like I just turned 21, the Swiss still smiles and let’s me in. — Deena Moody

[1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma]

The Tacoma Club

Perched on the 16th Floor of the Well’s Fargo building in downtown Tacoma, the stoic faces of Tacoma’s founding fathers greet you as you enter this hidden gem of a lounge. The Tacoma Club may be private, but if you can latch on to a member for entry, you’ll be treated like family. The rooms are reminiscent of a bygone era, as is the service. General Manager Jonny dresses to the nines, carries a pocket watch on a gold chain and always charms the clientele. The views are outstanding, the bartenders witty and the food delectable. — Deena Moody

[1201 Pacific Ave., 16th Floor, Tacoma]

Top of Tacoma Bar and Café

Take an area that needed salvation, toss in a gem of co-owner Jaime Kay Newton, who knows how to handle herself in any social situation, and mix a splendid drink, add her sweet street smart partner, Jason J. Jones and neighbors who have been dying to have a cool place in their neighborhood, and POW! — there’s the Top of Tacoma Bar and (opening in December) Café. I still can’t believe that I’m on the Eastside (in my hood!) when I’m there and that every night of the week (open 365) there are such fun buddies all around. I adore all of the vintage-like posters on the wall, the toy top glass light fixture, the SWEET juke box, that in the men’s bathroom they kept the wallpaper with boobs and put glitter over the nipples, and that Jaime Kay has a wireless microphone to make announcements that bring a smile to my face. — Natasha Gorbachev

[3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma]

Vin Grotto Café and Wine Bar

As much as I love beer, there’s something about cool afternoons and cold nights that beg for a deep, oaky glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Or Zinfandel. Or Syrah. Or Meritage. Yeah, I’d say yes if any one of them asked me out. I like them just that much. So you may think, “Hey now, I can get wine at pretty much any wine bar in Tacoma.” This is true. But, it’s not the same if they don’t have the right food to compliment your wine. Perfect cheeses, warm crusty breads, olive oils, figs, nuts, soups sandwiches, salads, man oh man they have it all. I have yet to ever swallow anything from there that did not make me feel I was breastfeeding on Heaven’s bosom.

Tip from Steph: Remember, it’s OK to drink wine at lunch, too. — Steph DeRosa

[813 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.722.5079]

Tempest Lounge

Appropriate that “Tempest” is an amazing work of literature dealing with fabulous family legacies, a wee bit of treachery, a little bit of drunkenness and long sleep, and a happy ending. Defined, a tempest is a severe storm, possibly an emotional upheaval.

The latter “tempest” isn’t so much the spirit of the little lounge on the hilltop that could, though the energy level of the Tempest who co-owns the spot with the Douglas could be considered to be a natural phenomenon on par with a storm.

But no, what Tempest brings to the “Best Bars” table is a little bit of pin-up, a lot of friendly acceptance, and a soothingly hip interior that feels like a comfortable oasis where tales of treachery and family legacies can be savored along with light bites and desserts that satisfy, and drinks that help to create happy endings. — Jessica Corey-Butler

[913 Martin Luther King Jr., Tacoma]

Unicorn Tavern

Admittedly, I don’t much care where I get drunk. Whether it’s a swanky location or in front of the boob tube, the important thing is I’m getting my drink on (as the kids say). However I’m not above (or below) taking note when a bar occupies truly impressive real estate. The Unicorn is just such a bar. Not much on the inside, the Unicorn resides in a quite Ruston neighborhood, and boasts a spectacular view to go with its extra stiff drinks. Just beware of the cops. It is Ruston, after all. — Matt Driscoll

[5402 N. 45th St., Ruston]

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