Is the Skoog a Top-Secret Tacoma Speakeasy, Or an Elaborate Hoax?

Longtime journalist Deborah Bach, who runs the sailing website Three Sheets Northwest with her husband, ex-Nickels aide Marty McOmber, recently floated down to Tacoma for the weekend, intent on locating the whereabouts of a mysterious speakeasy called the Skoog, which touts its secret self as "Tacoma's original dive bar."

Before Bach and McOmber's journey, I was privy to an e-mail thread involving Bach and a handful of Tacoma natives or residents, all of whom expressed skepticism as to whether the Skoog actually existed. This didn't deter Bach from heading south on the Sound, and yesterday, she posted an account of her Skoog search on her website.

Bach can't be faulted for lack of effort. So determined was she to find the Skoog that she actually spent the night in her boat when her first day's investigation yielded little more than confusion from the locals she interrogated on the UW-Tacoma campus and at Maxwell's and the Parkway, two local bars.

On the second day, she followed up on a tip that Bob Hill, the owner of the Swiss, a popular music venue/watering hole downtown, used to play in a blues band with a man named Doug Skoog.

We'll let Bach take it from here:

"Soft-spoken but friendly, Hill was amused by the Doug Skoog theory. 'Skoog lives way out in the country on a farm,' he said. 'He drinks Bud Light occasionally. He wouldn't have a bar in his house.' Besides, Hill said, it wouldn't make sense for an illegal bar to have a website. Address or not, it was an open invite for the state's liquor control board to come looking for The Skoog...With the Doug Skoog connection out the window, we were back at square one and it was time to head back to Seattle. Heading north along Foss Waterway, I looked up at the hills of the city, the trees seeming to shroud its secrets...It could be that The Skoog is no more than one person's convincing urban myth. I'd like to think that's not the case. Tacoma is infinitely more intriguing that way. We'd go back by boat anyway, but this guarantees we will. And if The Skoog is more than just a tall tale, maybe, just maybe, we'll find it."

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