Peaks and Pints, the newest addition to Tacoma’s beer scene, began with a daydream.
“In the spring of 2015, my wife Kate and I were sitting in our neighborhood restaurant Pomodoro,” recalls co-owner Ron Swarner. “She kept shaking me out of a daze, as I was lost in the turn of the century building across the street. The day before, a close friend suggested he and I should open a beer store and taproom. I couldn’t shake the idea, or the perfect location for such a venture.”
The building in question resides on North 26th Street, just off of Proctor Street. It had once served as a movie theater, a five and dime, and Tacoma Bike. The day after that fateful dinner at Pomodoro, Swarner sold half of his business, Swarner Communications, to his brother and set to making his daydream a reality.
Swarner is no stranger to Tacoma’s vibrant beer scene. “The last four years I have written about beer almost on a daily basis,” he says. “It’s become my passion. I adore the scene. There is an element of solidarity, brewers being a band of brothers.” Perhaps taking the concept of brothers literally, Swarner enlisted the help of Justin and Robby Peterson, whose business ventures include Peterson Bros. 1111, The Valley, and The Galley food truck. “While I had an extensive marketing experience, management skills, workaholic work ethic, and vast beer knowledge, I had never run a tavern,” Swarner says. “In addition, I wanted to share in success or cry in our beers with other like-minded, restaurant and tavern savvy partners.”
Soon the three men got together to come up with something special for the Proctor neighborhood.
Fast forward almost two years later, Peaks and Pints opened their doors for the first time on November 1, 2016. Its expansive space, original wood-slat floor, reclaimed wood bar, and 20-foot ceiling seem appropriate for its mountainous theme.
“Step into Peaks and Pints and the first thing you notice is…up,” laughs Swarner. “The walls teem with vintage mountainscapes and alpine accoutrements, making guests feel like they’re at an old mountain saloon where they’ll get good eats and likely know a few people by name. The 3,600-square-foot joint looks like Paul Bunyan’s vacation home.”
Patrons can expect around 25 beers on tap, including nitro and cask lines. If you can’t find anything there, take a walk to the back where refrigerators house another 700 diverse bottled beers from around the world. If beer isn’t your thing, Peaks and Pints also offers unique alternatives that include wine, artisan craft cider, cold brewed coffee, and kombucha. If you can’t find the craft beer you’re looking for, Swarner and team offer a simple solution. They’ll “climb the mountain” to find it.
The food menu is also unique. Instead of typical bar fare, Peaks and Pints offers an uncommon variety of small bites, sandwiches, and salads, including Spicy Deviled Eggs, The Roastmary (roast beef, smoked gouda, red onion, and rosemary mayo on rye bread), or the Bleu Beet Salad (mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, olives, parmesan, and fried onions with bleu cheese crumbles and white balsamic dressing).
“You won’t find fish and chips on the menu,” jokes Swarner.
Yet perhaps what makes or breaks a successful neighborhood taproom are the people that frequent it. Luckily, the owners of Peaks and Pints feel they’ve hit the jackpot with their location and the people who will soon become regulars. Swarner calls them “a crowd that most owners would kill for – a collaboration of local nuts, college students, Tacoma runners, moneyed neighbors, bearded beer geeks, fixed-gear cyclists, Saturday market shoppers and tourists. Peaks and Pints took a cue from the boutique taprooms of Portland, Asheville, and San Francisco that cater to the walkability and bikeability of an active neighborhood district.”
Much like the continued growth of the Tacoma’s vibrant beer community, the future of Peaks and Pints looks promising. A glass atrium with a fireplace will be added within the first couple months of its opening, and the taproom plans to host events and gatherings throughout the year.
Swarner adds, “Our philosophy focuses on contributing to our community’s betterment in any way that we can. Whether you want to stop in after work and unwind, meet up with friends to solve pothole problems, spend an evening learning brewing secrets from a knowledgeable brewmaster, listen to music paired with specific beer, or chat about Green Tacoma Partnership, our goal is to make this neighborhood a better place to live.”
Peaks and Pints Craft Beer Store, Taproom & Eatery
3816 North 26th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407