Dawson's Bar and Grill

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5443 S. Tacoma Way,
Tacoma, WA, 98409
(253) 476-1421


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Weekly Volcano Review Reviewed by: Steph DeRosa

Dawson’s Bar & Grill has become a self-proclaimed “Darthouse.” Dart machines line the walls, and local dart-meisters line up every Sunday and Wednesday for a guaranteed $300 payout. Dawson’s summer dart league houses approximately 28 teams during the summer, with a handful placing in the top ranks.

While it’s located on 56th and South Tacoma Way, the clientele is not what the uneducated dive bar enthusiast would expect. Trina the daytime bartender tells me about the nice patrons, and the absence of “punks and thugs” at her bar. This news makes me eager to return, as well as the deep Bloody Mary she’s served to me in a tall, chilled glass.

This place is clean, yet comfortable — worn yet updated. The regulars hail owner Kenny as “running South Tacoma Way,” and insist that he is someone I need to meet. I decline (stop trying to drag me away from my barstool and Bloody Mary), so the guys walk up to me one by one and introduce themselves. I meet Tommy, who has to be in his mid 70s, and learn the he is the opening bartender seven days a week. What time do they open, you ask? Six in the morning. Yeah, baby — a true dive bar opening hour.

A well-equipped stage hosts bands Thursdays through Sundays. Artists such as Kim Archer, Billy Shew, and Tim Hall deliver the goods on a regular basis — along with cover bands that throw the likes of Journey and Lynard Skynard into the audience. I gotta come back for that one. Journey — now that’s a band I can still sing along to after many beers have been consumed. You never forget the words to a Journey song, never.

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