McMenamins Historic Elks Temple

Visit the Elks Temple website for more info.

The 1916 Elks Temple has been restored and reimagined into a vibrant gathering place for out-of-town guests and locals alike. From the Old Hangout, a bar reminiscent of world travels, to the Spanish Ballroom, a grand space hosting live music, you’ll find entertainment at every turn. Threads of art, history and elements of the local community are woven into the structure. Wherever you are in Elks Temple, you’ll find the comforts of your favorite neighborhood pub and a world of adventure.

We wanted to see how much fun we could pack into seven floors, so we started with a McMenamins Brewery, the Bottle Shop & Brewery Tasting Room, and The Old Hangout on the ground floor, and worked our way up. Take the scenic route up the Spanish Steps to the Spanish Bar and Ballroom on the second floor before wending your way to Doc’s, a third floor games bar overlooking the ballroom; pause on the nearby mezzanine overlooking Puget Sound. On the fourth floor stop for a celebratory meal (you’re halfway to the top!) in McMenamins Pub where expansive views of Puget Sound’s Commencement Bay and the marina at Foss Waterway dominate the east-facing windows. Once you’ve refueled for the rest of your journey, continue to the diminutive fifth floor – if you can find it. From there it’s on up to the sixth floor guestrooms and a spectacular overhead array of lights, lamps and chandeliers. Travel your last flight to seven, where guestrooms overlook the lush indoor atrium and give you an eye-level view of the light display like no other.

Whether your port of call is the Old Hangout, the Spanish Bar, Doc’s or the Spanish Ballroom, you’ll find handcrafted cocktails, tales from home and afar, cozy hideaways and untold fun.

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A Little History

The Elks Temple was built in the second Renaissance Revival style in 1915-16 when fraternal organizations were an important part of the community and had the money to build beautiful buildings such as this one. It was designed by É. Frère Champney, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Spanish Ballroom

Ballroom dancing was, perhaps, nearing its peak when Elks Temple construction was completed in 1916. Later, as other forms of entertainment like radio and TV captured Americans’ attention, the popularity of ballroom dancing diminished, but the Elks’ enthusiasm did not. They continued to host Vaudevillian shows, fundraisers, father-daughter dances, and parties in the ballroom until 1965 when the organization moved to a new location.

We’ve revived this grand venue – 21st century style! A Bose sound system with predictive software uses wave guides to focus sound, creating top-notch quality tailored to the space. Mixing history with modernity, two-story murals inspired by Wagner’s Ring cycle opera grace the walls, and with a capacity of 700, live music dominates. Our nightly line-up is fantastically diverse.

The Spanish Steps

Climbing the hillside adjacent to the building is a stairway called the Spanish Steps. Modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, Tacoma’s Spanish Steps were constructed in 1916 to connect a streetcar line on Broadway with City Hall on Commerce Street. The staircase fell into disrepair in the 1950s and continued to degrade until it was rehabilitated by the City of Tacoma in 2011.

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