Are you looking for the perfect spot for an adult night out? Where historical charm and a good cocktail matter as much as a flavorful spectrum of traditional American pub-style fare? Look no further. The Forum in Tacoma fulfills the requirements and then some with a sophisticated, neighborhood vibe.
Established in 2014, The Forum lives within the shadows of early 1900 Tacoma grandeur, in the original Hotel Olympus, on Pacific Avenue.
Built in 1909 by local architect Carl August Darmer and Olympia Beer magnate Leopold Schmidt, the building stands in an area formerly known as ‘whiskey row’ in its pre-prohibition heyday.
Today, the building houses apartments above one of the area’s favorite neighborhood lunch and bar scenes. The popular dining destination is coupled with sophisticated drinks and is an overall cool place to hang out.
With a relaxed ambiance, and relics of its former glory, like early tile flooring, authentic Hotel Olympus bar, and much of the original woodwork, patrons might find themselves wondering if these walls could talk, what they might say.
Some of the comments they would hear today include how good and generous the food portions are. “One of the things that really makes us stand out is, not only the quality of the products we serve but the portions,” says General Manager Yanin Reyes. “It gives our customers a lot of bang for their buck.”
Guests can’t go wrong with a number of popular sandwich choices like the French Dip and delicious appetizers like everyone’s favorite, tachos — tater-tot nachos packed full of ground beef, black beans, shredded cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, salsa, and green onions on top.
“Another focal point is our variety of sauces,” says Reyes. “We have so many different sauces, all house-made. People are often surprised when we start naming off all the sauces we have.” Try each one and get more of the ones you like best from a sauce plate sampler.
Besides the relaxed atmosphere and outstanding selection of food offerings, one of the best features of The Forum is their ability to shake things up with an exciting new or classic cocktail.
With various infused alcohols made right on the premises and rotated seasonally, customers are wowed by flavors like the garlic basil vodka, orange bourbon and jalapeño tequila.
Try signature drinks like the orange old fashioned, made with orange-infused bourbon, or the basil blue martini, made with house-infused blueberry gin, to name a few.
There’s also a large selection of local brews on tap and a local brewery featured each month.
Don’t miss one of the best happy hours on Pac Ave. on Monday through Thursday from 2-6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, and all day on Sunday.
Another facet of The Forum’s historical charm that can’t go unmentioned is the possibility of a ghostly connection. With the building being as old as it is, some have speculated that there may be some additional guests of the other-worldly kind. In the past, it was even a stop on city ghost tours.
“I’ve never experienced it myself, but we have heard things, and stuff will sometimes fall off of a shelf, things like that,” according to Reyes. The mystery remains, and whether the encounters are true or false is anyone’s guess.
The most challenging transition occurred during phase two of COVID-19 guidance. “Having to focus on to-go orders and not being able to accommodate people inside was really rough at first,” says Reyes. “But we gained a lot of customers that tried us for the first time, and are now returning, coming in to sit down and really enjoy the whole experience of The Forum.”
From a magnificent bar, ample indoor seating, to the street-front outdoor patio area, and private event space open for booking, The Forum in downtown Tacoma is definitely a worthy contender for a fun time out. From date-night dinner and drinks to an evening out with friends, business or pleasure, it’s the perfect meeting spot.
“Our main goal is to really offer that comfortable, neighborhood vibe, where anybody can come in and feel like this is their place and keep coming back,” says Reyes.
815 Pacific Ave. A