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.
To properly pair one of Sax's specialty cocktails with an entree, simply read the personified cocktail name, then apply logic. For instance, a Miles Davis—Godiva chocolate liqueur, Stoli Razberi, Chambord, and a splash of cream ($8)—would likely fill his trumpet-blowing cheeks with a hearty 10-ounce flatiron steak served aside white-truffle mashed potatoes and veggies ($18). And a Bossa Nova—mixed with 10 different cane rums, limes, simple syrup, and soda ($8)—wouldn't be able to pick a plate because Bossa Nova is a music style, not an autonomous music-legend cocktail. Other entrees include seafood risotto ($18), pasta primavera ($14), and 14-ounce lamb chops served over Mediterranean couscous ($22).
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.
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.
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.