Bob's Java Jive
A rubberneck-inducing landmark of Tacoma, Washington’s Nalley Valley since 1927 when it opened as the Coffee Pot Restaurant, Bob’s Java Jive is an enduring example of mimetic architecture as, once upon a time, coffee did indeed flow freely within the confines of the 25-foot-tall concrete coffee pot.
Not so much in recent decades. Reborn as Bob’s Java Jive in 1955, the building has been a Polynesian-themed rock club, pool hall, speakeasy, juke joint, go-go-bar and home to a pair of macaque monkeys. Nowadays, Bob’s is a comfortably grungy dive bar that just happens to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Remarks owner Danette Staatz: “You’re either a snoot or you’re going to walk in and hate it, but it’s so different that most people love it. It’s like its own entity. It wraps it arms around you when you walk in, and it loves you.”
Despite Bob’s loving embrace, Staatz does admit that slinging PBR in a giant coffee pot isn’t easy, even with its ties to Northwest rock history (yes, alt-country crooner Neko Case did indeed tend bar here although that early Nirvana gig is an urban myth): "The coffee pot is our biggest deficit because people don’t go in a coffee pot to party. It gives a false impression. But when people do come in, they come back."