The Best Cool Bars in Tacoma

Are you on the lookout for the most poppin’ Cool Bars in Tacoma?

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On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of the best Cool Bars in Tacoma. (More in-depth further below)

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Tacoma’s bar scene is a burst of boozy wonders, where bars that served as actual speakeasies during Prohibition bump up against modern cocktail lounges that still pretend to. Historical buildings in bizarre shapes might house classic dives or brand-new award-winning breweries. Downtown arcade bars clatter alongside karaoke caverns and sawdust-strewn dart dens in the port. 

Doyle’s Public House

Doyle’s Public House is a classic pub featuring imported beers, scotch & whiskey, bar food & soccer on TV. Doyle’s is the neighborhood bar you deserve. Open every day so you can gather with friends over tasty drinks or gather your thoughts alone with a dram of whisky. They have what your belly craves from Breakfast through lunch to dinner and then late-night snacks—featuring the most extensive whisky collection south of Seattle and north of Portland. If you visit them, you will be searching for a place to live in the area. This vintage tavern, tucked between the Stadium District and downtown, is a whiskey-drinking soccer fan’s dream. They organize the wildest St. Patrick’s Day party in Tacoma, and there’s no better place to watch a Liverpool play at dawn. A fantastic spot for a little concert and a bottle of Jameson with pals. Make the Snug available for your next event. 

Doyle never shuts for private parties, although they offer the Snug! It’s a quiet, private space away from the main bar that you may rent for free anytime it’s available. The Snug is ideal for small private parties of up to 20 individuals. Contact them to arrange open times not mentioned on the left. Doyle’s Public House advertises itself as Tacoma’s most excellent whiskey bar. According to Esquire magazine, it was named one of the top bars in America. Delicious Full Irish Breakfast! The ideal Breakfast on a Sunday morning. I was fortunate that it was not too crowded when I arrived, and the service was responsive, quick, and kind. I’ve lived in the area for three years, but this was my first visit for Breakfast. 

I had a moment today to enjoy the area. I stopped into Doyle’s Public house and enjoyed a delicious app and drink. I headed back for Breakfast tomorrow. Thank you so much for being so inviting. Great food! They set up our large group (15 people) in The Snug. We couldn’t hear the trivia but still had a great meal. Are you looking for a perfect pint of Guinness in a local Irish Pub? Then head over to Doyle’s in the Stadium District of Tacoma! Great food, great bartenders, and a friendly atmosphere. Order the Deviled Scotch Eggs to share. It’s topped with balsamic bacon jam. So good! Try the Reuben Sliders. Served on pretzel buns with a nice portion of corned beef made to perfection.

Parkway Tavern

Parkway Tavern is a local watering hole featuring craft beers & bar bites in wood-paneled quarters with a fireplace. The Parkway Tavern, with its vintage neon sign and vaulted ceiling adorned with an enormous tap handle collection, is the ultimate neighborhood tavern. The Parkway, located in Tacoma’s historic Stadium District, is a favorite watering establishment for residents and visitors, thanks to its great beer options. They feature a vast assortment (over 30 taps) of rotating craft beer on tap. There is also cider and wine available. Our kitchen prepares delectable bar cuisine such as nachos, sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, and more. They have televisions, and their back room features a pool table, shuffleboard, and other fun games. Be sure to spend time on their (drinks only) dog-friendly outdoor patio. See you soon! 

They are a 21+ establishment. For a good reason, we’d be astonished if Parkway didn’t go deep in this event. The beer hall’s neon sign and front porch are famous, and it’s where Tacoma’s beer fans have convened for years. This is a gathering place for individuals from all walks of life in the city—a super intimate spot with a fantastic vibe and AMAZING FOOD. I ordered a swiss mushroom burger, two quesadillas, and a lot of ginger ale (if you like non-alcoholic ginger beer, the local variety in the purple can SLAPS). Cheddar beer was the house soup, and there’s something delightful about sipping liquid cheese. The crew is all pleasant and helpful, and Sean, the fantastic quesadilla cook, is THE MAN. My buddies appreciated the hard cider selections – this is a fantastic place to meet new people. 

