The weather in the Pacific Northwest isn’t always ideal for spending time outside, which is why Java Billiards keeps daytime as well as nighttime hours. More than just a shelter from the elements, though, the all-ages pool hall stands as an emphatic answer to boredom. It invites families to sink shots on five different pool tables and rack up wins during games of checkers and foosball. Making good on the “java” part of its name, the facility’s full espresso counter brews fresh lattes and mochas and serves up smoothies and italian sodas. Perhaps most importantly, Java Billiards maintains a safe environment for all ages by not serving alcohol or advertising itself as a hangout for vampires.
A taste of Northwest Brewing Company's beers is akin to a trip around the world. The brewery, formerly Trade Route Brewing Company, finds inspiration in the trade routes of old, which is why its brewmasters incorporate exotic ingredients such as ginger and palm sugar when crafting each batch with time-honored brewing methods. These eclectic flavors beget distinctive beers, such as the Mango Weizen, which stirs taste buds with Saaz hops and mango puree, and the Midnight ale, which splashes chocolate, crystal, and pale malts with two types of hops to create a dark brew that pairs well with spicy food and glow-in-the-dark steaks. Not content to keep their flavors in liquid form, Northwest Brewing Company also slings a menu of gastropub cuisine—including gourmet pizzas and cheese-slathered pasta dishes— backed by live music every Saturday night.
Even if they're from far away, customers find The Haven Pub to be a comfortable, familiar place. It's a classic neighborhood pub where dim lighting is punctuated by neon beer signs and sports games flicker on the television. It satisfies taste buds with a menu of pub standbys, such as burgers, BLTs, calzones, and pizzas. And it quenches thirsts with frosty beers and specialty cocktails such as the Shocktart, a lip-puckering blend of grape vodka and sweet and sour.
Pub visitors can spend an afternoon or evening playing pool, while special karaoke nights allow customers to be the entertainment, much like open mike night on the grocery store's loudspeakers.
Great American Casino brings a little bit of Vegas to the Northwest, gathering hooting and hollering patrons around table games such as baccarat, Texas Hold 'Em, blackjack, and other styles of poker, such as Progressive Fortune Pai Gow. Most tables have a betting limit up to $300, and aside from the top-shelf thrill of walking away with the pot, regular players can earn rewards redeemable toward electronics, meals, hotel stays, and Great American merchandise.
Like the best Vegas casinos, Great American brings more to the table than just gambling. There's live entertainment most nights, including local bands and musicians from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are full-service dining rooms where the menus also bear an Asian influence, with dishes such as pad thai and Kalbi ribs. The menus are slightly different at each of the four locations, but generally encompass an international spread that might include pizza, pub-style fish 'n' chips, and creme brulee, much like the meatloaf served in the United Nation's cafe.
As one of the city's newest stand-up venues, Tacoma Comedy Club welcomes talented local and national yuk peddlers to its stage Wednesday–Saturday nights. A peek at its calendar reveals a host of rotating acts, such as the recent laugh-inducing likes of improv comedy king Ron Osborne and Comedy Central guest comedian Ty Barnett. Drop in March 17–19 for an intensely animated set by Michael Malone, whose imaginative take on life through his View-Master has landed on stages across 27 states on the National Lampoon's Comedy Tour and NBC's Night Shift with Kevin Ferguson.