Loosely inspired by the Crown Bar in Belfast Northern Ireland, Tacoma's Crown Bar is a vibrant neighborhood icon along 6th Avenue that offers a comfortable venue to meet, unwind, and enjoy delicious food and drinks.
Chef Charlie McManus takes pride in his initiative to work with local farmers in order to provide an eclectic menu that's likely to have something for everyone.
Menu highlights include international fare such as currywurst, kebobs, chicken tikka and cajun shrimp as well as classic entrees such as Cougar Gold macaroni and cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, and the all-American hamburger with fries, featuring beef from Thundering Hooves organic cattle ranch in Walla Walla.
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Best Advocate for Food
Charlie McManus rolled the dice as the '90s closed and invested his talents in Tacoma opening the area's first bistro-like, artsy, finely crafted restaurant - Primo Grill. He gave us a reason to eat well again, ushering in the next decade of upscale restaurant explosion in the South Sound. Prior to McManus, Tacomans ate at corporate type eateries, dining mostly on the same old same old - steaks, salmon and chops all in a butter, white or wine sauce. Primo Grill, however, changed that - helping us to discover finely-crafted food.
While some of his brethren have come and gone, McManus still prospers, in fact, opening up his second place just last year - The Crown Bar. What we like best about McManus, besides his fried oysters, comes from the work he does promoting and supporting locally sustained foods. McManus befriended the farmers in this area to purchase their crops because local foods tastes better and give us better energy both physically and cosmically. McManus expects to turn both his establishments into 100 percent locally sustained in the coming year. And that, my friends, makes us all better people.
Ken Swarner Volcano Weekly, August 7th, 2008.
Tacoma News Tribune
The owners of nearby Primo Grill, chef Charlie McManus and his wife, Jacqueline Plattner, have created the crowning jewel of Sixth Avenue's burgeoning restaurant scene. Crown Bar is a first-rate neighborhood bar - not the place where you do shots of Jagermeister, but the kind of place where you meet friends for unassuming meals, well-crafted cocktails and a comfortable atmosphere in which to enjoy them.
The food - from incredible buttermilk fried chicken to crunchy falafel to brilliant fried oysters to creamy coconut rice pudding - shines on its own, with or without the bar and the rich, wood walls and stone fireplace that give Crown Bar a grown-up aura.
Crown Bar's menu falls into light meals and comfort food.
Kebabs ($8-$9) hold the middle ground between finger foods and small entrees. Tender beef kebabs carried the herby-garlicky allure of North Africa, while the cool, creamy bite of yogurt and cucumber pegged chicken tikka kebabs on the subcontinent of India. Falafel sandwich ($8) was filled with extra-crunchy nuggets of chickpea dough in a tender pita.
Fried oysters ($12) were some of the best breaded bivalves I've had: Ensconsed in fine crumb coating, the oysters were plump and juicy, full of briny flavor. I was torn: Enjoy the oysters on their own or goose them with garlic-kissed tartar? I tried them both ways. Both were delicious.
Entrees are home cooking, in style and sourcing. Buttermilk fried chicken ($18) is made from organic birds. While I had to remind myself that organic birds are smaller than their hormone-fed counterparts, it was obvious that the flavor of these organic birds is bigger than anything that Tyson grows. It was also tender, crunchy and beautifully juicy, served with garlic mashed potatoes and braised greens. Mac and cheese ($12) was another local-flavor favorite, with the sharp bite coming from Cougar Gold.
The grass-fed burger ($13) was a mouthful of clean, beefy flavor - but only when I ordered it medium-rare or below, as grass-fed beef dries out the longer it's cooked.
Desserts include French-style chocolate pudding, zingy lemon tart and creamy and toothsome coconut rice pudding.
Service was friendly and efficient. The food could come out of the kitchen faster, but as a friend of mine was told when he asked what was holding up his meal: "Cooking," the server said. Ain't that a refreshing change?
Rating: * * * * *
Tacoma News Tribune, April 18th, 2008.