There is also a lot of free street parking. Excellent neighborhood pub. Excellent setting, cuisine, and an extensive tap assortment of beer and cider. Jamie, our server/bartender, was fantastic. I ordered the PW Big Maq, and let me tell you. Thank you very much. Delicious burger. It’s complete and comes with jalapeno chips. Excellent pairing. What a sweet find! I recently went to Parkway Tavern for a date night and understand why it’s a local favorite. A few things sound perfect – especially the Pesto Chicken Sandwich! We were surprised they didn’t have Bodhi on tap (that’s happened a few times recently!), but we ended up trying another hazy IPA that we both enjoyed. So, this is one of the best bars Tacoma has to offer you and your loved ones!

Top of Tacoma Bar & Cafe

Top of Tacoma Bar & Cafe is a down-to-earth tavern supplying drinks & casual chow till late at night, with happy hour twice daily. Another South Sound nightlife hotspot that we can’t fathom not having in our arsenal. “The Top,” perched on a hill high above the Tacoma Dome, is home to some of Tacoma’s most excellent food (regardless of price range), as well as a bar staff that is courteous and sensitive to a patron’s goal to tie one on. Its popularity is well-deserved, as seen by how crowded it is at all times of the week. The staff has always been polite, helpful, and enjoyable throughout my stay here. And the cuisine is consistently excellent. I always have sweet potato waffle fries with everything. It’s perfect for a fatty breakfast, lunch, supper, or a drink. This five-star rating is for the service given by The Tops bar personnel. 

Tyler and Joy are great. The personal and professional devotion to offering top-tier service with incredible good vibes is a great delight to appreciate and witness. Thank you for your continued dedication to absolute professionalism over the years. This location was everything to me. The meal, the service, and the atmosphere were all excellent. Everything was wonderful. We were on a lunch break, and the meal was delicious!! I paired my meal with a Kraken IPA and was not disappointed. The Beast of Burden was something to die for. It tasted like a French dip on steroids. With each mouthful, my mouth moistened. The salad I picked to accompany it was delicious. The dressing was created in-house and was highly excellent. The toppings were all fresh. 

The greens weren’t a drab blend of iceberg and cabbage; instead, they were a fresh spring mix of red leaf and spinach. In the rear, an old-school picture booth was fully operational. I would have used it if I hadn’t looked like I hadn’t slept in two days. I would strongly suggest this bar to everyone. Get over there if you’re traveling through town like I or a resident who hasn’t experienced it yet! Great homemade food, local draft microbrews, extensive hard alcohol selection, excellent, friendly staff & a killer jukebox. All at a reasonable price! This bar was Established in 2007. It has been a tavern in the historic McKinley district since 1942. The new owners took over and made it The TOP in 2007!

E9 Firehouse & Gastropub

E9 Firehouse and Gastropub have house-brewed beer & ale plus burgers & comfort grub to sound the alarm in a former historic firehouse. Smack dab on central 6th Avenue sits a bar rooted in South Sound history. Built-in 1907 and distinctly honored as the first building in Tacoma’s history to be restored and repurposed, Engine House No. 9 lives up to such a billing with a stellar beer selection, including their delicious microbrews. Engine House No. 9 was erected in 1907 to defend Tacoma’s North End from fires. It functioned as battalion headquarters for many years. When Rufus Harben and Earle More performed the final symbolic run atop an Amoskeag steam pumper driven by the horses’ Nip, Dick, and Joe in 1919, it was the last station in Tacoma to change from horse-powered to mechanical equipment. 

In a famous Tacoma setting, dependable tavern cuisine is coupled with outstanding beers. I had heard a lot about it from friends but had never had the opportunity to visit. It has some parking, so that’s nice; it’s unusual for Tacoma restaurants. It’s clean, and the service is friendly. Good beer selection too. So, the food beat my expectations, that’s why I gave it a 5 star. My wife ordered fish and chips. They were crunchy and cooked to perfection. There are plenty of fries. I had the Italian grinder, and it quickly was better than average and better than expected. If you notice, I ate half before I remembered to take a picture. We also had the firecracker steak bites, a little expensive but delicious. I’ll go again. 

Excellent brewpub and restaurant inside a hundred-year-old firehouse. Friendly service, great burgers and fries, and tasty beer made in-house. The fried fish tasted good, which is why it made me happy. I’ve always had good experiences here. Whether for lunch on Sunday or at the end of a night of drinking, their food always hits the spot. The staff is nice and friendly, and their service is always quick. If I’m around 6th Ave, it’s my go-to spot. The fries are always crispy and hot. I’d recommend checking it out. The ambiance is excellent and would also be a great spot for a first date. So, this is one of the best bars Tacoma offers. If you are in the city, visit this spot! Go with your family, friends, or loved ones for a beautiful and memorable time.

