In a time where it seems progress, aspirations, and big dreams have been put on pause, those who are crafty, willing to adapt, and dare we say…Defiant are still shining bright. Like beacons of hope for us all to fight the malaise of a pandemic, look across the city and you’ll see plenty of people doing inspiring work in spite of the circumstances.
Enter stage left Brian Hibbard, a restaurateur, cocktail expert, and recent Tacoma resident whose Field Bar had grand aspirations pre-COVID-19.
Seeing an opportunity in our growing city’s restaurant and cocktail scene, he set out last May with a goal to add an intimate, welcoming cocktail lounge to Tacoma’s quaint entertainment strip of 6th Avenue.
It would be a place with delicious drinks, little pretension, and an irreverent menu. In essence, all the things you love about a cocktail bar but minus any barriers.
“One common theme I’ve noticed in food and beverage hospitality over the years is the normalizing of workers having a chip on their shoulder, which can often leave a lack of emphasis and care on the guest and their experience,” said Hibbard.
“At the end of the day, cocktails are a medium for people spending time together, blending different social circles and corners of life.”
With all that on pause, he rode the spectrum of emotions one does when opening a business in the middle of a global crisis and decided to pivot.
While his enchanting hall, with an ornate wooded bar and tucked booth seating, would have to wait to be enjoyed by thirsty Tacomans, he would still do his best to provide cocktails to the city in a way that made sense for now. He opened his space as a retail bottle shop.
Full of fun wines, rare vermouths, interesting soft drinks, ciders, and funky beers, the beautiful space run solely by Hibbard who is knowledgeable and excited about bringing you into the experience, has been well received already by the community.
When talking about the last few months, it is clear he is taken aback by the warmth of local spirit:
“This is a city that shows its support because they truly want to see small businesses thrive, and they think about the implications of their support, and overall they want to see things happening in Tacoma.”
He’s noticed that people coming into shop for a few bottles of wine also linger for camaraderie and companionship.
“People want to have conversations. We need community and kindness right now.”
With eyes on phase 4 and a healthier landscape, the vision of what Field Bar could be is a ways off. Until then, it is still a bright spot and welcome addition to the neighborhood led by an exciting new face.
For now, we will keep going to check out what new saison or sour has made its way to Field Bar & Bottle Shop’s shelves. When the time comes, we look forward to filling its room with cheer and boozy merriment.
Until then, we tip our cap to a dream and being willing to adapt and bend to a challenging time. This too shall pass, and when it does, the drinks will taste even better.
Keep It Defiant, Tacoma.
About Tacoma Defiance
Tacoma Defiance is the USL Championship affiliate of reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC. You can follow The Future of Champions on Twitter (@TACDefiance), Facebook, and Instagram (@tacdefiance). We are #DefiantlyTacoma.
We R Tacoma Team Store
The We R Tacoma Team Store is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT and we are fulfilling online purchases. Grab your Rainiers gear, your Defiance ‘fit, and follow the team store on Instagram and Twitter.
More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.