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.
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.
Beneath the exposed beams of a vaulted ceiling, rows of dark tables serve as a platform for Cork! A Wine Bar’s spectrum of reds and whites. Sourced primarily from the Northwest, these vinous sips pair with a menu of warm flatbreads, rich cheeses, and pots of fondue that melt and bubble like a herd of Peeps lost in the desert. Patrons can sidle up to the bar for a pour of shiraz or a sudsy beer before kicking back in one of Cork's two lounge areas where espresso-hued leather chairs huddle together around low-lit lamps and small tables.
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.
The culinary team at The Office Bar & Grill pairs a stock of well drinks and tap and bottled beers with gourmet American-style pub food. Their eclectic menu includes spinach and artichoke dip with homemade pita chips, a chicken breast and pineapple burger drizzled with homemade teriyaki sauce, and fried-cheesecake bites topped with sweet raspberry sauce. While a jukebox spins customers’ favorite tunes, six high-definition flat-screen televisions keep patrons abreast of the latest sports scores. The Office Bar & Grill also entices clientele with a spacious outdoor courtyard and an arcade with sports-themed games such as Golden Tee, Silver Strike Bowling, and Extreme Referee Coin Toss!.