Super Best of Tacoma 2011 Readers' Pick Best Bar: Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

Second year in a row for the Top

By Brett Cihon on August 1, 2011

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe wins Best Bar in Tacoma for the second year in a row as voted on in the Weekly Volcano's annual Best of Tacoma contest.

Got it? Didn't think so. How about this:

Top of Tacoma is a cool bar. So cool that Weekly Volcano readers have voted it the Best Bar in Tacoma. In fact, readers have voted Top the Best Bar two years running. An honor, to be sure. But Top's top-dog status has nothing to do with the fact that it won two awards in a row. Top was the best before it was voted the best. For cool to be recognized as cool it must be unrecognized cool first.

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Ah, forget it. Before this gets any more confusing, maybe Jaime Kay Jones, a Tacoma native who co-owns Top of Tacoma with her husband, Jason Jones, can explain why local bar-goers think Top is one of the raddest spots around.

"Basically we've tried to make Top into the kind of place we like to hang out at with our friends," she explains.

Top does have a bit of an awesome-best-friend's-room kind of vibe. That's if your best friend's room featured a fully loaded bar. Top's jukebox is filled with local bands like Seaweed, Pioneers West and this year's Best of Tacoma Best Band, the Fucking Eagles. Local art hangs on the wall alongside vintage fliers from Tacoma punk shows. The motif creates an ambiance both comfortably familiar and surprisingly unique.

"My husband spent his high school years in Tacoma's community art theater," says Jamie. "We get a lot of our decorating ideas from his time there."

But Jones knows it takes more than likable décor to win over the hard-to-please Tacoma crowd. She says perks like all-organic bar food add to Top's appeal. She also attributes much of Top's success to the friendly staff. Jones says the staff epitomizes the local, community-oriented feel that Tacoma appreciates. 

"Our bartender, Monica, drew our logo, others are involved in the music scene and the art scene," she tells me. "We try to foster (the staff's) creativity because that goes a long way in helping us succeed."

With a killer staff, killer food and killer décor, it's easy to see why Tacoma would love Top. And, according to Jaime, it's the bar-loving Tacomans that matter.

"Our location keeps the crowd and the scene exclusively Tacoma," she says. "We like it that way." 

Of course, the real question is what will they do to ensure that Top is voted Best Bar next year, locking up a three-peat?

"I don't think we're going to do much," laughs Jaime. "If we expanded or something we might lose our charm."

Too cool to even care about the three-peat. Just another example of why Top of Tacoma is the best. The best of the best.

[Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe, 3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502]