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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

#3457 - The Camp Bar, Tacoma, WA - 2/16/2018

Camp Bar, Tacoma, Washington

When Patrick Haight, veteran bartender from Seattle's Tini Bigs martini lounge, opened his own place, it was a swanky craft cocktail emporium in Belltown or Capitol Hill. Instead he acquired the old "Acme Tavern" (AKA "Acme Grub Cage") just below the Hilltop area and converted into an elaborately themed camp site for adults, with tents and camping gear and various odd bric-a-brac. So when the COVID pandemic hit, adding actual tents -- both inside and out -- was a natural. In addition there's now an outdoor patio with fake grass, picnic tables and tree stump seats.

As much as I love any place that would call itself a "grub cage," the Camp Bar is better in many different ways. Their web site says they are located "in a historic building that housed Tacoma's second oldest bar (Est. 1932)." This claim is a little wonky given that A) The building was only constructed in 1956; and B) 1932 was still in  prohibition. But the Acme Tavern starts to appear in city guides in 1941, listed at the building next door, on the corner of 13th, and then appears to have moved into the new (current) building right after it was constructed.

The current incarnation is pretty darn swell. The decor is somewhere between a dive bar and a theme park -- "In Tacoma bar terms, I’ll break it down for you: It’s going to be more like The Mule Tavern than En Rama." (News Tribune) The cocktails include a popular "One-eyed squirrel" concoction, with 10 rotating good beers on tap. The food emphasizes burgers and comfort food with some unique twists, including make-your-own s'mores with a little hibachi stove.

The staff are cool, and they host various events including a very popular karaoke night and "Not Safe For Work Bingo."

If I live anywhere close to this I would probably go a lot.

Est. 2017 - Building constructed: 1956
Previous bars in this location: Acme Tavern / Grub Cage
Web site: - facebook 
Articles ranked: southsoundtalk - southsoundtalk (tents) - newstribune - - king5 - yelp - tripadvisor - komonews 

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