For years, I’ve driven by the vacant Chinese restaurant at Sixth Avenue and Alder Street, hoping for an eatery the Sixth Avenue district needs, like a dim sum restaurant, high-end Vietnamese or full-service bakery. ABC Asian Cuisine seemed destined to remain an abandoned building until Chuck Bayha started remodeling in January. Bayha, who worked for many years in restaurants and pull tabs, opened Overtime, Tacoma’s Bar and Grill at the end of March.
I was dubious when Bayha described the concept as an “upscale pub” because that area of Tacoma seems crowded with pubs – from downtown’s Pacific neighborhood (The Office, Meconi’s, Varsity Grill, The Swiss, Harmon and Cheers) up the hill to Sixth (Engine House No. 9, Crown Bar, Dirty Oscar’s Annex). That the bar would have pull tabs made me think of another nearby Sixth hangout, The West End Pub. Now that it’s open, it really does seem similar to pubs in the Sixth and Pacific neighborhoods with a burger-and-grill menu to match, but it has one definite positive: an adjacent parking lot. In a neighborhood where finding street parking on a Friday night is about as fun as driving a nail into your eye, opening a pub with a parking lot is really smart strategy (but I’ll still wish for a high-end Vietnamese restaurant on that block).
The interior of Overtime has seen a remarkable remodel. The ceiling was lifted and the interior rehabbed with lots of wood, making it an attractive pub compared with its former life as a dated Chinese restaurant. You can’t turn your head without being greeted by a flat-panel television.
Service was gracious and efficient. The tap list is quite small and highly predictable. The focus here is cocktails, with a two-page specialty cocktail menu. Happy hour eats are among the most economical on Sixth with menu items from $2-$4.
Based on first impressions, I think the burgers that come with hand-cut fries might become the pub’s best attribute. A black and blue bacon cheeseburger ($11) looked to be at least a third of a pound chuck patty with blue cheese oozing over thick-sliced bacon. The burger was classically topped with all the usual suspects - lettuce, onions and tomatoes and two pickle slices speared through the bun. Hand-cut, fresh fries were fantastic – lightly crisp outside and soft inside, without being limp. A pulled pork grinder ($9) was sufficiently porky, but tasted light on flavor outside of the melted cheddar. A little Carolina-style barbecue sauce would have given it the kick it needed. Grilled Alaskan cod ($12) gave us trouble. The bed of wilted spinach was watery and the fish overcooked. Stick with the burgers.
Overtime, Tacoma’s Bar and Grill
Where: 3118 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253-572-6346
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily