Some call them "potato wedges." Others know them as "steak fries" or "small, ineffectual swords." But the regulars at 2121 Pub refer to the thick-cut, crispy potatoes simply as "jos." They're a favorite at the lively neighborhood watering hole, and are often served alongside orders of chicken sandwiches and crunchy fried seafood.
To complement jos and other freshly made eats, the pub's bartenders pour an array of craft beers and cocktails. Servers carry these frosty beverages out into the dimly lit dining area, where friends converse while stealing glances at sports games playing on the wall-mounted televisions. Come springtime, diners gather in the pub's beer garden to split pitchers and pizzas beneath the sun. Throughout the week, 2121 also hosts special events, including bingo and karaoke.
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.
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.
It's not hard to see the Northwestern roots in Bar Bistro's menu. An entree of seared coho salmon is laid upon tomato broth studded with Dungeness crab, and the classic cioppino blends red snapper, scallops, clams, and mussels in a fennel broth. The stronger influence, however, actually comes from lands closer to the opposite corner of the country. Chefs rely on tons of Caribbean flavors, such as in their jerk-rubbed baby back ribs and grilled pork chops, which they pair with dirty rice and plantain chips. They even draw from Mexican ingredients, which can be found in dishes such as chorizo mac 'n' cheese.
But of course, this is Bar Bistro, so there's just as much attention paid to the selection of spirits. The Northwestern influence is there again with the craft beers, including Fremont Interurban IPA, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, but there's also nationally popular crafts such as Victory Golden Monkey and Left Hand Milk Stout. The specialty cocktails quite literally take center stage on the drink list, and for good reason. Artisanal ingredients flavor many of the elixirs—orgeat syrup sweetens the Swizzle Tizzle's blend of dark and spicy rums, and fresh strawberries and blood-orange liqueur add fruity notes to the Bourbon Kiss.
At North Point Bar & Grill, shoots of smoke unfurl through the air, unfurling around the legs of a pool table and winding around cool glasses at the bar. The Tacoma Weekly explained that the bar is owned by a Puyallup Tribe member, making it one of a limited number of refuges for local smokers. The piece also lauded the eatery’s adventurous food items, including deep-fried Oreos. Aromas from the kitchen also hint at all-day breakfast entrees, steak dinners, and fiery hot wings. At the bustling bar, the clatter of pint glasses and silverware punctuates the noise from DJs, live bands, comedians, and mimes who skipped class too often.
Even on a menu packed with beastly feasts, the B.S. burger is peerless. Not because of its name, which stands for Black Star, or even because of its ingredients, which include a half-pound of charbroiled Angus beef, bacon, and red onions, but because of the gauntlet it throws down. "WE DARE YOU!" taunts the menu. "IT'S LOADED!"
It's a challenge eaters at Black Star are happy to take up. The B.S. anchors a menu of likewise audaciously-topped burgers, hearty sandwiches, and entrees with cavalierly hearty portions, and while they may not all come with the same overt, exclamatory dare, the sentiment stands. For the burger dip, a charbroiled patty dresses up like a french dip and plunges into au jus like a mime in a parisian dunk tank, and the grilled roast beef and cheddar smuggles tomatoes between thick pieces of grilled sourdough.