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Engine House No. 9

Not Rated.
Engine House No. 9Engine House No. 9
Based on:
40 Beers
160 Hads
Place Score: 90
Reviews: 17
Visits: 31
Avg: 4.03
pDev: n/a
Taps: 27
Bottles: 30
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

611 N Pine St
Tacoma, Washington, 98406-6729
United States
phone: (253) 272-3435

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Reviews: 17 | Visits: 31
Reviews by Hobbz:
Photo of Hobbz
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

An essential beer visit when in or around Tacoma; highly recommended side-visit from Seattle as well (provided time permits and any number of other options have been experienced). I had first been taken here by friends back in 2000 and have made a stop back in in 2004 and 2005.

Though the Engine House No. 9 serves up quality beer and food, it's the overall atmosphere that first draws immediate attention. This establishment (the 'E-9') truly retains some historical significance with themed décor well-appointed in and out with service ladders, antique life nets and other time-honored firehouse & "bucket brigade" fixtures.

Patrons can sit outside in the designated patio area during good weather (watch out for falling chestnuts from the huge tree by the parking lot), or head indoors where a first large, casual dining area opens up just further back to the main bar room. There is also a raised stage-like area to the left with a couple of additional seating areas and two dart boards. I believe there are banquet areas upstairs as well for special events.

Fresh beer is always on tap, with quality offerings from a full range of the house-brewed selections (normally at least ten, from the brew house adjacent) to several guest-taps and up to three cask ales. Though I've had some average, unassuming samples, the beer regardless has always tasted very fresh.

The kitchen area is visible on the left side just as one enters and serves up solid fare from a rather large menu.

Just off 6th street on Pine (look for the intersection and make the turn onto Pine, as the location is set back a bit from the main avenue), the engine house itself was built in 1907 and placed on the historic registry in 1975. By 1992 it had become the first non-smoking pub in the county (Pierce). Plentiful parking nearby and in the lot adjoining the property.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3

This review is old, so take that for what its worth.

We were there late before closing, and it was pretty dead. I can't tell if the firehouse decor is funky and cool, or just trying too hard and coming across as cheesy. Maybe a mix of both.

I got the taster flight, and the beers were standard across the board. No standouts.

Glad I checked this place off the list in Tacoma. Other than a festival, I would go to about half a dozen other beer places in Tacoma before I came back here. Worth checking out, but probably not worth a repeat visit.

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Photo of Beervana
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Donkster46
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.25

Photo of ccnorthwest
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Great selection of beer. The head brewer Shane AKA Sour Sensei, really knows what he's doing and offers a wide variety of top grade wild ales. Great food and friendly staff. Would recommend.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.23/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.11/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Photo of ClintJohnson4444
5/5  rDev +24.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Great spot for local brews!

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Photo of DOCRW
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Photo of Anaxagoris
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of mellings7
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of FederalOC
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Nice tap list, good bourbon. Smoked pork tacos were good.

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Photo of Phi_Psi_OR_Beta
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of woemad
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Cool reuse of an old neighborhood landmark. If driving down 6th, it won't be very obvious until you actually turn north onto Pine St. Near here, there is a current Fire Station along 6th called No. 9. Unless hanging out with actual firemen and EMTs is your thing (not judging), it's not where you are heading. If you know where the Red Hot is, that est. can be a useful landmark, as it's kinda kitty-korner to No.9, and it's relatively easy to walk back and forth between the two.

Only been here once, in early fall of 2011, the last time I passed through Tacoma. I stopped by here after having lunch and a couple of beers at the Red Hot with the excellent local BAs Libbey and Lordkrystic. I knew I wouldn't be able to drink much else,as I had to get back on the road and continue down I-5 to my brother's place in Oly, so I made my way to the bar area and had one beer while giving the place a brief look-over.

The bartender was friendly and efficiently quick at the same time, and was only too happy to get me a menu to look over even though I made it clear that I wouldn't be ordering anything that day, and immediately responded to my request that she ring me up as I wanted to be able to leave as soon as I was done.

