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McMenamins Elks Temple opens this week

Historic building transformed into a new hotel, restaurants, brewery and a music venue

McMenamins Elks Temple has a variety of venues on one site, perfect for Hail and Farewells. Photo credit: Facebook

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After sitting empty for more than 20 years, the historic 1916 Elks Temple has been restored and brought back to life by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin. The two are passionate about saving important community buildings. Their family-owned company, McMenamins operates 55 pubs, restaurants and historic hotels in the Pacific Northwest -- 19 are on the National Register of Historic Places including the Tacoma Elks Temple. The McMenamins Elks Temple officially opened Wednesday and is celebrating opening week with a series of free concerts open to all ages in the building's Spanish Ballroom, which has been transformed into a concert hall with a capacity of 700.

The refreshed building has kept its historic architectural details intact while adding a modern touch with the work of local artists who paid homage to the graffiti art that filled the once vacant building. A dramatic 10-foot chandelier of gilded metal and glass, which once hung in the Orpheum Theater in Seattle, now has a new home above the guest rooms on the top floor. The property now has seven floors packed with fun things to see and do. On the ground floor you will find a McMenamins Brewery, the Bottle Shop & Brewery Tasting Room and the Old Hangout Bar. From outside the building you can access Tacoma's historic Spanish Steps to the second floor where you will find the Spanish Bar and Ballroom, now a music venue. The third floor overlooks the ballroom and has Doc's Bar, which is a game room with shuffleboard, pool and pinball. On the fourth floor is the main restaurant, McMenamins Pub, which begins serving at 7 a.m. and has views of Commencement Bay.

There is such a variety of venues at this one site that make it perfect for Hail and Farewells or coffees. Its early morning opening also makes it a good option for off-post PT followed by breakfast. Running up and down the Spanish Steps are sure to give everyone a good workout at the end of a run. At this time, the company plans to book shows only in the ballroom so it is not available for military balls. McMenamins Pub, the main restaurant, has a capacity of 250, which could handle most unit events. Much smaller, and on a fun note, you have to find the secret bar known as the Vault, which has a capacity of 20. The Old Hangout makes a perfect Girls Night Out venue. Its Tiki bar vibe, fire pit, waterfall and tropical drinks make it a fun place to share with your besties.

Opening week concerts continue through Tuesday, April 30. McMenamins handcrafts their own beer, wine, spirits, cider and coffee which will be a nice addition to downtown Tacoma's nightlife.    

McMenamins Elks Temple, 565 Broadway, Tacoma, 425.219.4370,

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