52 Weeks: Red Hot, Tacoma, WA
Week 20 of 52
2914 6th Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98406
Type of Establishment: Beer Bar / Hot Dog Mecca
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
Avery Maharaja Imp. IPA
7 Seas Rude Parrot IPA
Bear Republic Racer 5
Victory Storm King Imp. Stout
Silver City Pale
Pike Monk’s Uncle Tripel
Lagunitas Lucky 13
Georgetown 9lb. Porter
Tetley’s Pub Ale (Nitro)
Scooner Exact 3 Grid IPA (Cask)
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
7 Seas Ballz Deep IIPA
New Belgian Ranger IPA
Lindeman’s Lambic Peche
Lindeman’s Lambic Framboise
Lindeman’s Lambic Pomme
New Belgian Fat Tire
Avery White Rascal
4 White Wines, 4 Red Wines
FOOD OPTIONS: Meat in linked form is the name of the game here. 9 different styles of hot dogs are the highlight, in addition to kielbasa, brats, andouille, veggie dogs and veggie brats.
BAR OPINION: Roughly 40 miles south of the Beer Blotter home base, in beautiful downtown Tacoma, WA, lies a beer bar that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
Red Hot has been on the list for quite a while now. When I first heard of its existence, a few years back, I kind of freaked out a little. “A hot dog centric beer bar! Are you kidding me!!” Yeah…it sounds like heaven, and it’s pretty close.
The biggest challenge that has stood in my way for so long is the drive. Yes, T-town really isn’t all that far away from Seattle. In fact, I commuted nearly to Tacoma from Seattle for 3 years. It’s a lot quicker than you may think. But… if you are visiting Tacoma from the Seattle area with beer on your mind, it is highly, highly recommended that you find a designated driver. Any distance is too far to drive when you are drinking, but 40 miles is just far enough to make the journey lose its luster if you are forced to have just one drink.
Luckily for me, my girlfriend’s band was playing a show in Tacoma and I was able to catch a ride with her.
The place looks pretty unassuming from the outside. It’s on a street that has a very suburban feel. A street that houses enough businesses to feel like a main road, but more likely one in a very small town, not a city the likes of Tacoma. It’s nestled right between a bridal shop and a dog washing business, and if you blinked you’d miss it.
Luckily for me, the GPS was accurate. Parking was a breeze and once inside, my senses were quickly stimulated. There was a sizable clientele, for early on a weeknight, that created quite a din in the somewhat small space. The scent of hot dogs filled my nose, and the huge chalk board of beers filled my eyes… all of my hopes were fulfilled.
The place has a bit of a dive feel to it, but everything is clean and well designed. That is just how I would describe my kind of place. A smile arose instantly and remained throughout my visit. 11 stools stand at the bar. 7 tables are spread throughout the front section of the room and down the side wall that flanks the bar. A small, roughly one foot deep “bar” (attached to the left wall as you enter) extends the real bar all the way to the front door. It offers addition seating via bar stools for 6. For some very strange reason, Fantastic Mr. Fox was playing on the enormous projection screan. I found this to be a bit distracting. Not appropriate for a bar.
Once I gathered in the decor, it was time for the true “first order of business”: a beer. Ommegang Hennepin, a refreshing Belgian Farmhouse Ale, put a glimmer in my eye and made for a great start to my experience. Food was next, after all, I had been saving up room all day for a few of their “Best Hot Dog[s] in Western WA”.
I started off with the Destiny City Slawdog. The description on the menu noted that it was a “Southern classic”, and that sold me. It’s a dog on a poppy seed bun with coleslaw, chili, onions and yellow mustard. Two things struck me right away. First, the dog arrived at my table in about 3 minutes. Second, the hot dog itself was a bit different from what I’m used to. There is a distinct skin or “casing” that doesnt normally exist in your average run-of-the-mill ballpark frank. There was more of a sausage or brat feel to it as you sank your teeth in. As it turns out, this is a really good thing! Delicious!
As I ate I realized that above me hung a massive collection of tap handles, each screwed into a section of the wooden rafters. It reminded me a bit of Duck Island Ale House in Green Lake, but the ceiling is significantly higher at Red Hot. It made for a bit of fun scoping out what beers have been on tap through the years.
I was able to squeeze in one more round before the show. Bear Republic Racer 5 paired quite nicely with the savory Hilltop Strangler. This dog comes with bacon, Thousand Island dressing, onions, mustard, nacho cheese and tomatoes. It’s a good thing I was hungry because this puppy was stacked with goodies. I was very thankful that I got a good run in earlier on in the day. It made for guilt free splurging.
I probably don’t have to do much more selling with this one. I would imagine that I got most of you with hot dogs and beer.