Seattle Travel
The 14 Best Dive Bars, Pubs, and Taverns in Tacoma

The 14 Best Dive Bars, Pubs, and Taverns in Tacoma

Post last updated September 27, 2023

The city of Tacoma has a bit of everything: breathtaking vistas, delicious eateries, a thriving culture, and plenty to do and see for all ages. Endearingly nicknamed Grit City, it has a big-city attitude with a small-town mentality, and it’s no wonder that Tacoma’s dive bar, pub, and tavern scene is as impressive as the rest of it. 

From quiet holes-in-the-wall to lively entertainment venues, Tacoma has it all. Although there are too many unique venues to include in one article, this list of divey sports bars, laid-back pubs, and welcoming taverns shows off the true nitty gritty of this city’s rich character. 

Lucky Silver Tavern

Bar menu at Lucky Silver Tavern
(Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

A dive is generally associated with dim lighting, cheap drinks, and an unassuming atmosphere, and the Lucky Silver Tavern fits that bill well. While the decoration and furnishings are minimal, the welcoming staff and relaxed atmosphere have kept this family-owned bar in business since 1966. 

A fully stocked bar and tasty bar bites are the perfect combination to sit back and take a load off. The Korean BBQ tacos and hearty cheeseburger are some customer favorites, as is the sweet churro and vanilla ice cream dessert. 

The atmosphere is laid-back and the crowd is largely comprised of regulars. A pool table greets guests at the door, and the back patio extends the small space. 

The Lucky Silver Tavern doesn’t have a set happy hour, but they do run various beer specials throughout the week. This Tacoma dive opens at noon daily, closing at midnight on weeknights and 2 am on weekends. 

The Spar

Located in the Historic Old Town neighborhood of Tacoma, The Spar has a long history in the city. Originally operating as the Old Tacoma Saloon in the early 1900s, it has experienced many lives. It was once a men’s furnishings store before becoming The Spar restaurant through the prohibition era, and finally transforming into a full-service establishment in 1933. 

That history continues today as they serve drinks and food alongside billiards and live music. A full bar menu is available, as are various entrees and shareable dishes. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and seafood, with the fried zucchini chips and the grilled chicken sandwich standing out as crowd favorites. 

The cozy interior reflects the bar’s past, made warm by the brick wall and wood furnishings that are customarily seen in Irish pubs. Pictures of old Tacoma adorn the walls while two pool tables wait to be played in the back. Some nights even feature performances on the small corner stage for a variety of fun entertainment options. 

The Spar opens daily at 11 am, serving until 9 pm on weekdays and 11 pm on weekends. A happy hour that discounts draft beers, well drinks, house wine, and select food items is also available Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm. 

Rock the Dock Pub & Gill

Overlooking Commencement Bay at the beginning of Ruston Way, Rock the Dock Pub & Grill serves up homestyle meals and cheap drinks in a relaxed waterfront atmosphere. From brunch to dinner and special events, this woman-owned and family-run small business has been a welcomed part of the Tacoma community since 2009. 

With a full bar and tasty homestyle plates, it’s no surprise that Rock the Dock Pub & Grill was once voted the best neighborhood bar in Western Washington. The staff is friendly and attentive, and the food is nothing short of satisfying. Brunch is served on weekends, and daily lunch specials are available throughout the week. They even have a lengthy happy hour discounting well drinks, wines, draft specials, and select food items each weekday from 3 – 7 pm. 

Favorite dishes at Rock the Dock include the Belgian waffles and the fish and chips, though their Taco Thursdays are also popular. Bloody Marys and mimosas are perfect for those weekend brunch dates, and their nautical-inspired house cocktails draw inspiration from the harbor setting. 

Indoor and outdoor seating is available at Rock the Dock, with great views of Mt. Rainier on clear days. Pets are welcome on the porch, and special pup cups and dishes make perfect treats for a day out. Rock the Dock opens at 11 am on weekdays and 10 am on weekends, with closing hours varying throughout the week. 