En Rama

En Rama is a warm, cozy eatery serving homestyle Italian grub alongside cocktails & wine in wood-clad environs. Fantastic date night spot. They have house-made pasta, burgers, & small plates: fancy cocktails, weird wine, and lots of sherry. We enjoyed the greatest mussels we’d ever had. The polenta was delicious. The service crew was highly trained, kind, and knowledgeable. We wish we could live in Tacoma! The patio seating is an excellent combination of sheltered and open air, and the cuisine (plenty of vegan alternatives) is to die for (minus one drawback). The pickled cucumber and house-made focaccia were delicious. The service is attentive and enjoyable. The one primary concern (at least for us) was that we didn’t complete our dinner and inquired about the “to go” container. 

We were assured it was biodegradable paper. We wanted to utilize as little plastic as possible. Thus we got the container. It was not only not paper, but it was also not biodegradable. It was little more than a clamshell made of plastic. The firm “Earth Choice” does sell biodegradable things, but this is not one of them, and recycling is a bit of a myth around here. So, knowing what we’re receiving next time would be helpful since we would have skipped the side of the plastic. Incredible. It’s worth a shot. That clam sauce recipe sounds terrific. My only complaint was that the chicken and dumplings were a little too salty or acidic, and there was a bone in a mouthful that I wasn’t anticipating. Not the worst thing to come upon. Such a delicious, delightful meal. I enjoyed their version of gin and juice, one of my favorite things. 

There are many appealing-sounding cocktails, and I look forward to returning to them. We enjoyed the creamy and rich pimento cheese with thick, toasty bread to pull apart and slather. Hot, spicy pickles – the pickled vegetables were a lovely surprise – grapes (!), celery shards, or was that fennel? Radishes, not too sour and perfectly Caliente. We also shared the mussels with slab bacon lardons in a luscious lemony sauce. I had a lovely, nutty sherry with that, suggested by the bartender (a charming guy who did not mention his name and appeared to be doing the work of three people). This place is fantastic. The food is high level, but it’s comfortable and easy. The staff is charming and friendly, and the drinks are perfect. It’s everything I love about Tacoma.

1022 South J

1022 South J

1022 South J is a cozy, speakeasy-style nook spotlighting creative cocktails & eclectic small & large plates. Few places satisfy the after-work cocktail, early evening date spot quite like this Hilltop hole in the wall. Priding themselves on a first-class selection of liquors and a staff that’s not an ounce shy about talking vermouths and floral notes in fancy gins, 1022 South J is a go-to spot for the fancier side of a South Sound drinker’s palette. As with most of my evaluations, I’ll begin with what I DIDN’T enjoy about 1022 SOUTH J. It is situated on Tacoma’s Hilltop. That’s all. That was the one thing I didn’t care about. Tacoma’s Hilltop area is undergoing gentrification, which residents are fighting tooth and nail. 

The fact that one of the neighborhood’s most significant neighbors is a jail, and the area is dotted with bail bondsman offices does not assist the neighborhood’s image. But isn’t it strange how there are hidden treasures like 1022 SOUTH J? It is unpretentious and unapologetic about the place and the people that live there. It’s the type of spot where regulars build connections with the bartenders outside of the bar. It’s where you can meet or go at the end of a work day or on your way from or to a trip and enjoy unexpectedly terrific meals and extraordinary beverages. My girlfriend got the pimento cheese and the 1022 fried chicken with no bun, while I ordered spiked fries, a BLT, and crispy Brussel sprouts. Her chick was juicy and well done, and the flames were wonderfully crisp. 

The beer selection was limited, but they understood how to prepare a good cocktail. If you ever find yourself in a downtown Tacoma hotel or defending someone in court, you should try this restaurant. Excellent cuisine, inventive drinks, and a somber atmosphere. It was fantastic. Their Fried Chicken Sandwich was out of this world. Some of Tacoma’s top cocktail bartenders. There was a decent turnout and an excellent happy hour on Sunday night. Perhaps it’s simply a coincidence, but 80’s music is usually excellent. They feature incredible artisan cocktails, beers, wines, and great big and small meals, all of which are locally sourced, making this a fantastic gastropub! It was founded in 2008. 1022 sprang from the ashes of the Monsoon Room, Tacoma’s first handmade cocktail bar. So, this is one of the best bars in Tacoma.

