If you’re looking for the biggest selection of microbreweries in Olympia, as well as the best bar food in Thurston County, look no further than Pints & Quarts. Located on the corner of College Street and Lacey Boulevard, this former 7-11 turned neighborhood pub has a little bit of everything, and caters to more than just one type of clientele.
Barely a stone’s throw away from Saint Martin’s University, this isn’t just a bar where the local college students hang out. Military soldiers, older couples, working class folk, and even moms come into the bar for a quick bite of lunch or to unwind after a long work day.
“We get all sorts of people coming in here,” Jamie, one of the bartenders at Pints & Quarts said. “And that’s what’s really cool about it. It’s a place where anybody can go.”
They’ve got 28 beers on tap, many of them microbreweries, and an even broader selection of beers in the huge cooler that sits behind the bar counter.
Not to mention a Bloody Mary bar. “We just bring you your glass of vodka,” Jamie said. “So people can make their Bloody Mary how they like it.”
There’s a huge announcement board inside Pints & Quarts highlighting what’s coming up for the week. There’s open mic nights and every Wednesday, Pints & Quarts serves free barbeque at 6:30pm. Who doesn’t love free food? Some nights they have burgers and dogs. Others will be barbeque chicken or pulled pork.
The food is free with a minimum one drink purchase and it runs on a first come, first serve basis. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Thursdays are steak nights where beautiful, hand cut 12 ounce New York steaks (usually $13) run for just $9.95. And after 6pm, it’s Pint Night where any pint of beer is only $2.75.
And as for the food, Pints & Quarts serves some of the best bar fare in town. Nathan, one of the cooks at Pints & Quarts, believes that one of the reasons their food is so good is because of his boss.
“He’s a stickler about getting the food right,” Nathan said. “He doesn’t care if he takes a loss on the food. He’d rather just serve good food. Keeps people coming back.”
“We have a really good kitchen,” Jamie agreed when asked about their bar fare. “Our cooks take pride in what they do. Our soup of the day is made form scratch every morning.”
And the most popular dish at Pints & Quarts? Well, the staff said that almost all of the items on the menu get evenly ordered. But they’ve got the best buffalo wings in town.
“I’ve worked here almost five years now,” Nathan said with a grin. “And still at least once a week, I’ll take an order [of wings] home with me.” They’re that good.
The former 7-11 location is now a popular bar hangout with a solid name in the community and regular, loyal patrons. But when owner Scott McKinney first opened the bar with his friend, he didn’t imagine it’d be the success it was now. “We figured a few people would show up. Just not as many as they did.”
Now after its humble beginnings, Pints & Quarts has three locations: the original bar on College Street, the Pints & Quarts at the Capital Mall (a nice place to go after a movie or to take a break from shopping), and the recent addition of Pints Barn.
Formerly the Old Red Barn, and now a new cousin to the Pints & Quarts line, the inside had been recently gutted and entirely redone to bring back the old charm of the tavern.
The location used to serve workers from the old Olympia Brewing Co., an iconic fixture in the city of Tumwater. And it seems fitting that, while talks centering around the renovation of the old brewery are stirring, one of the local taverns that used to serve its workers gets a renovation as well.
When you walk into Pints Barn, you see a deep and reverent tribute to the Olympia Brewing Co. everywhere inside the tavern, as well as that rustic nostalgia that makes you feel like you just returned home after a long day away.
A native to Olympia, and already involved with restoring another long time bar icon in downtown Olympia, Scott wanted to restore the tavern to its former glory, giving a piece of Tumwater history back to its community.
Now it’s growing its own audience and looking to be a success like the other Pints & Quarts locations. As one reviewer on Yelp.com said of the new Pints Barn: “What do you get when you take the classic Red Barn Tavern and re-do it Pints & Quarts style? A little slice of happiness close to home.”
“I think people like it here because everyone that works here loves to work here,” Nathan said, when asked about what makes Pints & Quarts so special. “We’re not just co-workers, we’re friends. It’s really a fun environment to work in. It’s not like a job.
“It’s more like family.”
If you want free barbeque, make your own brand of Bloody Mary, or experience the best selection of microbreweries in town, swing by Pints & Quarts for a pint. Or if you want some of the old rustic charm, stop by Pints Barn for a little bit of Tumwater history.
Pints & Quarts (College St)
1230 College Street SE
Lacey, WA 98503
Pints & Quarts (Capital Mall)
625 Black Lake Blvd SW # 560
Olympia, WA 98502
114 E Street SW
Tumwater, WA 98501