I had a Tacoma Brew. It was a nice, low impact, "lawnmower" beer, and it was pretty much what the doctor ordered. Not a flavor bomb, but well made and it served it's purpose as an intro to the brewery. There was a pretty good array of their beers available. What really impressed me was that they also had a good ten or so guest taps, all of which I remember as being quality beers. It was definitely not like when a place has to put on guest taps to cover up the fact that they were out of their own beers or to get good beers on in a style they couldn't provide. It says a lot about a place that they have the confidence to have that many guest taps in addition to their own beers.

They had a full menu, plus a kid's menu that a friend of mine in Spokane - who visited No.9 separately - called a godsend, as he and his wife were able to have good food and beer while their kids had meals they were happy with. I didn't eat there, since I had just had an epic specialty hot dog at Red Hot courtesy of Lordkrystic, but the menu looked promising.

Next time I pass through T-town, I will definitely stop by here a little longer, and try more of their beers.

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Photo of grizzbar
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Gobzilla
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of BeerIsTheAnswer
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We visited EH#9 last weekend on a tour of all of the Tacoma breweries. Sadly for all the others in town, this was our fist stop, so everyone else paled in comparison.

EH #9 had everything we would want in a beer location.

Cool funky locale? Check. They're located in an old firehouse that currently sits on the National Register. They manage to historic without being outdated, and have plenty of televisions tuned into sports events. Oh, and steel tip darts, no plastic ones!

Great beer selection? Check. House beers we tried were all very good or better. But the guest taps included several in the top 250, plus some that I just haven't seen elsewhere. They also have a cooler with some tasy and difficult to find selections. A prior reviewer mentioned that they don't have an updated list, which is true. I met the beer buyer and he was pretty helpful about knowing what was stashed in the back. An updated list would be helpful though.

Good food? Check. Selections range from typical pub fare to pasta and pizza items. We had lunch and weren't dissapointed. The food bill was ~$20.00 for two.

Good service? Check. We got a few freebies by showing interest. The bartender was also attentinve and seemed to know quite a bit about the selections on hand.

Loved this place and have already been back once. Will be many more times in the future, I'm sure.

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Photo of Zach122
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of John_M
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

My first visit to this Tacoma craft beer hotspot. It will certainly not be my last.

I really like the layout and feel of EH-9, and I like how the owners have retained the feel of an old fire house. The place has high ceilings in the dining area, lots of wood all around and several TV sets in the seperate, back bar area, showing various sporting events. The vibe here is informal and quite relaxed, and this struck me as a very comfortable place to hang out with a beer or three.

The beer selection was pretty impressive on this day, consisting of 24 beers on tap and 3 beers on cask. I think they had around 5 or 6 house beers (brewed on premise), but with guest beers this day including duvel, La Chouffee Nice, Maritime Jolly Roger, etc. I sampled the house IPA, which was well made and an easy to enjoy IPA. Service was pretty good. I didn't get the impression that the staff here were all that knowledgeable or well informed about the beer selection, but they were friendly and I never had to wait long for a refill. Prices were likewise pretty reasonable. I got a bottle of lagunitas sucks and a schooner of the IPA, and my cost was right at $7 or so. Didn't try the food, though the menu was large and extensive.

I spoke to a local sitting next to me, and my understanding is that the qaulity and quantity of the beer selection and food menu have both improved considerably under the new ownership. Apparently the place was bought out 5 or 6 months ago, and I heard several folks mention that the place seemed cleaner, more open and better lit. In any event, I thought this a very good place to hang our and enjoy a beer, and there's no doubt this will not be my last visit here.