Odd Otter Brewing Company

Odd Otter Brewing Company Local has cider & small-batch beer brewed on-site, served in a quaint bar with live music & karaoke. The finest handcrafted, unique brews are located in downtown Tacoma, WA. This little brewery in downtown Tacoma is one of our favorites! Dogs are welcome inside and outside—great beer variety, especially their IPAs. Food may be brought in, or they have a menu from the restaurant next door that can be sent over. On Tuesdays, there is karaoke! I enjoy discovering dog-friendly establishments: excellent beer and a warm atmosphere. Our dog was even given a water bowl and snacks. I’m looking forward to returning. I immediately fell in love with this bar and restaurant, and then the karaoke began. Pablo is fantastic, and the bartender was immediately charming, although I didn’t get her name. 

I’ll come here whenever I’m in Tacoma, which isn’t often. What began in 2013 on a whim among a group of 5 friends from very different backgrounds – an odd group, one might say – has become not only a fixture in Tacoma’s truly badass beer scene but has also become an integral part of the 253’s gritty, unique, brilliantly welcoming culture. Our Founders include active duty, former military members, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and they’ve got a couple who are just a little too enthusiastic about cats. And why do they do what they do, you might ask? They love to have fun. They LOVE to have fun. They have fun with themselves, they have fun with their brand, they have fun with their community, and they make some fantastic and fun beer. 

Lest you think their adventurous nature prevents them from making objectively phenomenal beer, they will politely point with their paws at the 3 Washington Brewers’ Association Gold Medals they have won. They will point out that they were among the first to consider allowing otters to serve as their quality testers. And they are absolutely the first brewery in Tacoma to paint itself bright blue. Come check them out. They are fun, and they are sure you’ll have fun too! And remember that they always have a 15% discount for all active duty military spouses, veterans, and first responders who show them an ID. Thank you for what you do – you put your lives and your families on the line just by doing your jobs. They are endlessly grateful to you.

7 Seas Brewery and Taproom

7 Seas Brewery and Taproom is like heaven to the locals. Great beer and an even better atmosphere. Their beer is fresh, which makes a significant difference in flavor—now collaborating with The Harmon Pac Ave for simple taproom meal delivery! The brewing team prepares a limited cask-conditioned ale once a month. Join them in their tap rooms on the second Friday of every month at 11 a.m. for a special one-night-only beer release. There are several alternatives to pick from. In many respects, their narrative is very generic. Two hardworking people meet, form a relationship, and transform their passion for fine beer into a company. What makes it unique are the details and experiences along the journey, the obstacles overcome, the sufferings faced, friendships formed, and all the joyful and tragic moments that life brings. 

Bridgeport IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Mad River Steelhead Double IPA, and Big Sky Moose Drool were among the beers that inspired and nourished their passion for craft beer. They are pleased to have been the first Craft Brewery in Washington State to can their beer, a revolutionary notion back in 2009. ‘No more broken glass and hefty rubbish,’ they declared at the time. Prepared to have fun in any circumstance and with every experience, life throws your way. They have always been determined to make the most excellent beer they can, and (in their opinion) consistency is the actual difficulty. Constant innovation is fascinating and entertaining, but consistently producing core beers on which you can rely is a challenge that motivates them just as much. 

Their approach to beer creation is unlike most. They sketch out the ideal completed product, including its look, fragrance, and mouthfeel, and then reverse engineer the components and methods to get it. Knowing and understanding not just individual ingredients’ characteristics but how they interact with each other makes this possible. My favorite is the hefeweizen, one of the greatest tap Hefas I’ve ever drank. Also, a great spot to have a vegan snack from a 3uilt restaurant! Spacious and comfortable setting for socializing with friends and bigger parties. It’s an excellent location. Come on over and have some fun! We held a group function with around 20 people and plenty of table space. The meal was delicious and simple to order online and pick up in the cooking area. I’m not a drinker, but the beer selection was extensive.

