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Drinking in the Sun

A survival guide to getting buzzed on a South Sound deck or patio

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Drinking inside is great. Drinking in the rain can be comforting. Drinking in the basement of your mom’s house can ease the pain.

But, really, does anything beat drinking a refreshing adult beverage outside in the Northwest summer at one of our area’s many bar and restaurant decks and patios?

Aside from curing cancer and world hunger, the answer is no. Nothing beats drinking outside. This time of year, it’s as good as it gets.

In that spirit, the hardworking and stone-livered scribes that make the Weekly Volcano tick have put together a list to end all lists — the Weekly Volcano’s Drinking in the Sun survival guide to getting buzzed on a South Sound deck or patio. It’s kind of a mouthful, but that’s how we like it here at the Volcano.

Enjoy, and drink up. — Matt Driscoll

ANTHONY’S HEARTHFIRE GRILL
1675 Marine Dr. N.E., Olympia, 360.705.3473
One of the newest members to the Anthony’s family, Anthony’s Hearthfire in Olympia is a welcome addition. With ample outdoor seating and an amazing happy hour, this restaurant/bar is a local favorite. Nestled along the waters of Budd Bay, the view alone is worth the trip. Combine that with 3 for $3 hamburger or salmon burger sliders and $5 calamari plates with one of Anthony’s bargain drink specialties and you’re in happy hour heaven. Patio and lounge are first come, first serve, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, come prepared to enjoy. — Nikki Talotta
What to drink: Lemondrop, $5
Entertainment: Seal or kayak watching

THE BAYVIEW CAFÉ
229 St Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.2792
The Bayview’s got, well, a bay view. Commencement Bay, to be exact, and it’s a nice one. The deck has plenty of chairs — a whopping 40 — in which to sit while you choose from one of the best arrays of burgers downtown. This is a great after-work spot, or a place to head at sunset — especially if you like mac ’n’ cheese and other comfort foods. If you’re able to manifest hunger in this heat, try the meatball sandwich, laced with hand-formed meatballs, a nice red sauce and melted provolone on a French roll. The burger options are too elaborate and too many to list. Trust us. Your options are good. — Paul Schrag
What to drink: Beer and wine, plus endless soft drinks and iced tea for $2.25.
Entertainment: Watch the boats come in, and watch out for seagulls.

THE BROTHERHOOD
119 Capitol Way N., Olympia, 360.352.4153
The patio tacked onto the back of the Brotherhood Lounge is a good place to be on one of the hottest days of the Olympian year. As the temperature broke 90, the Broho patio teemed with people sweating out their days’ work: twentysomethings kicked back with PBRs and smokes while a single career-lookin’ lady sipped a bright pink cocktail and giggled into her iPhone. Fit to welcome bar patrons from all walks of life, the space is adorned with 10 or so tables, Christmas lights and a corrugated metal roof shielding drinkers from the sun. And while the chain link border keeps the air flowing on the hotter days, heat lamps keep you from freezing your fingers off in the winter. — Marie Landau
What to drink: In the Olympia spirit, go for a whiskey and PBR; for non-alcos, ginger ale mixed on the spot
Entertainment: Pool table, shuffle board, pinball, Sunday movie nights (7 p.m., free!) and live DJs on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays

C.I. SHENANIGAN’S
3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.752.8811
Megalophobia is the fear of large objects. Taken into the context of what C.I. Shenanigan’s contains (a restaurant), it can be kind of terrifying. It is a horrifically large restaurant. The outdoor patio is enormous and shockingly packed at 2:30 p.m. There’s a bus station and mini-bar just for the patio. The tables are nicely covered with umbrellas, and the hostesses are tasty. Finally, if you don’t care to be outside, you can go to the bar, which is lined with numerous large flat screen televisions constantly playing sports. — Chuck Dula
What to drink: Something big
Entertainment: Big televisions and tasty hostesses

THE DOCK
535 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.272.5004
Dock Street Landing — now The Dock since Gwendolyn Stence bought it — has a manly deck. What in tarnation is a manly deck, you ask. Good question. A manly deck is a place that holds special appeal for men. The Dock’s deck sits on top of a pier, is no-frills, sits across from the gritty Port of Tacoma, and fishermen often tie up to the dock and make their way up the plank. How’s that for manly? The Dock is sporting a new menu as of this week featuring manly burgers (half-pound patty, guys!), Rocky Shore Oyster Burger, pizza bread, hot wings, Firstmate’s Seafood Platter, and more. Oh, this deck in no way excludes the fairer sex. — Michael Swan
What to drink: Pitchers of Bud and shots
Entertainment: Sports on the flat screen, pool table and watching the fishermen make their way back to their boats

