Tip Top in transition

Main Street staple gets an upgrade

The Tip Top Too Tavern may not be a newcomer to Main Street, but that doesn’t mean patrons would recognize it if they wandered in for a beer these days.

The smoking ban took care of the dense haze patrons were accustomed to but owners Troy and Janelle Blattner are in the midst of sprucing it up even more.

A second bar was added on the north side that connects to the sinewy bar, creating an island of beer, pull tabs and punch board prizes.

Previously, the bar’s spacious north side didn’t attract customers and if any did venture over, they felt disconnected and left out. The remodel is just about finished, and although Troy Blattner said the regulars – of which there are many at the Tip Top – are a bit wary of the addition, the response from the rest of the crowd has been enthusiastic.

The Blattners recently added an Internet jukebox and shaved ice machine for "Mikaritas" – slushy margarita-like drinks made from Mike’s Hard Lemonade concentrate – and are investing in six more flat panel TVs to add to the three already there and looking into the NFL cable package, more arcade games and more bartenders for the summer.

Blattner also owns Top Shelf martini bar and Side Bar, the newest of the trio, all downtown. Within the last month, both the Tip Top and Side Bar set records for sales and Top Shelf was $300 short of setting a new record.

Blattner declined to discuss sales numbers, but said, "It told me there were a lot of people downtown."

And rather than just pocket the profits, the Blattners are opting to push money back into the bars. The couple is investing in upgrading the bar because the downtown area is in the midst of revitalization and that is the direction it’s going to continue, Blattner suspects.

"We wanted to spruce it up a bit," he said.

The Tip Top is the second oldest tavern in the state still operating as a tavern and – according to feedback Troy Blattner got from the State Liquor Control Board – the second to be issued a liquor license the day after prohibition ended. The Blattners have talked about making the shift from tavern to full-service bar, but had negative feedback from the regulars. Liquor tends to facilitate louder, rowdier crowds, they said.

When Blattner bought the business five years ago, he considered changing the name to The Fishbowl, in reference to the large windows where customers sit all day watching passersby. But for posterity, he decided to leave it as is but add the "Too" to put his stamp on the place.

Now that the north end of the bar is more open, there are plans to host live classic rock, blues and jazz bands.

Tip Top Too Tavern

Troy and Janelle Blattner, owners

2100 Main St., Vancouver


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