Back to Online Newspapers

Best outside eateries

Check out these South Sound restaurants while the weather is still nice

Chicken nachos and scratch margarita at the Ram Restaurant and Brewery on Ruston Way. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

During the unusually dry summer this year, I found myself searching for places I could eat, drink, and socialize outside where I could fully enjoy sunshine. We are fortunate here in the South Sound to have so many options that combine great views with tasty and creative food and drinks. Whether you're a beer, wine or cocktail fan, burgers, and seafood or bar fare, there are plenty of South Sound options to get you out before the fall weather hits.

For over 40 years, the Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor has been serving up cold beer, fresh seafood, and all the expected bar fare. The Tides can also boast the best view of the harbor from the large deck. The deck is connected with the dock, so you can walk in the front door, or boat right up to the deck. Either way, having a drink and a bite to eat on this deck is a must.

Tides Tavern, 2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, 253.858.3982,

Northwest Beerwerks in Olympia offers the "beer in your backyard" experience without having to host and clean up in your own yard. A large grassy area with picnic tables and lighted strings overhead make the perfect setting for enjoying any of the two dozen rotating tap choices. Though there are no food options available, there is almost always a food truck in the parking lot. With the rotating taps and food trucks, it's a different experience at each visit.

Northwest Beerwerks, 420 Steele St. SE, Olympia, 360.350.2051,

The Ram Restaurant and Brewery on Tacoma's waterfront is far from a secret, the huge deck, even in the South Sound is one of the best views available. The easy access to the waterfront helps to make the Ram a consistent destination for drinks, burgers, seafood, and appetizers. Additionally, the Ram has always been family friendly, so bring everyone. It's hard to say no to nachos and a scratch margarita with an unobstructed view of Commencement Bay and Browns Point.

The Ram Restaurant and Brewery, 3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.756.7886,

Part of a handful of Anthony's restaurants in the Northwest, Anthony's Hearthfire in Olympia is built entirely on pilings over Budd Bay which offers a full surround view that can't be compared. Like all the Anthony's restaurants, the focus is on Northwest seafood and craft beer, but here the focus is also on hearthfire cooking. The menu is rooted in steaks and seafood such as chargrilled salmon, Dungeness crab and prawns which makes them one of the pricier places in town, but it is hard to put a price on the view, especially at sunset.

Anthony's Hearthfire, 1675 Marine Dr. NE, Olympia, 360.705.3473,

Located between Tacoma's Proctor and Stadium districts, you'll find the Rosewood Café serving up fresh sandwiches, soups and salads. In addition to a kids' menu that includes PB & honey or grilled cheese, there is also a small offering of wine and beer for mom and dad. The store front has an open garage door that leaves many of the tables feeling open, but during the warm days of late summer, there is a true café feel to the available tables outside. Come on in, enjoy a glass of wine, their peasant plate or warmed brie, and watch the traffic go by as you relax outside.

Rosewood Café, 3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma, 253.752.7999,

Boathouse 19 is located on the Tacoma Narrows with a clear view of the Narrows Bridge. Serving up creative NW seafood, burgers and other American eats to go with a collection of local beers and specialty cocktails. The best seats are located on the large deck where, in addition to the view of the bridge, you can watch people bring their boats up to the attached dock. There are several patio heaters that allow Boathouse 19 to extend their deck season beyond what the weather prevents others from offering. I recommend the cedar plank wild salmon with an orange mojito.

Boathouse 19, 9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.565.1919,

If you love local dive bars, but also love a waterfront view, then the Rock the Dock Pub and Grill is just your place. Located on the Foss Waterway with views of Mt. Rainier, the 11th street bridge, and the waterway you can enjoy an ice cold beer while you read through the extensive menu. The service here is fast and friendly, and you won't leave hungry as the serving sizes are generous. If you have a large appetite, give the signature Dock Burger a try; half-pound Kobe beef burger with bacon, cheese, onion rings and all the veggies and condiments you'd expect.

Rock the Dock Pub and Grill, 535 Dock St. #118, Tacoma, 253.272.5004,

For those that like their brunch and lunch a little on the fancy side, Sel in Tacoma has you covered.  The French themed bistro boasts creative menu items such as the brioche French toast in three flavors or the brie and pear sandwich. You can enjoy everything here from the large deck overlooking Commencement Bay from several blocks above. I brought my teenage son for breakfast -- he loved it -- but gentlemen bring your wives or girlfriends here; it has a romantic feel to it.

Sel, 229 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.327.1015

The Social Bar and Grill serves up American eats in an industrial setting below the condominiums on the Foss Waterway. The industrial setting is continued outside with heavy stone tables, each with its own fire pit, on the patio next to the main walkway. Grab a pitcher of beer or Sangrias, an order of clams or oysters and relax next to the Glass Museum fountain with a view of the water, Mt. Rainier, and the 21st street bridge.

The Social Bar and Grill, 1715 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.301.3835,

The residents of Steilacoom have some of the best Puget Sound views around, and the Topside Bar and Grill offers us non-residents the same experience. The huge deck here overlooks Anderson, McNeil, and Fox Islands as well as the passing ferries. The menu is seafood driven with steamed clams, chowder, crab cakes or my favorite the grilled salmon salad. But don't worry there's sandwiches and burgers for the non-seafood fans.

Topside Bar and Grill, 215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom, 253.212.3690

Read next close

Online Newspapers

World-class wine

comments powered by Disqus