• Oliver Scott

An Old Saloon That's Seen It All

If you're familiar with the city of Tacoma, WA you might recognize this place just from passing by in your car on a rainy afternoon. The sign shines bright through the fog almost like a lighthouse inviting you in for a warm cup of coffee and a sandwich.

The Spar is one of the areas oldest establishments, having been built over what once was called "The Old Tacoma Saloon" in the 1800's. Back then you might find gamblers in the streets playing poker and drinking away their sorrows until inevitably the building was torn down to build anew upon the wake of the prohibition...you know, that wild time when alcohol was outlawed for nearly thirteen years in the 20's.

Due to the new law & order, The Spar opened as a local billiards and soda joint. As one might guess, people found a way to bootleg booze through the saloon when bartenders turned the other cheek.

Does this look like the opening theme to Cheers or what?

Upon the legalization of alcohol, The Spar became an official pub-style restaurant and has been that way ever since. The town once known as the lawless "sheltered place" became a bustling hub for small business owners and housing as well as the continual growth of Ruston Way, the waterside walk that spans 7 miles just one block (and skip over a train track) away, pulling in ample foot traffic for the shops and eateries in Old Town.

Through all of this change...the change of law, a remodel in the '80s, the state of the neighborhood in a constant rebirth through the years, the ever-looming threat of gentrification, and now a pandemic that is sweeping restaurants in the throes of 2020, The Spur is a breath of "normal".

Even now that tables are spread out and the billiard tables are closed until further notice, you can sit at a table in the back, overlooking the water, and for a moment forget the strange times we're in now. It smells of history, and just observing the decor and old wood fixtures, you feel like you're becoming a part of history along with it.

If you find the time, we highly recommend visiting The Spar yourself and indulging in a little local history, or if you aren't up for sitting inside, order some delicious food to go. We have to keep our local businesses alive, especially when they've come so far.

Be safe, wear a mask, and shop local.


Old photos courtesy of The Spar website where you can read much more about its history.

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