After several years, McMenamins Elks Temple is set to open in Tacoma

Data pix.

TACOMA - After several years, lots of sweat, tears, and planning, an iconic building in Tacoma is set to reopen Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

“This was the biggest (project). And this had a lot of stuff going on inside,” said McMenamins Vice President, Brian McMenamin.

On Monday, crews were putting in the finishing touches before the grand opening of McMenamins Elks Temple on 565 Broadway in Tacoma.  Even the brewery inside was busy.

“We’ve been brewing away so that when we do open, we’ll have enough beer,” said McMenamin.

According to McMenamin, the building will have 43 rooms on seven levels.

“We now have a front, we have the sides, the back and a roof,” he said.

With that McMenamin style.

“We grew up in an old house. It had a lot of cool fixtures. And we were fascinated by that stuff as kids. And that’s the stuff that lives with you, and we carry it on,” said McMenamin.

The Elks Temple was first built in 1915, when fraternal orders were more prominent in the community and they had money to build extravagant buildings. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This new building is an ode to that history. McMenamin gave us a tour before the opening.

“This is our south seas bar. There’s a water feature, that’s a nod to the pool that used to be here when the Elks were here,” he said.

The bar also has a bit of a twist.

“You have the storm that comes through. So, you’ll  have the lights that will flash, and thunder goes off. Then of course we have gongs. It’s just crazy,” McMenamin said.

The game room has the original pool tables that were part of the original building. There’s also an event venue where they will have speakers and musical artists perform. According to McMenamin, the venue can hold about 700 people.

“There’s a dead-end hallway, but there is a way through. Don’t tell anybody,” said McMenamin.

For several years, the building was damaged quite a bit. Many said it was an eyesore. A lot of graffiti was inside. For McMenamins, they said that’s also a big part of the journey to get here. There's a nod to that history too.

"We actually found a couple of the artists that did the original graffiti to put some new stuff up and it’s fabulous,” said McMenamin.

With the McMenamins Elks Temple, a new history will emerge.  Not just for the building, but for Tacoma.

“You learn about where you are, and what you’re doing. So, it’s a great way to do that,” said McMenamin.

In the past 10 years, McMenamins has restored the Anderson School in Bothell, the Kalama Harbor Lodge in Kalama, and the Elks Temple in Tacoma.

McMenamins Elks Temple opens officially for business at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

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