Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting Your Irish On in Tacoma

I was invited out by some friends this evening to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I wasn't sure what exactly was in store, but I knew it involved a pub somewhere.

So we ended up at Doyle's Public House, near the waterfront, which looked like a perfectly delightful pub, when not completely stuffed full of people. Apparently, they sponsor Tacoma's largest St. Patrick's Day party. They were expecting so many people that they had to set up a beer tent. Everyone looked to be having a great time, but it was really too crowded for us. We all had one drink and then decided to go elsewhere, especially since we were in need of sustenance. We also wanted live entertainment, but they weren't planning to have any until 9 pm, and we were there sometime between 6-7 pm.

Doyle's seems to have a pretty decent menu, but I don't think the focus was on food this evening. Still, I would like to go back on a night that's nowhere near an Irish holiday. It looked like a cozy little place to kick back and have a pint or two, with some yummy pub food like bangers and mash.

So search of dinner...

We made a dash for Katie Downs, an Irish-themed tavern and eatery that's right on the water. I've been past the restaurant before and it's in a beautiful area, with walking trails that give you a nice view of the sound and both of the nearby mountain ranges (including a stunning view of Rainier on clear days).

Surprisingly, Katie Downs still had tables available, and they had some Irish specials this evening: corned beef and cabbage, lamb stew, and reuben sandwiches. By the time we got there, they were out of everything but the reuben sandwiches, and they still had their regular menu.

Supposedly, they have the best pizza in Washington state, but I didn't test this claim. Instead, I ordered fish and chips, and ate them the British way, with copious amounts of malt vinegar. Very good, but huge portions. We also split appetizers: onion rings, calamari, and spicy shrimp diavolo. All very good (and I'm not a huge fan of calamari, so I don't say this lightly).

The atmosphere was fun. The best part - NOBODY UNDER 21 ALLOWED! So if you want a laidback, adults-only evening, this is the place to go.

Just for this evening, they had a couple of musicians playing drums and bagpipes, and they gave free raffle tickets to everyone because they were giving away all kinds of prizes. But they were just t-shirts and ball caps and stuff like that with beer logos on them.

Anyway, I really liked this place and I would love to come back again with Lance, especially on a warm day when we can sit out on the deck over the water.

Overall, I had a really enjoyable evening. It was much better than sitting at home. And the more I get to know of Tacoma, the more I like it. I feel it's highly underrated and often overlooked in favor of Seattle, when Tacoma has so much going for it.

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