In Tacoma, we’re lucky to have both a bustling bar scene and a rich history. Why not marry those two things and take in a bit of history with your drink of choice? There’s a number of watering holes that have been around for almost a century, and more that are housed in buildings that have roots in our city’s past.

Parkway Tavern

This bar and eatery has been in operation since 1935. From the outside, it looks like a cute house with shake siding. Indoors you can find a cold beer, craft cocktail, food and games in the form of pool, darts and shuffleboard.

Parkway Tavern is located at 313 North I Street. Find out more by calling 253-383-8748, or visiting their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Spar

Tacoma’s Old Town area is where you can find a building that once held one of the city’s many saloons. The building where The Spar is located has been around since the early 1900s, although back then it was called the Old Tacoma Saloon. In 1916, the former saloon was transformed into a restaurant called The Spar. It has been through a remodel or two since then and serving alcoholic beverages alongside food since the repeal of Prohibition. Today, enjoy a cold beer from one of their many rotating craft beer taps and snack on their house-made Spar chips.

The Spar is located at 2121 North 30th Street. Learn more by calling 253-627-8215, visiting their website or following them on Facebook or Instagram.

McMenamins Elks Temple
Soak up the history of the 100-year-old building that houses McMenamins Elks Temple while enjoying a craft beer or cocktail. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

McMenamins Elks Temple

This building used to house the Tacoma Elks Club, but McMenamins revived the abandoned structure in April 2019 when they turned it into a hotel, music venue, restaurant and several bars. Today, you can soak up the history of this 100-year-old space while enjoying a craft beer, cocktail, mocktail or coffee.

McMenamins Elks Temple is located at 565 Broadway. Find out more by visiting their website, calling 425-219-4370 or finding them on Instagram.

Beach Tavern

Offering stunning views of the Tacoma Narrows and a range of cocktails, Beach Tavern on Titlow Beach has been around for over eight decades. The heavy wood accents and big vinyl booths offer a retro vibe to the interior, but the drink and food options are contemporary.

Beach Tavern is located at 8612 Sixth Avenue. Learn more by calling 253-564-9984 or following them on Facebook.

Bob’s Java Jive

Don’t let the exterior fool you. Despite the building being shaped like a giant coffee pot, this establishment is a bar, and a quirky one at that. Bob’s Java Jive has been in Tacoma since the late 1920s and this spot serves up hot live performances and cold beer seven nights a week.

Bob’s Java Jive is located at 2102 South Tacoma Way. Learn more by calling 253-475-9843.

The Valley

With its proximity to the Port of Tacoma, this bar has been around in some form since the 1920s. Its current concept pays homage to the past in subtle ways like the old signage that litters the walls. Grab a cold beer or cocktail, and enjoy it with one of the signature sandwiches.

The Valley is located at 1206 Puyallup Avenue. Give them a call at 253-248-4265 to find out more. Or visit them online or give them a follow on Instagram.

Doyle’s Public House

Although it’s located in Tacoma’s Stadium District, at first glance, you’ll swear you’re overseas as you step into Doyle’s Pub. From the brick exterior to the dark wood accents inside, Doyle’s embodies a traditional European public house. And, that authenticity doesn’t stop with the ambience. You can sip on a number of imported beers on tap, as well as a huge selection of whiskey. They’re open for breakfast, so you can enjoy your coffee with a nip of the strong stuff, too.

Doyle’s is located at 208 Saint Helens Avenue. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or give them a call at 253-272-7468.

The Swiss Restaurant and Pub

Located in a historic building that’s over 100 years old, this bar is near the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus. The Swiss is known for hosting live music, their gaming room, as well as for their selection of 31 taps featuring microbrews and ciders, and a full cocktail menu.

The Swiss is located at 1904 South Jefferson. Get more information by visiting their website, or by calling 253-572-2821. You can follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Meconi's Tacoma
Meconi’s Pub got its start as the Bodega Bar in the 1800s. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

Meconi’s Pub

Located on Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue, Meconi’s Pub started in 1889 as the Bodega Bar, but the space has transformed numerous times throughout the years. Currently, it’s a great place to grab a cold beer or a cocktail and a bite to eat. There’s a rotating selection of craft beers on tap from brewers around the Pacific Northwest. Likewise there are cocktails that range from the traditional to twists on old favorites.

Meconi’s Pub is located at 709 Pacific Avenue. Find out more by visiting their website, following them on Facebook or calling 253-383-3388.

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