DOYLE’S PUBLIC HOUSE
208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7468
Doyle’s is raw and simple. If you’re looking for a no-frills sidewalk in the shade with a smattering of tables, good people and plenty of fantastic beers, Doyle’s Public House, or its front patio, is your place. This is the beauty of simplicity in action with a solid draught selection. Pints of Smithwick’s Irish Ale, Hoegaarden Wit, good old Beamish and Carlsberg, Bellhaven Twisted Thistle, Fuller’s Mr. Harry and, all praises, Aventinus, will help you realize that a table by the sidewalk can be just like heaven. — PS
What to drink: Ah, the U.K. Collection. Carefully cultivated, this list includes Chimay Red and Blue, Green King Abbot Ale, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (try this with a scoop of ice-cream if you have the sack), and Wychwood Hobgoblin.
Entertainment: Sports on the teevee! Doyle’s opens early for soccer.

DUKE’S CHOWDER HOUSE
3327 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.752.5444
Although happy hour is not valid on this popular Tacoma waterfront deck, Duke’s has managed to compensate its guests in more ways than Denise Richards is an overrated celebrity. Take advantage of Duke’s “deck specials” as you hide behind your shades and inconspicuously check out the hot women at the next table.  (Don’t worry; they’ll never know you’re looking. Trust me on this.)  If by some chance there is not a seat left in the sun, no worries.  My favorite bartender, Kelby, will hook you up with her famous cucumber mojito and send you on your way — never knowing what you might’ve missed out on that deck. — Steph DeRosa
What to drink: Sweet tea flavored vodka mixed with fresh lemonade, $5.50
Entertainment: Did you not read the lesson above concerning sunglass stalking?

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 9
611 North Pine, Tacoma, 253.272.3435
This Tacoma landmark tavern is best known as the place to go to hit on college boys and girls during the school year, but its summer schedule offers a quasi-picnic setting on the front patio. The pub food is better than most joints. The burrito is a winner.  What makes this joint stand out is its neighborhood vibe and historical setting, complete with vintage firefighting bunker gear, photos and E9‘s version of Tacoma Brew — a close replica of a recipe dating back to the late 1800s. — Steve Dunkelberger
What to drink: Tacoma Brew, $2.50 on Tuesday
Entertainment: Coed eye candy, history

HARBOR LIGHTS
2761 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.752.8600
New to the area?  Then please allow me to educate you.  There are three facts every sworn-in citizen of Tacoma knows: Ski-caps are in style no matter what the weather; tan legs during summer months are optional, and Harbor Lights has the strongest drinks in town.  For this, we bow our heads in respect to Harbor Lights’ no happy hour drink specials policy. With just five tiny, two-person tables on the Harbor Lights’ deck, it’s no wonder there are removable walls inside the sunroom.  Housing this separate sunroom is a wall of windows that open fully onto the teensy deck, exposing its guests to all of the wonderful bay-side elements Ruston has to offer. — Steph D 
What to drink: Cheap and tasty glasses of wine will cost you a mere $4 per glass.
Entertainment: Eavesdropping is easily accomplished in this closely seated arena.

HARMON BREWERY AND RESTAURANT
1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739
The Harmon just does it classic. Plenty of big tables, shade, cold beer, and a finely tuned outdoor serving staff. This hometown brewpub, resting at 21st and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s University and Museum districts, rocks a 15-barrel brewing operation that turns out five flagship ales and seasonal brews all on tap. Brews are backed by a diverse menu of pub fare, including stone-baked pizzas and tons of burgers and sandwiches. — PS
What to drink: Harmon signature brews, no question. Light-bodied pilsner Mt. Takhoma Blonde; also light-bodied, with plenty of hops, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale is a nice balanced brew. Award-winning Brown’s Point ESB is a robust amber ale. Award winning Puget Sound Porter is brewed with eight different malts and has a hint of chocolate thanks to a special roasted barley. Point Defiance IPA drops big hops and four kinds of malted barley.
Entertainment: A nice array of televisions.

