TACOMA, Wash. — These days, The Spar Tavern is a perfectly respectable place to gather with friends and hear live music three nights a week.
But its location, on the corner of North 30th and McCarver Streets in Old Town, Tacoma, has a bit of history.
This was the same location as the Old Tacoma Saloon, a lawless gambling den and brothel in the 1890s. The saloon was so corrupt the city had to tear the whole place down and rebuild the establishment you see today.
The Spar is a family-owned tavern with good food and a friendly crowd.
Co-owner Adrielle Flinders, with her arm around Kathy Manke, said she wants to keep it that way.
"This is my grandma," she said. "And she owned The Spar for 30 years and then my sister and I purchased it and so we've always wanted to run it like a family. We try to treat our employees like family and I think that's why a lot of people come here, because they feel that."
The Washington Blues Society has twice nominated The Spar for best music venue. Moby Grape legend Jerry Miller plays here regularly.
"I've heard from a lot of bands that this is one of their favorite places to perform because it just feels so intimate," Flinders said.
"It is pretty intimate," Manke added. "Because there's not really a whole lot of room so the audience is really up close."
The food is another attraction. For 50 years, The Spar has been serving Chicken & Jos ($19). It comes with half of a locally-raised chicken, southern-breaded and slow-cooked in a Henny Penny Broaster with a quartered potato.
Another crowd pleaser is Beer Battered Alaskan Cod ($16.50). The cod is hand dipped in Rainier beer batter and served with The Spar's house-made tartar sauce.
On March 24, from 5 to 8 p.m., The Spar hosts a Pups For Pints event with one dollar from every sale of pints of Sierra Nevada going to the Humane Society.
The Spar is open every day of the week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Live music is offered Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Spar is located at 2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma, WA 98403.
KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.