Update from 2/14. I get up to Tacoma pretty often now, and E9 is one of the closer and better spots in the area. So I visit pretty frequently. I do like this place, and the positives here remain pretty positive (fairly large and diverse tap list, improving house beers, nice atmosphere with several TV's tuned to various sporting events), but the negatives haven't changed much either. E9 has an online tap list, but I have no idea how often they update it, as it's never current. Same with the in house tap list. Invariably the list won't be current, and the bartenders aren't always all that great about telling you about the current list. It's the same with the bottle list here. E9 has a pretty decent bottle list, including a pretty excellent "special bottle list." (with things like red poppy, vintage doggies claws, FW 15 and 16, Older Viscousity, etc.). Except like the draft list, it's anyone's guess what's actually going to be available in the cold box. So it can be a bit annoying when your first couple of draft selections are out, as well as that bottle of 2011 Doggie Claws you had your eye on. Service continues to be a weak link here as well. Most of the staff are friendly enough (the bartender last night was a jerk, but that's pretty rare), but they know next to nothing about the draft list. If you ask for an IPA, they can help you, but questions any more complicated than that, can sometimes lead to some surprising results. While sipping on my glass of hop venom, I overheard that they also had armored fist on tap (it wasn't on the draft list of course). The bartender told me (and another patron) that this beer is a stout or porter style of beer. I advised him that it's actually a CDA/Black IPA, but it was pretty clear he had no idea what I was talking about (and could care less). There have also been a couple of times when the GF and I have walked out due to "slow" service. At least the waiter was nice enough to tell us it would be over an hour for us to get our appetizer, but it just seemed odd that the place was short staffed during a weekend lunch hour. No explanation was forthcoming from the waiter, so I still have no real idea what the problem is/was. Just one of those things that seems to happen here from time to time.

Anyway, I consider the negatives here something I can overlook, but it is something to be aware of, especially if one is a first time visitor. Cheers!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

A: A Tacoma landmark. This old, converted firehouse is a prime craft beer spot. The inside has been well preserved and is very appealing. I have been coming here for nearly six years and it is on the up for the first time in a long time. The atmosphere is pretty laid back on most times but the weekends can be packed and hectic with college students. Trivia, TV's, darts offeer good entertainment

Q: No quality issues with a quality beer lineup ranges from average to good but the special realease and big beers here are DYNAMITE

S: Service has much improved since the new ownership. Sometimes, the newer staff is slow and know less about the beer but never rude. The veteran staff know how to get it done as do most of the new ones because they worked or work at brother/sister restraunts around the corner.

S: Usually 7-8 house beers, a good selection of guest handles,and usually something BIG, a special or seasonal now which is surprising.Bottle selection is also good and ecclectic

F: Food is pretty good for pub food.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Ah, good old E9. A staple of Tacoma of sorts, it's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area!

A - This place has a very chill, relaxed atmosphere. The walls are decked out with lots of old Firefighter/Tacoma memorabilia. Seating has never been an issue, even on busier nights. Has an overall very "brewpub" feel, although you can always watch sports in the main bar area too.

Q - Beer-wise, I've always personally liked the house beers E9 has to offer, although I'd say overall, they range from average to very good, depending on what it is. I can honestly say the seasonal house Oktoberfest I've had here is one of the best I've come across in the style. The Tacoma Brew is also a good Pale Ale, with a cool name to boot.

S - Service has always been good for me here, even on busier nights. Waitresses have always been friendly, and pretty fast with getting food and drinks out on the table. No issues here whatsoever.

S2 - Selection is very good here on both the beer and food fronts. There are typically about 20-25 beers on tap, with 6-9 of them being E9 house beers, and the others being various rotating micros or imports. Food-wise, you have your typical pub grub (burgers, nachos, sandwiches), as well as a couple other random offerings, such as pizza, the E9 taco, and Steak.

F - And about the food. The food has always been pretty good in my experience. Not mind-blowing, but definitely up to pub-grub par. The Reuben and the E9 Taco are my personal favorites from here. The fried macaroni and cheese bites are a must!

V - Everything here is very reasonably priced. Some things are even on the cheap side I'd say. The House beers are a good value.

Overall, it's one of the cooler brewpubs in the south end, and is definitely worth a visit. Be prepared to park somewhere nearby and walk if you're driving though, as parking tends to be very limited most of the time.