The Loose Wheel

Since 2010, the Loose Wheel Bar and Grill has been a hub for sports and friends along Tacoma’s 6th Avenue. They serve homestyle food and reasonably priced drinks in a laid-back setting with plenty of TVs to catch your team’s next game. 

The Loose Wheel was started as a place for the local community, and that dream has been realized through their friendly service and generous offerings. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with plenty of menu options that range from omelets to pizza and steak. They also have a full bar with an extensive list of beers as well as a small selection of wine. 

The atmosphere is reminiscent of a bar and grill, and the generous number of screens throughout the venue makes it easy to catch your favorite game. There are also two pool tables and over 60 pull tab games, as well as regular Thursday night trivia.

The Tacoma Loose Wheel Bar and Grill location is the first of two, the other having opened two years later in Puyallup. The Tacoma location opens at 11 am on weekdays and at 9 am on weekends, closing at midnight on weeknights and 2 am on weekends. 

Steel Creek 

Tacoma’s Steel Creek is the place to be for country music, barbecue, and whiskey. Though it may not fit the standard definition of a dive bar, the welcoming atmosphere and steadily flowing drinks earned this western bar its spot on the list. 

The ranch-style interior is spacious and smartly decorated. Half-barrels and some of Whiskey Row’s finest names decorate the walls, while string lighting hanging from wooden rafters gives this bar its barn-like feel. TVs showing the latest games are placed throughout the large dining area, while a mechanical bull sits near the bar, waiting to buck off daring riders. And let’s not forget the spacious dance floor, where Steel Creek hosts free weekly dance classes for all ages. 

Not only does this Tacoma bar provide great entertainment options, but there’s no shortage of food and drink either. Their whiskey list is lengthy and diverse, while their signature cocktails find the perfect balance between flavors. They also serve an excellent southern-inspired dinner menu, with items like the Prime Rib Dip Sandwich or the Pulled Pork Barbeque plate being some customer favorites. 

Steel Creek is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, with hours starting at 5 pm and lasting until midnight on Wednesdays and 2 am every other day. Their happy hour is every Wednesday through Friday from 5-7 pm, and they even serve a late-night food menu from 10 pm until close. 

The Mix

Tacoma is all about inclusivity and community, and The Mix embodies these values. This popular LGBTQ+ bar in the Theater District is lively and welcoming, and the cheap drinks and downstairs karaoke floor make it one of the best dive bars in Tacoma. 

Whether you prefer a relaxing drink with friends or want to be the star of the show, The Mix is the place to be. The dim lighting is made brighter with rainbow accents and neon lighting, and the fully stocked bar guarantees a good night. 

The Mix is open daily from 2pm until 2 am. Although they don’t offer a food menu, its proximity to the Historic Downtown district means it’s only a short walk to the best 10 downtown Tacoma restaurants. They also regularly throw fun events like karaoke and trivia nights, making this the perfect destination for a night out.  

Top of Tacoma

Drink at Top of Tacoma Bar
(Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

Sitting high up on the hills of Tacoma’s McKinley Avenue, the Top of Tacoma Bar is a cozy nook with tasty drinks, an inclusive food menu, and a dusky ambiance. The elongated bar stretches back with ample seating space, and the modest setting is speckled with random décor to keep the eye entertained.  

Food is at the forefront of the menu at the Top of Tacoma, with menu options including classic bar bites as well as a generous selection of vegetarian options. They’re a great destination for lunch or dinner, while their weekend brunch menu would give any of the 10 best breakfast and brunch spots in Tacoma a run for their money. Some favorite dishes include the pork belly tacos and the Beast of Burden sandwich, while their specialty brunch drinks have the perfect balance to start a day off right. 

The Top of Tacoma is open daily from 11 am until 2 am. They offer some great daily specials, such as their Well and Fried Chicken Wednesdays and the popular half-price Taco Thursdays. They also have a daily happy hour from 2 – 6 pm for food and drinks and from 10 pm – midnight for just food.  

