The great poet William Blake once said, “A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation.” The key to any successful neighborhood watering hole is its community of regulars. These like-minded individuals want nothing more than a clean, well-lit place to enjoy a finely crafted beer, some lively discussion, and a community to call their own. Craig Moore, owner of The Copper Door in Tacoma’s Stadium District, has taken these ideas and turned them into his own.

Before any of this, however, Moore was a part of corporate America. A Tennessee native and Auburn University alumnus, Moore was well on his way to making a name for himself as an industrial designer. Yet something was missing. Craig was restless, not quite satisfied with his choice of occupation. He had since moved to Portland, Oregon for another industrial design job, but that nagging feeling remained.

The Copper Door Tacoma
Not just a clever name, The Copper Door actually has a copper door. Yet there’s more to the story. Photo credit: Daniel Beers

“I was working for the man,” recalls Moore, “every day coming in and questioning about sales quotas, labor times. I understood that if I stayed in that environment, I’d be there for the rest of my life.”

But if not industrial design, then what? Craig Moore thought long and hard about what he truly loved. The answer was simple: beer. A self-proclaimed beer connoisseur long before it was fashionable, Moore used to make bets with his friends that he knew beer better than they did. He was even known to drive well out of the way to get one craft beer rather than merely buy a bunch of the mass produced stuff. He realized at that point that he should open up a craft beer tap room.

Moore first looked to Portland as a place to set up shop, but realized quickly that it wasn’t an ideal spot. “It was 2003,” recalls Moore, “and Portland’s market was saturated.” Soon after, a friend told him about the city of Tacoma. “We saw the beer explosion coming,” says Moore. “There’s so much to offer here. Getting in now was smart.”

A copper door
A visual of what a copper door looks like in copper boiling kettles. Photo credit: Daniel Beers

Finding the perfect building was one of serendipity. Moore recalls walking out of Tricky’s Pop Culture Emporium, glancing across the street, and spotting something out of the ordinary. It was a building for rent with a rather large copper door. Oddly enough, “The Copper Door” was one of the ideas for names he had been batting around in his head, but for completely different reasons. In traditional brewing, great copper kettles are used as a boiling vessel, and access to the beer is through a big door. At that point, he knew his search was over.

The Copper Door opened its, well, copper door on April 4, 2014. Moore and team strive to ensure that their passion for beer is unrivaled. At any given moment, expect there to be 16 ever-rotating beers on tap, including a dedicated cider and nitro tap, with an additional 800 bottled varieties in the coolers. Moore encourages both requests for beers to carry as well as any questions beer novices may have.

Tacoma beer
Don’t be surprised to see patrons break out a game while enjoying their craft beer. Photo credit: Daniel Beers

The interior is warm and inviting, with seating that goes from a simple bar stool to a giant couch. “I wanted a relaxing environment,” says Moore, “a comfortable place where you can drink and talk with your friends.” The atmosphere resembles that of a pub, where patrons could either be watching the game on one of the TVs or simply playing one of the many board games available. Throughout the year, they host events such as Brewer Nights. Their wide selection of board games contributed to the ongoing event called Brew’N’Games, where the first and third Monday of each month is dedicated to breaking out the cards and dominos with a craft beer.

It is this friendship that got Moore to create The Copper Door’s Brewmunity. The Brewmunity is a membership of like-minded beer enthusiasts full of perks and exclusive to The Copper Door. The perks include discounts on drafts, a Brewmunity t-shirt, invitations to exclusive quarterly Brewmunity parties, text notifications about events, priority on rare bottles, and more. Members also have access to The Copper List, which is a pay-it-forward list to pre-purchase beers for other Brewmunity members.

Copper Door Beer
Over 800 bottled brews to choose from. If you’re not sure, The Copper Door staff encourage questions. Photo credit: Daniel Beers

The future is also bright for The Copper Door. Moore has plans for a big expansion, including room for more seating and a kitchen. While Moore didn’t want to say much more than that, as it is still in the planning stages, he did assure this humble writer that one can order bacon as a side dish. No arguments here.

The next time you’re in the mood for beer and want something a little different, don’t forget to stop by The Copper Door in Tacoma’s Stadium District. The selection is massive, the help is friendly, and the community is warm and welcoming.

The Copper Door
12 North Tacoma Ave
Tacoma, WA 98403

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