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McMenamins

Tacoma Elks Temple has new, fun life

If I were an old building, I would like to be refreshed by McMenamins. It's always fun and different. They find great uses for all the interesting spaces and there's a whole lot going on in one place. Now they've finally got the old Tacoma Elks open and it's just as alarmingly fun as the rest of their locations.

The Elks Temple was built in 1915-1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. McMenamins has filled the seven floors to the brim. On the ground floor you'll find a McMenamins Brewery, Bottle Shop & Brewery Tasting Room, and The Old Hangout. The second floor hosts the Spanish Bar and Ballroom. Third floor: Doc's, a games bar that overlooks the ballroom. McMenamins Pub takes quite a bit of space on the fourth floor and you can enjoy the view of Commencement Bay and the marina at Foss Waterway from some seats. On the sixth floor you will be amazed by the number of different overhead lights, and that's saying something considering the number of lights in their other locations. The seventh floor's guest rooms overlook an indoor atrium. The hillside next to the building holds the Spanish Steps, modeled after those in Rome. They were built in 1916 to connect a streetcar line from Broadway to Commerce Street. The stairs eventually failed, but the City of Tacoma came to the rescue in 2011. At the top of the stairs outside the Spanish Bar are tables to lollygag at while enjoying a beverage and tapas. The Vault at Elks Temple seems to be a bit of a secret. If you can find it, you can have a drink. No, you have to pay for it, it's not that secret.

Like other locations, the Elks Temple offers live music. Check the website for dates, times, and artists. And, as always, there is a ton of fun art to enjoy: paintings, blown glass, light fixtures…so much.

Onsite there's a 10-barrel brewery with copper-plated tanks (all made in the Pacific Northwest). They carry the McMenamins' brews - Hammerhead Terminator, Ruby - and are coming up with Elks brews as well. You can taste in the Brewery Tasting Room as well as buy bottles to go; wine, cider and spirits along with the beer.

There is no free parking right at the building, but there are paid lots. If you want free, you can park at the Tacoma Dome Station parking lots. The Tacoma Link Light Rail is free downtown and goes from the station to 9 th and Commerce Streets, about two blocks from the Elks Temple. Check schedules online at soundtransit.org. There are ADA-accessible parking spots on Broadway and an ADA ramp at the main entrance. Elevators inside can take you to any floor.

Spanish Ballroom

It's a wonderful thing to have an historical building like this start another new life. Since 1989 the building has sat vacant. McMenamins began restoration in 2017 after ten years of negotiations and planning. Life is way more fun at the Elks now.

Connie Adams/June 2019

 

 

McMenamins Elks Temple
565 Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-300-8777

www.mcmenamins.com/elks-temple

Atrium overlook and so many light fixtures


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