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U.P. Station Bar & Grill

It's too nice to be a dive bar

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When Bandito Betty first moved to Tacoma, and began looking for a bartending job, she often contemplated U.P. Station Bar & Grill. Unfortunately, she was too chicken shit to go inside and check it out. It looks quite small and uninviting from the outside, and there were always the same cars parked there every afternoon.

Ah-ha! Another telltale sign of being a dive bar: regulars showing up at the same time every day, during the day. For this, I had to go in and check it out.

Immediately upon entrance, you are engaged and over stimulated by the bright wall of pull tab bins, beer signs, and flashing trivia machines on the bar. There’s Marcy the bartender standing right in front of you, ready to pour you a beer, yet you are stupefied by all the action going on with the wall behind her. “Uhhhhhh, yeah, uhhhh, I’ll have a beer? I guess?” I couldn’t quite spit my words out. Those damn pull tabs! Damn you! So distracting! (I bought $20 worth.)

It wasn’t long before Marcy had our beer ready, and Theresa the cook was out there asking us what she could make for us. She let us know that Monday’s are 75 cent tacos, Wednesdays are $9 steak night, and Friday’s are Fish ’n’ Chips. After Wayne’s Inn, and now this place, I began to figure out yet another dive bar characteristic: Low price steak nights.

Both Bandito Betty and I were quite surprised at how clean and friendly it was. There was no shortage of flat screen TVs, with some sort of game on each one, and no music on. As chicks who dig tunes, this was quite the bummer. This also made it impossible to rate the randomness of the music. Hmpf.

They have leather barstools, indoor/outdoor carpet, 50 percent of it’s tap beer being basic domestic, and dim lighting. This sold us that U.P. Station was definitely up there with being a dive bar, yet they were too clean, with too many nice TVs, and not enough beer posters for them to hang with the big dogs.

U.P. Station Bar & Grill

Bar Exam Dive Grade: C+

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