Essential guide to drinking on the outskirts of Olympia

Thurston County bars

By Nikki McCoy on April 9, 2014

Welcome to Thurston County, where hunters, hippies, and head officers can all be at the same bar. While an establishment may have a country, dive or hipster feel, everyone is always welcome. That's the one thing that makes this area so unique: we're pretty darn accepting of everyone.

Many people will tell you that all the good bars in Thurston County are in downtown Olympia - which is true if you want your choice of good bars.  It's a place to bar hop, eat street food and find a cab. But, if you live on the outskirts and want to stick closer to home, or if you just want to try someplace new, then locals suggest the following:

Lacey Bars

The Viking

This bar has a reputation that only a bar called The Viking would have. Cheap tacos, cheap drinks, dark lighting, ample seating, karaoke every night of the week and a regular crowd that is both questionable and loveable.

[6318 Martin Way E., Lacey, 360.456.1555]

South Bay Pub

Anything around town that has "pub" in its name rather than bar, tavern or grill, is likely a place where you will find more of a "homey" feel - with homemade ingredients in its food, cool art on its walls and an overall feeling of fun. South Bay also has a great lineup of live music and entertainment - from Ethan Tucker Band to classic car shows.

[3323 South Bay Rd., Lacey, 360.456.0809]

Pints and Quarts

This bar is more for the 30 and younger crowd, with a sports bar lean and a packed house every weekend. Yes, there is food, like Trixie Ass Kickers, aka hot wings and sweet potato fries. There is also a Bloody Mary bar and plenty of TV screens.

[1230 College St. SE, Lacey, 360.438.9183]

Cedar Inn

A regular kind of place, if you know that you're a regular kind of guy/gal, but always a nice time. A little less regular is that it has bar-stool bingo where you can win crazy stuff like meat for grilling or Seahawks gear. It recently brought in a Sunday night karaoke host for your opportunity to slay that rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" that you've been practicing.

[9030 Martin Way E., Lacey, 360.459.5509]

Westside Olympia

Westside Tavern

Easily the most popular bar on the Westside of town, this bar has a bit of a biker feel, but like all the other bars in town - everyone is welcome. Tasty eats (any burger on the menu is great) and a nice staff, including the owners, who are often at the business welcoming guests and having a good time.

[1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, 360.915.7839]

Capital Mall

Ok, bars in the mall are a relatively new thing to Olympia - but the formula seems to be working. Two bars sandwich the movie theater, which makes for a great combo pack evening. There is even Paisley's Café across from the theater that serves $1 beers during happy hour. But, if you want bar atmosphere, there is Pints and Quarts' sister bar on one side of the theater and Trago Mexican Kitchen on the other, with killer margaritas and good food.

[625 Black Lake Blvd., Olympia]

Tumwater Bars

The Brick

This family friendly restaurant also has a pretty cool bar with an outdoor smoking lounge, pulltabs, pool tables and delish wood-fired pizza. Usually pretty busy, but the wait staff keeps up the pace.

[707 Trosper Rd. SW, Tumwater, 360.753.6626]

Pint's Barn

This is the third bar in the Pints and Quarts family, and it is literally in an old barn. The parking lot has a giant Sasquatch statue, and the restaurant gets its meat from its next-door neighbor, Western Meats, which is known for its locally sourced fresh cuts. Live music that is varied and unique tops off this joint's checklist of awesome.

[114 E. St., Tumwater, 360.628.8838]