Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

May 8, 2014 at 8:23am

The Harmon's Next Generation: Harmon Tap Room and The Hub to integrate

The Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma is being remodeled, including an integration with its sister restaurant, The Hub. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Whatever you do, don't call the Harmon Brewing Company's Stadium District restaurants "McMenamins."

I made the mistake of dropping that term during a conversation with co-owner Pat Nagle about his remodel plans to make the Harmon Tap Room and The Hub more of a destination. "It's not McMenamins," he shot back. "We're not adding a hotel or movie theater."

I've known Nagle for some time. I've never met someone more passionate about the restaurant and brewery business. If he says his new plan doesn't mimic McMenamins then, hey, I'm not calling it either (although I did notice a slight smile on the man's face).

Nagle, and his business partner, Carole Ford, are transforming the Harmon Tap Room, and in a way The Hub above it, into one single destination for families. Phase one is nearly complete. The Tap Room's outdoor beer garden has been remodeled, complete with new tables and concrete walkways. If you're thinking dirndl-wearing beer maids bearing big tankards of frothy lager, think again. You need to think families - dining outdoors, under Tivoli lights, next to a fancy new fence, with giant Jenga games and music on the way, only to be interrupted by the brewmasters wheeling kegs toward the cold storage. The keg highway through the beer garden, or Harmon Garden as it now is known, will disappear in June.

The Harmon, like many other breweries across the nation, is aspiring to be more than just a place where patrons drop in for a mug or a quick bite on the way to somewhere else.

"We have two restaurants and the huge all-ages outdoor Harmon Garden, a private events space, the brewery behind glass - it's more of a destination," says Nagle, nibbling on a Tap Room street taco, while pointing to each subject's location - including The Hub straight above. The Tap Room turned family-friendly this year, but the outdoor beer garden was a 21 and older hangout. If you take your beer out to one of the Garden's long, wood tables today, don't be surprised when two fifth-grade St. Pat's students slam down their root beers on the same table and high-five because their teacher, Mr. Moore, is "rockin' cool."

Over the next four to six weeks, Nagle and Ford will remodel the stairway between the two restaurants, allowing an easy flow.

"The only outdoor seating at The Hub is in the bar. If a family wants pizza or a pulled pork grinder in the sunshine, down the stairs they can descend and out to the Harmon Garden," explains Nagle. "It's that easy."

Other changes include a freshening of the Tap Room's facade. In June, expect to see window dressings and awnings. Wood fencing has replaced the chain fence around the Garden.

As I mention, the keg route to cold storage is changing.

"The area off the Tap Room's back room will be remodeled, insulated and fitted to be a bottling and keg-filling center, opening up the brewing room for more tanks," says Nagle. This will eliminate having to cart the kegs through the Harmon Garden. The kegs will soon only travel several feet into cold storage. Gone will be the crowded bottling situation in the brewing room, and awkward flow through the Garden."

Also on the way are menu changes, seasonal specials and holiday dinners.

The Hub and Harmon Tap Room should be integrated by mid-June, just in time for graduations.

Now, if there was a hotel on top of The Hub. ... Just kidding Pat!

HARMON TAP ROOM, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, all ages until 9 p.m., 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

BEER HERE

THURSDAY, MAY 8

Now in its sixth year, Seattle Beer Week is more than 100 beery events from May 8 through 18. Who cares? Pint Defiance does. The beer store/taproom on the edge of Fircrest will celebrate the Seattle event by tapping 26 Washington beers, in intervals, during the duration. Pint Defiance will issue a special punch card. Drink all 26 and earn a limited edition shirt as proof of your status as a veteran beer marathoner. Start stretching and stay hydrated with your favorite electrolyte-enhanced beverage, because you won't want to hit the wall during this once-a-year-event. Check out its Facebook page for more details: facebook.com/PintDefiance.

SATURDAY, MAY 10

The third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival will host 21 craft brewers, Gig Harbor's Heritage Distillery and a bigger music venue at the Gig Harbor Uptown Pavilion Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. In terms of music, Perry Acker returns for the band's second year and takes the stage at 3 p.m. Aisle of View, a reggae band currently touring the country, opens at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25, and are available at gigharborbeerfestival.com. Admission includes a commemorative taster cup and eight taster tokens. Depending on availability, you may also purchase tickets the day of the event for $25. Additional taster tokens will be on sale during the event. The Uptown Pavilion is at 4701 Point Fosdick Dr. NW.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

The 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is on the move. The Bend, Ore., brewery is opening a third brewpub in Portland's Pearl District this summer - the other two are in Bend and Boise. The Portland site will include a pub and a brewhouse, which will brew small batch and one-off beers. Speaking of 10 Barrel small batch beers, several will be available May 14 when 10 Barrel visits the Puyallup River Alehouse. The downtown Puyallup house of beers will serve hot dogs, tacos, giveaway prizes and pour a bunch of 10 Barrel beers.

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