Devil’s Reef

Devil’s Reef is an excellent place for a different atmosphere for a fun night. Out with your friends and even some family members for the vibe. I wouldn’t say first-date vibes because it is pretty dark inside and can be a bit loud at total capacity. Make reservations for sure. Devil’s Reef, from the proprietors of adjacent Tacoma Cabana, Jason Alexander, and Robyn Murphy, is a fully-themed tiki bar in Tacoma’s Triangle/St. Helen’s district. Tacoma Cabana was well-received, and Devil’s Reef is the next-generation extension, allowing Alexander and Murphy to dig even more deeply into their abilities in creating a terrific setting for drinking superb tropical cocktails. There is an extensive rum range and a tropical cocktail menu available. The décor explores the darker side of tiki, merging the couple’s love of Polynesian Pop with H.P. Lovecraft. 

Devil’s Reef first opened its doors on January 19, 2018. Tacoma Cabana was closed in September of that year, allowing Alexander and Murphy to concentrate their energies entirely on Devil’s Reef. But if you want a date night with a partner and don’t mind being in a dark environment like that, then go for date night. The drinks are mostly rum (specialty drinks). However, they have a small selection of other alcoholic beverages and can make something you enjoy. Check out this place for a great environment with a fun pirate-theme vibe to get the conversation going. From our first time here, we were met with such hospitality – even Jason took us upstairs and accommodated our party on a busy night. 

He gave us the best first experience here and even let us browse one of his cocktail books (that we’ve since purchased, and he signed it!). Since then, we’ve come back many times, and each visit to Devil’s Reef has blown us away with delicious drinks and tasty food. Jason & his crew are sure to make every visit feel special and a place you want to take everyone who comes into town! We’re sure to spend many, many more nights here. The ambiance is fantastic. The drinks are stiff and clever, with some delicious, unique flavors. There is also a sophisticated dog keeping an eye on things. The ambiance of this place was incredible! Friends called it a tiki bar, but I got a pirate ship vibe instead. So, this is one of the best bars Tacoma has to offer you!

Bob’s Java Jive

Bob’s Java Jive is a Bar and Night club. No-frills, a retro watering hole with live music, beer & Karaoke in a coffee-pot-shaped building. Fun, friendly, eclectic, and Karaoke! We had such a great night. Several times, I’d passed by this location and figured it was closed and abandoned. Far from it! I went with a small group on a Tuesday night, and we had a blast! Drinks are essential, and facilities are a bit primitive at this time, but it all just added to the night. We will be back. A dirty dive bar, but it has its weird charm. Saw this place on YouTube a while back and found it by accident. So we had to stop. I will be back because it’s a weird cooky bar with history in Tacoma. If you want an immaculate, lovely bar, this is not the place to go. However, this should be on your list if you enjoy dive bars. 

I went to Bob’s on my first night in Tacoma and went there every night. Fantastic venue with a broad clientele, Karaoke, pool table, and an excellent selection of draught beers. The outdoor area looks to have recently been repaired, with more upgrades on the way. Will return! The neighborhood tavern is riddled with stories ranging from pet monkeys to Nirvana — and it’s all part of what makes the place fascinating. Much of the local lore is true. It may appear that Bob’s Java Jive’s glory days of the 1970s and 1980s have passed, but the Jive has a way of adapting to the times. This 25-by-30-foot concrete coffee pot has evolved over nine decades and is still a part of the local culture scene. The pot was formerly a brunch spot. Then a drive-in eatery. Then there’s a speakeasy. 

After much rebranding, it was eventually purchased by Bob Radonich and his wife, Lylabell, in 1955, and that’s when it got its current name — Bob’s Java Jive. The bar’s name was partly inspired by the song “I love coffee; I love tea” by the 1950s musical group the Ink Spots. “I adore java jive, and it adores me.” The Jive ultimately evolved into a chaotically themed Polynesian dance club, replete with Java and Jive, two macaque monkeys (a mother-and-daughter pair). Bob’s Java Jive has evolved to meet the day’s culture, but it reflects Tacoma’s unique history.

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No matter what the occasion or preference, Tacoma can deliver — here are some pieces of evidence. Anyone looking for the Best Cool Bars in Tacoma should be helped by our list above. Tacoma + Pierce County offers something for everyone, whether you want to explore the arts scene, show off your talents on the dance floor, or just relax with a craft brew. Explore Puyallup’s historic downtown along the “old-fashioned” main strip or bar hop with friendly residents along 6th Avenue. Tacoma is a fantastic place to experience some of the hottest nightlife in the country, since it is home to some of the best LGBT communities.

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