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Peaks and Pints is a beer-lover's paradise

Peaks and Pints ‘ large selection of beer and more makes this as much a store as a bar and restaurant. Photo credit: Christian Carvajal

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Ron Swarner was one of the cofounders of the Weekly Volcano back in 2001. He moved on from this paper in April 2015, but his Tacoma-loving, hipster-booster soul is in every drop of ink. When he retired from print journalism, he said he was interested in opening a little bar with craft beers, maybe working the counter himself à la Ted Danson in Cheers. Thus, with business partners Robby and Justin Peterson, was born Peaks and Pints in the Proctor district - but not without a long, painful gestation.

"The delay was caused by the requirement to retrofit the entire building with steel, per the city of Tacoma's request," Swarner explained. "It was the Paramount Theater in 1923. The city felt the brick wasn't stable. It was a shame to lose the ornate etchings, curved ceiling and brick from when it screened silent films and hosted stage plays. We found the original theater seats in a secret storage 112 feet below where our 13-door cooler stands today."

That cooler, filled with every imaginable variety of bottled beer and cider - 640 in all - forms a brightly lit shopping area at the back of the long, rectangular space. Peaks and Pints opened, officially Nov. 1, and has been packed to the rafters ever since.

In Swarner's words, Peaks and Pints "looks like Paul Bunyan's home ... with vintage mountain artwork, mountain-lifestyle artifacts and a ton of wood everywhere. It reflects my two passions, craft beer and mountain life. I've always dreamed of owning a mountain cabin. Now I have a really big one."

Belly up to the red-cedar "tap log" of a bar, and there's a good chance Swarner himself will be pulling the taps. "We don't wait for the customers to come to us," he said. "We go to them. We always have three bartenders behind the bar, several more roaming the floor taking orders and a dedicated staff member, our cellarman William Kane, answering questions at the cooler. Yes, it takes a bit longer pouring specific beer styles in 10 different glassware styles, but we think it's worth it when the aroma hits the nose and taste buds in the way brewers crafted their beers to be enjoyed."

Peaks and Pints is yet another jewel in the crown of one of Tacoma's most welcoming and entertaining neighborhoods. This pine-scented paradise would be the end of a perfect night out, with Chalet Bowl, Europa Bistro, Compass Rose, Pomodoro, Backstage Video, Culpepper Books, La Fondita, Wheelock Library, and not one but two Starbucks in easy walking distance. "Then there's the anchor," agrees Swarner, "The Blue Mouse Theatre screens second-run films daily. Peaks and Pints offers the perfect pre-funk before Tom Hanks captains some sort of giant apparatus." It also offers an inviting menu of sandwiches and other affordable, gastropub grub.

Welcome home, Ron Swarner. You've earned it.

PEAKS AND PINTS CRAFT BEER STORE, TAPROOM & EATERY, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday - Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 3816 N. 26th St. B, Tacoma, 253.328.5621,

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