Beach Tavern 

Beach Tavern outside view
(Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

The Beach Tavern is a small dive bar across from Titlow Beach Park. As the oldest bar in Tacoma, it has an established customer base, but its convenient location, weekly specials, and weekend breakfast make it a great spot for anyone looking for a good time. 

Dark and cozy, the Beach Tavern has a welcoming dive bar atmosphere with a full bar and food made to order. They specialize in beach lunch and tavern-style dishes, all made from scratch with select local ingredients. Favorites include the prime rib and the fish and chips, while the American-style breakfasts served on weekends also draw in a crowd. 

In addition to a laid-back vibe and a hearty menu, the Beach Tavern also runs nightly specials throughout the week. These include:

  • Monday Wing Nights 
  • Tuesday Spaghetti Nights
  • All-day Taco Thursdays
  • Fish n’ Chip Fridays

The Beach Tavern opens at 10 am on weekdays and 8 am for breakfast on weekends. It closes at midnight on weeknights and at 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Black Star Pub & Grill

Traveling south on Pacific Avenue, you’ll come across Black Star, a fun Tacoma pub and grill with daily specials and a rotating beer menu. This family-owned business has been serving Tacoma drinks and bites since 2006 and has become a popular community staple. With a sports bar vibe and friendly staff, Black Star Pub & Grill is easily one of the best dive bars in Tacoma.  

Black Star may not flaunt a fancy drink menu, but the bar is fully stocked and the three pool tables mean that billiards enthusiasts can easily snag a table for a game. There is also a dance floor for parties and events, as well as pull tabs and an outdoor patio. 

The kitchen at Black Star does an excellent job of satisfying an appetite with hearty portions of standard bar fare like burgers, salads, and wings. Some favorites include the pulled pork mac & cheese and the cobb salad, and they offer daily food specials throughout the week. 

Daily food specials are offered throughout the week, while trivia buffs can test their wits at 7 pm every Tuesday and Friday. Black Star opens daily at 11 am, with hours lasting until midnight on weeknights and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Bob’s Java Jive

A staple Tacoma dive bar is undoubtedly Bob’s Java Jive, the quirky structure that’s shaped like a coffee pot and can be spotted standing tall off Highway 99. Catching eyes and serving customers since 1927, this popular roadside attraction has made its mark on the city to become one of the Top 25 things to do in Tacoma.  

Although Bob’s Java Jive is a popular dive bar today, it has undergone several transformations in the last century. The building started as a breakfast joint (hence the coffee pot shape) before becoming a diner, a speakeasy, and a public bar. Over the years, it has hosted musical performances from bands like Nirvana and has been the backdrop for movies. Despite the fame and interest it has gathered, including an offer to buy the building by Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, this Tacoma dive bar remains a place for the community to gather and have a good time. 

True to its dive bar nature, the interior is dim and mysterious, with quirky decorations adorning every inch of the space. From the dollar bills on the ceiling signed by visitors from around the world to the string lighting and back fireplace, saying this dive bar is eclectic would only begin to describe it. The venue is popular for karaoke and pool, and they even host occasional themed and live music events.  

Bob’s Java Jive does not serve a full bar, but they do have a generous selection of beers, ciders, seltzers, and wines, as well as select canned cocktails. They also serve a tasty food menu, including several different burgers, appetizers, and other bar-style fares. 

Bob’s Java Jive is opens daily at 4 pm. They’re open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 2 am Thursday through Saturday. 

Airport Tavern

Games and bar at Airport Tavern
(Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

In the heart of industrial central Tacoma sits a long, dusky dive with a lot of character.  Known for its pinball machines and regularly hosted events, Airport Tavern is a community gathering spot for cheap drinks and good times. 

Whether you prefer games, music, or football, this Tacoma dive bar has it all. Pinball machines line both walls along the entrance, leading patrons back toward the stage area. A fully stocked bar features regular specials, and the friendly bartenders are always ready to answer questions or have a chat. 

