The brew boom of the PNW doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Washington and Oregon have many great breweries and micro-breweries, and while Tacoma has a few it’s the taprooms that really have it dialed in around here. You’ve got your speciality ones, your traditional settings and now we have our first futuristic experience. The Living Taproom was designed with several seating experiences in mind. Upon entering the space you’re in the living room, it’s standard, a couch facing two chairs, a table and rug in between and plants framing it all. Walk past the living room and the space opens up, there’s high tables for standing, tall chairs for bar seating, group size tables with chairs, couple sized tables with chairs, a swing set seating area that’s a main attraction and outdoor seating with furnaces and a fire pit. The owners did their job with the decor, the drinking and the pouring that’s all on the patron.
The Living Room is downtown Tacoma’s first self-serve taproom. The technology is fairly simple but it’s still fascinating. You put your card on file like you would at any taprooms and you’re given a wristband. The wristband has tap technology and when pressed against a particular beer tap the lever is then activated and you pour your own pint. The taps track your pour by the ounce so you only are charged for what you drink nothing more nothing less. There is no bartender. There’s usually only one employee and their job is to collect used glasses, run them through the dishwasher and make sure the glasses shelves are fully stocked for customers. It’s an engaging experience and one that fits in well with the rest of the ‘Brewery Blocks’ early staples. You might be lucky enough to catch the owner Colin making the rounds scooping up empty pints but probably not for long, this business model has a lot of potential for additional locations.
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Umi Wagoner’s Tacoma: Croissant Crescendos
Corina BakeryWhen it comes to pastries in the morning there aren’t very many independents you can go to that will provide both variety and quality. What usually happens is they have the quality but they sell out of everything before they even make it to the midday rush. As a small business owner it’s a good problem to have but as a consumer it can be devastating. There may be no worse feeling than thinking all day about the taste of a delicious treat and when you arrive it’s no longer there, it’s enough to make you skip your morning meetings to ensure to get that bite or slice of happiness to push you through a tough or busy day. If you can’t tell yet, I have been a victim of this. The other side of the coin is the cafe that only does one thing right, so every time it's the same thing and variety goes out the window. Corina’s really does both exceptionally well, what isn’t baked in house is sourced with intention and care and I usually learn about a company that I would want to be in the know about anyway.
Meet The Band: Denial Of Life
There hasn't been too many bands in recent memory to burst on to the scene quite like Denial of Life. Composed of Logan Miller on guitar, Brenna Gowin on vocals, Nicky Cody on drums, and Spencer Russo on bass, the band formed in 2019 and hit the ground running quickly releasing a demo and playing shows around Tacoma. I feel lucky to have been able to witness one of the first ones. Since then the band has shown no signs of slowing down even in the face of a global pandemic. I caught a DOL show this summer and the live shows have grown so much since I last saw them. They bring arena rock energy to a hardcore show and nowhere is that more apparent than their debut full length. No Reason was released August 13th and has quickly elevated the profile of the band. Since then the band has completed a full North American tour as well as a killer in studio performance on what most would consider hardcores biggest youtube channel, hate5six. I had the pleasure of speaking with Logan from the band to get a little more insight into how they got started, what they've been up to and where they wanna go next!
Make It To The Show: DUMMY
When the internet became ubiquitous, and access to the entirety of pop music history was suddenly at everyone’s fingers, suddenly a whole generation of bands were armed with reference points that were heretofore only available to crate-digging record obsessives. Slamming two disparate sounds together, just to see what happened, became a thriving part of the music landscape. Certain genres would get a little more attention than others, depending on the time – dance-punk, New Wave indie twee, psych-electronica, just slapping a Bruce Springsteen filter onto any old genre, and other experiments all had their day in the sun in the first decade of the ‘00s. Nowadays, with this mixing and matching having effectively been gamified, it’s refreshing to run across a band that combines sounds in interesting ways.
The Grand Cinema - The People’s Popcorn
There’s almost too many good things to say about the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. At its core function, it stands for art with a hyper focus on cinema in the best way. It’s a nonprofit, providing a pathway to pop culture while keeping its doors and programming open to local and international film enthusiast, supporters, directors, and film industry professionals. All of that speaks to and sticks to the heritage that began at the Grand Cinema, once the Grand Theatre, in 1997. Two years prior in 1995 the cinema was closed after being freshly built, but was saved and turned into a nonprofit by to Tacoman film enthusiasts. Since then it’s functioned well, and only continues to stay head of the curve culturally while doing its civic duty, provide entertainment and service, at a high-level.