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Photo of loren01
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Very cool old building that appears to be an actual fire house. Nice selection of very good beers on tap here. They had 2 or 3 cask handles as well. I had the barleywine on cask that was amazing. They have a bunch of TV's going some with trivia and some with regular TV. Didn't try any of their food so I cant comment on that one. Overall a pretty cool place, I wish I had something like this in my town...i'd hang out here quite a bit if I lived in the area. The only bad thing I could say about the place would be the lack of parking, went there on a friday nite and was very difficult to find a spot to park at.

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Photo of JohnnyWash1
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

I have plenty to say about this place. I have been to many pubs, breweries, bars, etc. I have what I think we all have--a critical palette. I have read a sampling of the reviews on this page and feel inclined to offer my polite disagreement.

Let me say that overall the service was good and the food was decent. It's quite a unique place; littered with Firefighting paraphernalia and located in a family neighborhood with a opening garage door that joins the dining room with the outside patio. The restaurant was fun and lively with a somewhat secluded bar in the back. However, this is what gave me my first worry. I don't know many breweries that include a full bar. The beer should speak for itself.

Our server was nice and polite as well as personable. Having been in the serving business for years, I was very pleased with his demeanor and pace. I can say the same for another server who was serving outside. Lots of smiles and a generally flirty/fun attitude. I would go back for the service.

The beer. Oh the beer. Where do I start? Well I did start with the sampler. Six beers were brought to me: Belgian White, Hefe, Pale (ish), Porter, Amber and IPA. OG details as well as ABV and tasting notes are located on the sampler paper. Things started off right with a grainy Belgian white that has a nice wheat flavor--definitely true to the style and very drinkable beer (same color as white grape juice). The Hefeweizen was budding with intense flavor, which is something I am not used with Pyramid hanging around the corner. It smacked of clove and banana.

Unfortunately, this is where the fun stopped. I would like to go on and on about the Amber, IPA and pale, but the truth is they are almost identical. Sadly, they share a very similar appearance that is helped by their assertively bland flavor. I can appreciate a beer if you give me a characteristic, a flavor, SOMETHING to grab onto. These all fell flat in every category. None had appreciable mouthfeel (I'm sure they all shared very low FGs) or color. You simply could not smell anything on the nose and the flavor--what little there was--reminded one of only the cheapest beer kits. It was muted carbonation and perhaps a slight metallic finish that let you know you were in fact drinking beer. To be honest, I could identify the IPA by the bitterness, but it was not pleasant.

I ordered a red that wasn't part of the sampler that promised "assertive NW hops". I can only assume they forgot to include them when brewing this particular batch. Another derivation of the same amber brought before three times over--how sad.

What I can say is the food is cheap and decent. They do have other beers available, which I view somewhat as a harbinger of the overall impression of this place. Why drink theirs when you can buy a reputable brand?

In the end, I likened their breadth of beer to Crystal Light or Kool Aid. They all have different names and promise an inviting refreshing experience; however, there just isn't enough character or flavor to make it worthwhile. While Crystal Light is sweet and fruity, it at least has flavor. Sadly, this is more than I can say for the beer here. Come for the atmosphere and service, but don't come to experience a brewery.

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Photo of gixxerman
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

Cool place, if you are a fireman and beer advocate, it might be heaven. I am not really that familiar with the firefighting equipment they have decorating the place, so I probably did not fully appreciate the decor. I did notice an assortment of hose nozzles which were used to seperate the bar area from the sit down side, and there were a bunch of those things people jump into from a window to escape a fire(firefighter rings maybe?), and a bunch of ladders. Along with a myriad of items I could not identify.

Parking was a bit of a challenge, this is sort of a busy section of town. They do have their own spaces, but they were all full.

Upon approach the first thing you will notice is the brewing equipment behind a large glass window. It was a bit chilly so the garage door where the firetrucks used to park was shut.

Seating was not an issue, I sat at the bar (there are only about 8 seats there). It seemed like most of the people were doing some trivia thing. Then there were the people behind me arguing about Star Wars.

I had the E9 burger and a few Roasted Porters. The burger was average, but the beer was above average. They also have a great selection on tap, as well as bottles.

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Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma, WA
90 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.