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Tacoma Loyal

Pat Nagle believes in hard work ... and Tacoma

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It’s been more than 10 years since Pat Nagle came across the Harmon Building. Since then, he has helped transform the spot into a legacy that includes Tacoma’s iconic Harmon Brewery and Restaurant, a set of brilliant spaces for businesses, and a regal lineup of award-winning brews (tip of the hat to brewmaster Mike Davis). On the eve of the Harmon’s 10-year anniversary, the great Nagle has three pieces of advice for the city he has helped bring back to life.

“Stay loyal, stay committed and work hard,” he says. “Tacoma is a loyal town — if you put forth a good effort, you’ll get the support you need. Staying committed means giving back and being a part of what’s going on. We’re a blue collar town. So work hard. It’s a big part of who we are.”

New mecca

As Nagle gears up to celebrate 10 years of hustling in Tacoma, his next great collaboration is taking shape. Along with Tacoma-based Gintz Group, Nagle and real-estate partner-in-crime Carol Holder are putting the finishing touches on plans to transform the once-infamous Mecca Theater into a mixed-use complex complete with a restaurant, bar, theater and condo complex. Currently the vision  is to turn the upper floors into small, affordable condominiums.Downstairs, the former porn theater will run family-friendly, second-run movies while patrons enjoy food and hand-crafted beer made by the Harmon’s award-winning brew masters.

Though the planned space will share similarities with Portland-based McMenamins, Nagle and crew couldn’t bring themselves to call it Nagles or Gintzs. Which is good, because the Broadway Speakeasy, its chosen moniker, sounds way better. Nagles would just be weird.

“McMenamins made it (the theater-dining format) famous,” he says. “But we’re working with the Gintz Group to create something really special out of this building.”

With a mind toward preserving the structure’s historic interior, the top two floors will be transformed into smaller, relatively affordable studio, one- and two-bedroom condos.

“We’ve seen some trends in which people are willing to forgo spaciousness for a good price,” says Nagle. “The prices will be very attractive.”

Dwellings will be fitted with recycled components of the old building — the hotel part, not the theater, sickos — which earns them pseudo-green status, says Nagle.

”Because this was a hotel in the day, there is a bunch of stuff to salvage,” he explains.

Below the homes of lucky urban dwellers, the space’s main attraction will open on Broadway, and will include a bakery-based eatery specializing in “comfort food,” a bar and a 65- to 75-seat full-screen movie theater.

Anchored by a central show kitchen and wood-fired oven, the 60-seat restaurant will offer a soothing selection of old favorites —  pizza, sandwiches, lasagna and mac n cheese among them. Inspired by Seattle baking badass Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie, Speakeasy pizzas will consist of thin, hand-crafted, homemade crusts sprinkled with magical combos of non-traditional toppings. Also inspired by Serious Pie, Nagle sounded serious when mentioning the possibility of an adjacent, in-house bakery.

“We are still researching the menu, but the focus will be on creating a place on Broadway that really helps tie the theater district together,” he says.

The bar will seat another 40 or 50, and will offer small-batch, hand-crafted brews from the masters at the Harmon, created on site.

No blue material will be offered at the Broadway Speakeasy theater, but Nagle says he is in negotiations with Horatio Theater pioneer Erik Hanberg to provide some cutting-edge live performances. Films will be second-run, i.e. about a month old, and are expected to run daily. Seating in the theater will include dining booths on the walls, with overstuffed chairs and couches up the middle. The theater space also will be offered as the coolest meeting and function space in town. Nagle and partners are waiting for LID-driven improvements to the neighborhood to wrap up before opening, which puts the Broadway Speakeasy in our grasp by March of 2008.

“It’s less than a year, and we have some time to tweak it,” says Nagle. “Our main goal now is to create something unique in Tacoma.”

10 Years at the Harmon

For the first time, Harmon brews will be sold to Tacoma Rainiers fans at Cheney Stadium. A fitting homage to the brewery, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this September.

“My dad has had (Rainiers) season tickets for 35 years,” says Nagle. “He was happy when we got our beer in there.”

The Harmon will celebrate its anniversary in conjunction with University of Washington Tacoma, which will celebrate 10 years at it’s current location adjacent the Harmon Building.

“They’re growing, and we’re growing with them,” says Nagle. “We couldn’t be more happy about how things are going in the neighborhood.”

To celebrate, Nagle is planning a week-long, Oktoberfest-style celebration, with good hopes for an outdoor beer garden behind the brewery.

Harmon’s brews debuted in bottles recently, and are now accompanied by a new line of rotating brews such as Vanilla Porter, and Imperial IPA and a nice German Kolsch, a brightly-colored, hoppy ale. Nagle also is working on offering Point Defiance IPA, Brown’s Point ESB, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale and others in kegs.

“We want to be known as the place you can come in and get your keg,” says Nagle. 

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