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.
If you want a side of two-step with your steak, then downtown Tacoma is your best bet. An homage to country cooking and culture, Steel Creek treats visitors to certified Angus steaks and burgers, potent whiskey cocktails, and a lively dance floor. Tuesdays and Thursday nights mean lessons in two-step and line dancing, which prep students for the live music and DJs at weekend country parties.
Before the revelry begins, guests pair entrees from prime rib to pot roast with drinks that incorporate moonshine and sweet-tea vodka. Whiskey enthusiasts, meanwhile, consult a long list of drinks from both local distilleries and other countries. If you're feeling lucky, you might spin the Drink Wheel for instant cocktail specials, or feed fake oats to the mechanical bull in hopes of gaining its trust.
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.
Situated right in Tacoma’s downtown university-and-museum district, Harmon Brewery and Eatery buzzes with out-of-towners and locals alike, all in search of hearty food and frothy microbrews. With a 15-barrel brewery on site, Harmon maintains a steady flow of signature ales, including seasonal varieties, such as a black IPA brewed from five malted barleys and the One Hop Wonder IPA laced with melted Right Said Fred tapes. To complement the pints and the warm, cozy atmosphere—modeled after a ski lodge—the kitchen churns out belly-warming food, such as burgers topped with blue cheese and bacon, homemade stone-baked pizzas, and panko-crusted fish and chips.
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.