JAKE’S BAR AND BISTRO
215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom, 253.581.3300
The Puget Sound has a lot to offer its community, and an exceptional view is just one of its perks. Jake’s in Steilacoom has captured that scene with a beautiful panoramic view from its dining patio. On a sunny day, you can absorb the wide waters of the Sound while absorbing the wide selection of delicious microbrews Jake’s has on tap (42 constantly rotating specialties!). These guys keep it real. You won’t find any mass-produced bottles here. Paired with one of Jake’s yummy menu items, this place deserves a regular spot in your summer agenda. — NT
What to drink: Try anything!
Entertainment: Monday night trivia, 7-9 p.m.

JOHNNY’S DOCK
1900 E D St., Tacoma, 253.627.3186
Beginning just outside Johnny’s Dock’s infamous lounge, this 45-person deck sits right in awesome view of what boating in Commencement Bay is all about.  Take a chance on the other side of the bay by nestling your weary bum in the middle of all of the action. Don’t fret that this waterfront dining area is mainly located lounge-side; families are welcome anytime.  Sunny Friday nights and weekends seem to be, of course, the busiest times, so don’t be disappointed if all chairs are taken.  The inside dining area of Johnny’s Dock holds sprawling window-views that rival no other. — Steph D
What to drink: $1.99 Pabst Blue Ribbon all day, every day makes this the ultimate deck beverage. The Manhattans are strong!
Entertainment: Perfect view of random boaters trying to park their boats. Maia Santell’s jazz/blues last Sunday night of the month.

KATIE DOWNS
3211 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.756.0771
No youngsters nipping at my flip-flop-wearing heels is what makes this sun-grubbin’ lush one very happy lady.  Twenty-one is the key to adult serenity on this deck, along with the gorgeous view and delectable deep dish pizza.  Grab your table quickly and don’t forget to save your spot; you have to go inside and order all items at the bar.  After your work is done, sit back and enjoy good times as your server waits on you for the rest of your childless Katie Downs mini-vacation. — Steph D
What to drink: A pitcher of beer.  Which beer?  Doesn’t matter as long as it’s in a pitcher.
Entertainment: Beautiful boats sailing by and innocent victims running into Katie Downs’ sliding glass door

THE LOBSTER SHOP
4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.759.2165
Located on Ruston Way, the Lobster Shop will serve you great seafood as you dine on its quaint patio. Here you will be able to watch the seagulls fly overhead wishing they had any sort of currency at all to trade for a plateful of Copper River salmon. The servers are experienced, knowledgeable, and quite nice while the drinks are almost as exceptional as the food. — CD
What to drink: Classic cocktails to match the clientele
Entertainment: Small little television behind the bar

MASA
2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.254.0560
Masa appeals to a certain kind of person.  I’m not that kind of person.  When I spend seven bucks on a drink and it arrives in a keg cup, I’m pissed.  And when my ears are assaulted with a prepackaged ‘90s alternative playlist, including (by my count) three Nirvana songs in one hour, I start to feel how Kurt Cobain must have felt.  In short, the spring-break-Fort-Lauderdale theme of Masa’s rooftop patio just isn’t my thing. Still, imbibing alfresco has a way of making one forget what exactly his “thing” is; I’d hang out at Chuck E. Cheese’s if they’d let me drink on the roof.  — Mark Thomas Deming
What to drink: Margaritas, cerveza
Entertainment: Television, DJs pack them in on weekends

MATADOR
721 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.7100
Matador’s patio makes me feel like I’m in an L.A. suburb for some reason. Black wrought iron gates, beautiful, handmade, wood-inlaid tables, not a lot of shade during certain times of day, lots of street traffic on good days, massive tequila selection, and amazing Southwestern fare. Maybe that’s it. Two words. Steak nachos. And margaritas. — PS
What to drink: Tamirind — Sauza Gold, triple sec, fresh lime juice and fresh Tamarind juice, served with a cinnamon sugar rim. Seriously. Also, on those hot days, red sangria. Peach- and mango-infused red wine and brandy, mixed with sparkling orange and boozy fruit on ice. Still seriously.
Entertainment: Sports on a bank of 46-inch plasma screens

MCMENAMINS SPAR CAFÉ
114 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.357.6444
I have mixed feelings about the “new” Spar Cafe now that it has been renovated and operated as part of the McMenamins chain of destination beer properties. The McMenamin brothers have great eyes for detail and hearts for the restoration and presentation of history in a business. But it seems to be trying a bit too hard to be historic while the old Spar was authentic Olympia history. That said, I eat and drink there all the time since it is such a great location with its crafted brews and privacy curtained booths. Its patio offers beer chuggers a vantage point to watch the street theater that is Fourth Avenue, complete with artsy geeks, homeless students and counterculture types. — Steve D
What to drink:  Scarecrow ESB or Workingman’s Red
Entertainment: Fourth Avenue

