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Tacoma, Washington

Bob's Java Jive

Tacoma’s 25-foot coffee pot music spot has served up over 80 years of concrete kitsch.  

People had some unusual dreams in the 1920s. Dr. Otis G. Button, a veterinarian from Tacoma, Washington, dreamed of something other than a waiting room full of furry patients. He came up with a giant coffee pot diner, 25 feet tall, 30 feet wide.

It’s been 89 years, and his coffee pot is still right where he put it down.

It was 1927, and Dr. Button’s unique piece of mimetic architecture started out as the Coffee Pot Restaurant. Over the years it ran the gamut from diner to drive-in, speakeasy to juke joint to go-go bar. In 1955 it became someone else’s dream, when Bob Radonich, along with his wife Lylabell, turned it into Bob’s Java Jive.

With a Polynesian flair popular at the time, Bob and Lylabell opened their pot up to live music, and it’s been cranking out live tunes (and some karaoke) ever since.

Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Bob’s Java Jive is working hard to hold onto its spot as an important landmark and cultural music hub for Tacoma. Going back to its early years when surf guitar luminaries The Ventures were the house band, they have provided a space, albeit a tight one, for local musicians to follow in their footsteps.

Beer. Burgers. Bands. In a coffee pot. It’s not clear whether or not they serve coffee.

Know Before You Go

Bob's Java Jive is in south Tacoma, just west of the Rt. 16 overpass and north of I-5. Call ahead (253-475-9843) for hours and who might be playing.