We recommend checking the calendar to find upcoming shows, which are in addition to their regularly hosted open mic nights, karaoke nights, and Electric Taco Tuesdays. They also adjust their hours to be open for all Sunday Seahawks games throughout the season, while rotating specials also make this a great stop for any other games you may want to catch throughout the week. 

Airport Tavern is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 pm, with a daily happy hour running from 4-6 pm. 

Parkway Tavern

Just a block away from Wright Park on the edge of Tacoma’s Stadium District, Parkway Tavern has been serving up an impressive assortment of craft brews since 1935. They’re a welcoming neighborhood bar complete with a cute cottage vibe, outdoor seating, and a small billiard and arcade room. 

This Tacoma tavern has more than 30 draft handles stocked with both local and regional domestic craft beers. They have two nitro taps for those who like a smooth and foamy top, and ciders and hard seltzers are on tap as well. Those who enjoy the pure taste of the brew may also want to ask for the “cask engine” tap, which rests at room temperature and doesn’t contain any additional carbonation. 

Although Parkway Tavern doesn’t have a full bar, they do carry a handful of red and white wines. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a soup of the day can be ordered to accompany your beverage, while growlers and crowler cans make it easy to take your favorite brews home. 

Parkway Tavern is open daily from 11 am until midnight. In addition to a robust menu, Parkway Tavern also hosts special events such as Monday Randall Nights, Brewer’s Nights, Cider Nights, and even Barleywine Week. 

The Mule Tavern

A classic cocktail at the Mule Tavern
(Image Credit: Seattle Travel)

If the name of this bar makes you think of a certain vodka-based cocktail, then this is the Tacoma dive bar for you. Known as Tacoma’s Craft Dive and named after the popular Moscow Mule cocktail, The Mule Tavern combines skillful craft with the divey atmosphere we love. 

The key to a delicious Moscow Mule is the ginger beer, and that is exactly what sets this bar apart. The “craft” part of being a craft dive bar lies in their house-made ginger beer, which includes fresh ginger and lemon juice and is sweetened with real cane sugar. The real ginger carries a sharp spice, which is toned down and balanced by the sweet sugar and citrusy lemon. Guests can try it on its own or in any of their Moscow Mule variations, and you can even take some home in a growler. 

In addition to ginger beer and cocktails, the Mule Tavern carries a standard selection of craft beers on daft as well as domestic cans. They also serve a humble, yet fun bar food menu, including a Cajun cup noodle, white cheddar truffle popcorn, and warm pistachios. The atmosphere is dim and inviting, and the outside patio is a perfect year-round extension. 

The Mule Tavern is closed on Mondays. Their hours run from 4- 11 pm on Sundays and Tuesdays, 3 pm-midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 3 pm – 2 am Fridays and Saturdays. 

The Camp Bar

Outdoor enthusiasts will love The Camp Bar, a themed venue that was designed around embracing Northwestern traditions and has been serving the community since 2017. From their collection of some of the worst wilderness art to their camping-inspired cocktails and bites, this bar brings the outdoors into a cozy nook in downtown Tacoma. 

As you might imagine, the menu at The Camp Bar is made up of food you could cook over a campfire. Favorites include the Magic Mushroom Burger (magic to your tastebuds, that is!) and the hummus platter, with several other vegan options to choose from as well. Their Smores for Two dessert even gives you everything needed to make your own Smores over a personal tabletop hot burner. 

The signature cocktails are naturally also camp-inspired, with popular options including the One-Eyed Squirrel and the Campers Margarita Delight. And what better to complete your camping trip than some of the best karaoke in the south sound, as voted by South Sound readers and happening every Friday and Saturday night at 9 pm.  

The Camp Bar is closed on Mondays. They’re open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 2 – 11 pm and from 2 – 9 pm on Sundays. They also have a daily happy hour from 2 – 6 pm. 


Share article

Copyright © 2023 SeattleTravel.com

Seattle Travel