MECONI’S PUB & EATERY
709 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.3388
Take note: Meconi’s Pub & Eatery’s patio has three tables seating four people each.  That’s just enough room for all of your friends and 10 other people to sit.  Stake out one of these in-demand patio spots and you could be well on your way to becoming a professional Pacific Avenue people watcher.  Score a table just before 5 p.m. and watch the daytime cubicle-dwellers crawl out of their downtown office holes and blink into the sun as if they were going to melt from its toxicity.  Laugh and point as you ridicule the college education, the stability, and the ability to live out secretary-themed fantasies. — Steph D
What to drink: Holding a cold gin and tonic will always make you feel cooler than your peers.
Entertainment: Suits on Pacific Avenue, televisions

MSM DELI
2220 Sixth Ave., Tacoma 253.272.4814
I’m ashamed to admit that I only recently got the nerve to visit the MSM Deli. In this unassuming building reside some of the most delicious sandwiches you’re likely to find. Its interior is a somewhat surreal combination of deli/convenience store. The smell of sandwiches wafts past cigarettes, refrigerators full of beer and a selection of wines. It’s satisfying in the way that drinking in a 7-Eleven might be. The patio seals the deal. Grab a beer and a sandwich, sit out in the sun on Sixth Avenue and tell me it doesn’t feel like Tacoma. — Adam McKinney
What to drink: Pick from a huge selection of microbrews.
Entertainment: Television in the back

O’MALLEY’S IRISH PUB
2403 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.3144
A butt can outside the back door does not a patio make.  But put a table and an awning out there with the dumpsters and you have yourself a little slice of paradise.  Look, O’Malley’s is unabashedly divey, and consequently as welcoming as a broken-in pair of jeans. It should come as no surprise that its “patio” doesn’t resemble a Las Vegas cabana.  But hell, they might have the most drink specials in town. It’s a cheerful, no-nonsense watering hole. I hug four people every time I’m there.  That right there makes a patio. — Michael Swan
What to drink: Whatever is the special.
Entertainment: Pool, darts, shuffleboard, jukebox, television, karaoke, poker, music

PADDY COYNE’S IRISH PUB
815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.6963
Paddy Coyne’s is the coziest bar in Tacoma.  There are few places I’d rather be than riding a stool by the parade of taps, talking to bartender Joe Rosati — a throwback to a time when barkeeps knew when to talk, what to say and how to pour — and contemplating the bizarre, beautiful, hand-carved by French monks bar back.  So why venture outside into the elements?  Why abandon ship for a sidewalk table?  Well, to smoke, I guess.  Or because the bar’s full.  Or because you had the corned beef and cabbage.  Or perhaps to enjoy the cool air and the stars and the joyous din of summer in the city.  Overrated, if you ask me.  — MTD
What to drink: Both kinds of beverages — whiskey and beer
Entertainment: Tuesday trivia, music, people acting Irish

POWERHOUSE RESTAURANT & BREWERY
454 E. Main, Puyallup, 253.845.1370
Iron gates and established ivy give a girl the feeling of being in her own backyard.  Well, if her backyard was a perfect backyard, like the ones in those Sunset magazines, then yeah — it’s a backyard just like that.  Iron benches and concrete patio floors lend nothing but aesthetic to what I consider to be one of the most calming patios I’ve ever caught a lunchtime buzz in.  So what if my lunchtime buzz list is bigger than your junior high mix-tape collection?  Don’t judge me. — Steph D
What to drink: My first instinct is to suggest a beer, but damnit if they don’t have a talent for Saturday cosmos, $5
Entertainment: Voltage ignites inside the Powerhouse each time a train passes by, at least.

