Tacoma’s best bars for entertaining serve wine, beer
Tacoma, a beer town I was told, has been drenched in wine in recent years, thanks to an influx of thoughtful entrepreneurs, a couple of wineries looking to reach new audiences, and the long-awaited growth of what was once the city’s only shop.
Brewery taprooms are a popular destination for families year-round, but sometimes you need something stronger — or less carby?
These wine bars and tasting rooms have the makings of a sophisticated yet low-key outing for your out-of-town guests through this week between Christmas and New Year’s.
As we mentioned in our roundup of restaurants and bars open Christmas Day, it seems most places are open Monday, Dec. 26, knowing it’s a day off for many and we won’t want more cookies.
For a unique outing that doesn’t involve more suds, head to these fairly new additions to our bar/bottle shop scene to impress those visitors and prove that Tacoma also has great wine.
Note that hours listed include each listing’s typical weekly service schedule — for future reference — but every place here is closed Sunday, Jan. 1.
THE MILL BY JACK + ADELINE
▪ 515 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253-561-7711, jackandadeline.com
▪ Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (closed Jan. 1)
Leanne and Paul Franetovich opened this lovely storefront in early 2022. It’s the future home of her bakery — of pastries and sourdough breads, currently baked in a shared kitchen but available for purchase here and at the Waterfront Market in Ruston. It’s also a second retail hub for his custom wood boards and tables, crafted from heirloom woods. Part boutique general store, part wine and cheese shop, The Mill offers an excellent selection of packaged beer and wine to-go and, as of this fall, sells pours on-site. Find a seat by one of the floor-to-ceiling windows and browse the unique merchandise in case you missed someone on your list. Weather permitting, there’s also a sidewalk patio.
▪ 113 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, 253-342-9455, dahlmancellars.com
▪ Thursday 4-8 p.m., Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday open at 1 p.m. (closed Jan. 1)
Don’t let the tasting room moniker fool you — Andrea and Jim Dahlman have created a space that feels like a living room, only here you’re served fabulous wine with the makers as your guides. The couple opened their Tacoma tasting room — the young brand’s first — this summer. Bottles are carefully sourced from specialized vineyards in Eastern Washington, and taking at least one home is a must. Conveniently located in the Stadium District, it’s also decorated with vintage-style posters of Tacoma designed by a family friend. (Hint: they’re for sale!)
TACOMA WINE MERCHANTS
▪ 2112 N. 30th St., Tacoma, 253-779-8258, tacomawinemerchants.com
▪ Tuesday-Sunday noon-8 p.m. (closed at 6 p.m. NYE, all day Jan. 1)
Longtime Stadium District wine shop and bar Tacoma Wine Merchants unveiled its bigger Old Town shop this fall. It boasts a bigger bar, a big booth and a few window tables alongside, of course, their top-notch selection of bottles from around the world. Pop in for a flight (most in the $20 range for four 2-ounce pours), a full glass, or share a bottle on-site (corkage fee applied). The staff here is endlessly knowledgeable, and it’s unlikely you’ll leave without a few extras for your year-end celebration. During the day on New Year’s Eve, they have promised to pour some fun surprises.
STINK & EL TUFO WINE BAR
▪ 628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253-426-1347, stinktacoma.com
▪ Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (closed Dec. 31-Jan. 1)
A staple of St. Helens Ave. at this point, Stink and its connected wine bar El Tufo offer both a family-friendly dining room and a 21-and-up bar. Nibble on a charcuterie board, warm up with a cup of homemade soup or have the Monte-Stinko sandwich (a blackberry jam-boosted Monte Cristo). Sip on a glass or go for a very reasonably priced bottle from a European and South American-leaning list, most under $30. The full bar also serves cocktails and beer.
BROWNE FAMILY VINEYARDS – TACOMA
▪ 2508 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253-904-3066, brownefamilyvineyards.com
▪ Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (closed Jan. 1)
Brown Family Vineyards is an established name in Washington wine, but their Tacoma tasting room opened in 2020. The sleek midcentury-styled space is well-suited to entertaining, with seats at a beautiful bar or in plush velvet chairs around the fireplace. Located in the heart of the Proctor District across from Met Market, stop by for a glass of several tasting-room exclusive sips, including the brand’s Spy Master series. Light bites include packaged charcuterie from Tacoma’s Art of Crunch.
VIN GROTTO WINES
▪ 1130 Broadway, Suite. 204, Tacoma, 253-341-5298, vingrottowines.com
Friday 3-7 p.m., Saturday 1-6 p.m.
Kris Blondin has been serving the good stuff to Tacoma for a couple decades from various locations. Her wonderful little wine shop and bar in downtown Tacoma provides the same savvy and selection in a speakeasy setting. (Note that you can access the entrance from either Broadway or Court C — take the stairs in between these two streets.) Grab a glass while you survey the bottle you’ll take home for the rest of the weekend. On Dec. 30 and 31, she will be pouring some special sparkling selections, rendering your ability to head home empty-handed a fool’s errand.
MORSO WINE BISTRO
▪ 9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor, 253-530-3463, morsobistro.com
▪ Monday-Saturday noon-close (kitchen closes at 8 p.m.)
The only selection here that’s also a full-service restaurant, Morso is handily one of the most pleasant places to dine in Gig Harbor. While lunch and dinner are fine options, the lounge-like atmosphere also makes for an easy excuse for off-hour shared plates: warm herbed olives, salmon cakes, seafood chowder, flatbreads and charcuterie boards. Relax with whatever your potion, then ask for a few recommendations to take-home from the adjacent retail shop, which they added in 2020. Can’t get enough? They also recently launched a wine club.
A few other considerations for just retail celebratory bottles: Field Bar + Bottle Shop on Sixth Avenue and Wildside Wine in the West End. Though closed for the holiday week, Old Town Wine Skins is also fresh on the scene for your 2023 wine desires.