Arts & Entertainment

Tacoma’s best bars and bistros

Looking for a new hangout spot in Tacoma? Have no fear — we’ve got you covered. This list boasts eight places with a variety of themes to check out all around the Tacoma area. From cof­fee shop Jewel Box Cafe to Southern bar Steel Creek Whiskey Co., you’re guaranteed to find a place that suits your interests. So take a break from those textbooks and reward yourself by trying out these destinations!


If you’ve lived in Tacoma for more than a second, you probably have heard about Dorky’s Arcade. This is the perfect spot if you’re craving a throwback to the ’90s. While Dorky’s is geared toward all ages, they do turn into a 21 and up location after 9 p.m. Besides the great variety of video games, they also host trivia nights and serve a countless amount of beers and tasty foods.


Jewel Box Cafe is one of the cutest places in northern Tacoma. Situated in Point Ruston, this vintage yet in­dustrial cafe is totally geared at millennials. Jewel Box Cafe also offers a brilliant menu full of caffeinated beverages, wine, crepes, sandwiches, pasta, salad, assorted pastries and more. This cafe is great for an infor­mal meeting or study spot if you don’t mind a little more noise.


The Ale House in west Tacoma is a great spot for a bite with friends. While it’s mainly a bar, there is also an under 21 section. They’re best known for their tasty food, but what really draws in the crowds is the at­mosphere of the bar itself: a sports bar that isn’t too loud or too sporty — the best of both worlds. The Ale House has plenty of TVs to watch sports games, but it also still caters to good conversation. They feature a wide selection of drinks from beer and wine to a variety of delicious cocktails. This is the perfect place to go chill and waste a few hours if you’re stumped on where to go next.


Once you’ve had a champagne cocktail, no drink will ever pair up. The Blue Octopus is one of the only places in Tacoma that offers special­ty champagne drinks and a good selection of wine. The Ansel cocktail is by far one of the best and most refreshing, but it’s hard to choose wrong. There’s an industrial and up­scale vibe, but don’t worry — jeans are totally acceptable apparel. While The Blue Octopus can get expensive fast, this is a good place to grab a drink and an appetizer before dinner.


The Mix is a great place to dance, drink and party away the night. With various events, including some geared toward the LGBTQ+ community, The Mix is a welcoming place that ensures you can completely be yourself. They have great DJs and a solid bar, so whether you want to drink, dance, meet people or just hang out, The Mix has you covered.


If you’re a cowboy or just love Southern culture, then Steel Creek Whiskey Co. is the place for you. Steel Creek sits in a cozy little part of Broadway and features great food, country music and an electric bull. While it is a slightly more expensive bar, it’s still a great spot for a fun eve­ning of dancing and drinks.


The Hub is another Tacoma hotspot. They flaunt the usual burger and fries type entrees — but The Hub does them like no one else. They put a twist on the usual American grill dishes: think newer and better Red Robin minus the over branding. This place can get pretty loud when busy, but it’s still a fine place for a conversa­tion if you don’t mind speaking up.


This is by far the cutest bar in Ta­coma with a rustic vintage feel that you could easily spend an afternoon in, sipping martinis with friends. Because it’s situated right on Sixth Avenue, there’s no shortage of restau­rants and other bars to stop by, though you’re not likely to want to leave this gem. There’s also boutiques and shops nearby that can make the North End Social Club turn into a great part of an all-day affair.