THE RAM RUSTON WAY
3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.756.7886
While the Ram International location on Tacoma’s waterfront walks the tight line from being a corporate-chain beer hole, its waterfront deck is one of the best in the business since it spans the length of the joint to overlook the best view of Commencement Bay as booze chuggers down their favorite libation as twilight hits the water. Patrons can watch people, birds, boats, and water life play out their lives through the glass at the bottom of their oversized drink tumblers. — Steve D
What to drink: While the eatery is stocked with its own crafted beers, its signature drinks are its SKYY vodka drinks grouped under the Summer of Lemonades.
Entertainment: Television, waterfront

THE RED HOT
2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229
Although The Red Hot does not have a continuously open outdoor seating area, it does step outside of its hot dog boundaries every once in a sunny while.  This summer TRH hosts drinking and dining out back for multiple festivities including a Deschutes Brewery event that involves a huge wooden keg that converts into a bar.  Say what?  I tell ya, that kind of stuff is no surprise when you’re dealing with TRH and its special, hardly ever open outdoor seating area.  Look for other events coming up in the warmer months, such as a Bike-in movie night and a two-year anniversary party. — Steph D
What to drink: The folks at TRH are always keepin’ it fresh with well-crafted micro-brews.
Entertainment: Any of the bartenders will have you wishing you were quicker with your comebacks.  Personality galore.

SCHOONER PUB & GALLEY
5429 100th St. S.W., Lakewood, 253.584.1919
The South Sound is home to a few nautically themed bars, but the Schooner Pub feels like the kind of place a commercial fisherman might go for a pint before riding his Harley to the docks for a month on the sea. Granted, that might have a lot to do with the accoutrements — ship wheels, bows, ropes, and other nautical bric-a-brac. The city of Lakewood in which it resides doesn’t exactly scream “seafaring,” nor does the sports fanatic patronage. Still, with fenced-off outdoor seating, friendly service, decent beer selection, perfume and rubbers in the bathroom, this moms and dads pub by day/girls gone wild at night is a happening spot in Lakewood. — Suzy Stump
What to drink: Whatever — it’s a good spot for beer during the game.
Entertainment: College Night every second Saturday, Ladies Night every third Saturday, Military Appreciation Night every Wednesday, tons of televisions, DJs Thursday-Saturday nights

STANLEY AND SEAFORTS
115 E. 34th St., Tacoma, 253.473.7300
Stanley and Seaforts isn’t bad with the food. Hit the patio, if you can get into one of several umbrella’d round spots that are nestled on a small deck off the main bar. Tables are plush enough to make it at a golf course patio, and you’ll be served by some of the best trained wait staff in town. Now’s the time of year to order some calamari with plum sauce and a pomegranate martini. The deck is a nice spot to post up with one of Stanley and Seafort’s legendary desserts. Oh, and there’s a view. — PS
What to drink: Martinis in a dizzying array of flavors are a good bet.
Entertainment: TVs inside, occasional jazz

STEILACOOM PUB
1202 Rainier St., Steilacoom 253.584.7693
There has never been a better place to peruse an assortment of wonderful bottled beers from around the world while at the same time being accosted by short-tempered bartenders and stared at by shady customers. By day the Steilacoom Pub serves up deli sandwiches by sweet old ladies and teenage neo-employees, but at night the beer flows like the spit that the bartenders dream about extricating into your beverage of choice. There is a tiny patio out front that provides a partial view of the Puget Sound. — CD
What to drink: Beer
Entertainment: Calling the Steilacoom Pub and asking about its happy hour: This is really what the bartender said when I called and asked about it:  “This is my happy hour right now — hanging up on your ass.”

TEMPEST LOUNGE
913 Martin Luther King Jr., Tacoma, 253.272. 4904
Settle in and sip a handcrafted cocktail in peace at this sweetheart of a mellow, classy, ’50s-style influenced lounge. Check out the daily double happy hours, above par bar fare, hummus, beet salad and addictive roasted garlic Old Bay potato wedges. Love the Recession Relief drinks. Dig the resident DJs spinning House. Relax in ultra comfy chairs, and soft lighting that makes everyone look good. But most of all, head to the back patio and check out who’s hanging under the heat lamps. It’s where we check first on a hot, summer night. — SS
What to drink: CranberryRita or The Journalist
Entertainment: Dude, I just explained it all above.

TIDES TAVERN
2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, 253.858.3982
Take a break from the hustle and bustle.  You’ve been living the big life of a Tacoma resident, and it’s time someone told you to relax.  Sustaining your community and fighting The Man can take a lot out of you, so why not escape to the hidden confines of Gig Harbor, specifically Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor.  From the street, those secret service agents will never guess that behind Tides’ small entrance lies one of the best hidden decks west of the Narrows.  Let the servers bring you fish ‘n’ chips as the gentle rolling of water creeps beneath the wooden deck and your Tacoma worries melt away.  — Steph D
What to drink: A frosty margarita can keep you cool during happy hour on the deck, $3
Entertainment: Each other.  You’re escaping, remember?

