If you haven’t yet checked out the newest addition to the McMenamins family of establishments—the Elks Temple—don’t walk… run to this recently opened downtown Tacoma property. In true McMenamins fashion, it’s frivolous, festooned to the rafters with mismatched chandeliers and adorned with original art pieces that tell the stories of Tacoma history and its characters.
The building, which was derelict for years, has good bones, making it a natural target for the visionary McMenamin brothers, who have a knack for transforming derelict historic spaces into fabulous historic spaces with tiki bars, concert venues and more.
The handsome Renaissance Revival building was designed by É. Frère Champney, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and constructed in 1915-1916. More than a century later, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Beside the building, the beautifully restored Spanish Steps (1916) climb the hillside, allowing access to the Elks Temple’s second-floor Spanish Bar and Ballroom (now the concert venue), and continue up to the fourth-floor entrance and lobby.
The Elks Temple is also home to a brewery, a bottle shop, a brewery tasting room, a games bar on the third floor overlooking the Ballroom, a fourth-floor pub and restaurant, and a gathering spot called The Old Hangout. Guest rooms cap the building on the sixth and seventh floors and, like other recent McMenamins projects, guest rooms come with en-suite bathrooms.