TOP OF TACOMA BAR AND CAFÉ
3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502
 If we’ve learned anything about proprietor Jaime Kay Newton it’s this: That girl knows how to throw a party.  The Top has become an instant success for all walks of life with affordable drinks, tasty pub food, stocked music box and an outdoor patio that’s the place to be seen. The front patio has a backyard sort of feel that makes patrons — most head to toe in black — feel like they could kick off their shoes and threaten to walk around the joint wearing just their boxer shorts and shower shoes. Most don’t as they’ll lose their spot. — Steve D
What to drink: Daily drink specials with eight brews on tap
Entertainment: Big Buck Hunter Safari, Centipede, Wi-Fi, pool table

TWOKOI JAPANESE RESTAURANT
1552 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253.274.8999
TWOKOI is a minimalist venture for couples. It has a half-dozen tables for two, which makes TWOKOI the place to take your lunch date. The patio overlooks the Museum District and the loveliness that is Tollefson Plaza. On a sunny day, it’s actually kind of a nice view. TWOKOI offers some fantastic lunch deals, with menu items including a nice selection of teriyaki, tempura and sukiyaki, and udon. You haven’t had teriyaki until you’ve had teriyaki at TWOKOI. No stringy beef, no marginally edible chicken, no wilting veggies. This is the apotheosis of teriyaki. — PS
What to drink: Sake Apple-tini, made from Absolut Vodka, Gekkeikan Deluxe Sake, Sour Apple Pucker and a splash of sweet and sour. Also, the Wasabi Samurai, a bad-ass concoction of Ketel One Vodka, Gekkeikan Deluxe Sake, wasabi and ginger.
Entertainment: Televisions and jazz every Friday night

UNICORN SPORTS BAR
5302 N. 49th St., Ruston, 253.752.5939
Large rusted coffee cans littered with old cigarette butts rest beneath the patio tables on Unicorn Sports Bar’s serene patio as I prepare to meet some friends for a sunny afternoon beer. Unicorn’s outdoor space is well-crafted with accents including English ivy, flowering plants, landscaped rock, and a towering waterfall. Wood fencing is built with Plexiglas windows in order to not deter from the beautiful view of Commencement Bay. — Steph D
What to drink: During the day in this neighborhood, it’s best to play it safe with happy hour drafts lasting almost all day.
Entertainment: Serene waterfall and picturesque view

VARSITY GRILL
1114 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.627.1229
Varsity Grill offers one of the most expansive patio situations in downtown Tacoma, with plenty of tables for four and one for that six-person power lunch or outdoor beer fest. Nestled in the shade of street trees along busy Broadway, a lunch at Varsity Grill is likely to have you running into someone you know. Bring the family, and kids will eat free, which is nice. You’ll feel better when they chuck French fries at passing cars. — PS
What to drink: Plenty of cold beer. Go with domestic. It’ll go nicely with your deep-fried Macaroni and Cheese bites.
Entertainment: Mega-big screen, plenty of plasmas, no-buy-in Texas Hold ’Em with a $50 cash prize every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

WATER STREET CAFÉ AND BAR
610 Water St. S.W., Olympia, 360.709.9090
Off the beaten path of Fourth Ave in Olympia is Water Street. And nestled next to Capitol Lake is Water Street Café. A sophisticated, yet casual restaurant, Water Street is the perfect alternative to the usual downtown array of dive bars and Thai restaurants, not to mention one of Oly’s few spots for enjoying food and libations outside. The covered patio is the perfect place to cool off with a view of Capitol Lake, a pretty fountain and greenery to please the eye. — NT
What to drink: Cucumber Cosmo, $8. Tuesdays offer half-priced bottles of wine.
Entertainment: Occasional bands 

WOODY’S ON THE WATER (Closed)
1715 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.272.1433
During the warmer months, nothing beats enjoying a beer — or three — on a really nice patio. Woody’s on the Water’s patio and interior digs are smooth and polished: just the place for an after-work happy hour rest stop, a drink after perusing neighboring Museum of Glass or to get liquored up after sailing on Commencement Bay. Fifteen or so outdoor tables, East-to-West sun exposure on side patio, few kids, and piped-out music make it a pleasant spot to drink away the afternoon. — SS
What to drink: If Johanna is tending bar, then go for the Woody’s Margarita. If not, order a cool brewski.
Entertainment: Jazz Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., two flat screens in the bar, watch rich people sail and dock their yachts along Thea Foss Waterway

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