Photo:  Sam Carlson
Bob's Java Jive
2102 South Tacoma Way
Tacoma, Washington
The above photo is how the Java Jive appeared in April 2000.  It is still open and serving customers since 1927.  The Ventures used to frequent this place in their early days, sometimes earning as much as a whole $50.00 per night for the entire band.  Would they come back for a return engagement at that price today?  Who knows?  Perhaps they would just for nostalgic reasons.  I'm sure many other bands have memories here.

Here is a wonderful drawing of the Java Jive made in the 70's
Drawing by Gary S. Bennett
The drawing of the Java Jive was done by me in 77 or 78.

My name is Gary S. Bennett.  I've been an artist in the Tacoma area for 35 years. The original pen and ink was reproduced in an edition of 200 prints.  I once traded Bob Radnich (the owner) a print of the Java Jive for a beer.  I was in the J.J. Again about 2 years later and noticed a xeroxed copy of my print for sale at the bar for $1.   I gave Bob a hard time ( jokingly) about copyrights etc.  He said "I figured you'd be back. I decided a 10% cut would be fair".   He then went to the till and pulled out an envelope and handed me $15 ( I guess he had sold 150 of the xeroxes).

Gary S. Bennett, December 2004

Friends work to get Java Jive back in business

STACEY MULICK; The News Tribune
January 26th, 2007

An all-female roller derby league is on the case, along with a couple of contractors and a neighbor of Bob’s Java Jive. But whether the coffee pot-shaped karaoke tavern can reopen remained unknown Thursday.

Patrons and supporters of the historic South Tacoma Way bar, closed Wednesday after inspectors found a slew of electrical, fire and building code violations, are hoping for a reopening this weekend.

But before that can happen, the problems must be fixed and the business reinspected and cleared by Tacoma Power and the Tacoma Fire Department.

“They are going to have to resolve some things,” said Lt. Phil Ferrell of the Fire Department. “They are all cost things and they all have to be done.”

Two contractors donated their time Thursday and were working to fix the electrical problems the inspection found.

“We’re just trying to do it as fast as we can to get it done,” said Chris, who’s with the Dockyard Derby Dames and was helping coordinate the volunteer efforts. He declined to give his last name but said the roller derby league still hopes to have its winter pajama party at the Java Jive on Saturday.

Reached Thursday, Java Jive owner Danette Staatz said she hadn’t been to the bar yet and didn’t know about the volunteer efforts.

They’re facing several problems found this week after a team of city inspectors went through the bar at 2101 South Tacoma Way.

The Fire Department received a report about overcrowding at the business last month. A fire official checked the outside of the building and noted several concerns.

A larger team returned Wednesday, with inspectors from the Fire Department, Public Works and Tacoma Power shuffling around inside the nearly 80-year-old structure.

They temporarily closed the business after finding exposed electrical wiring, an abundance of combustibles, an improperly installed gas fireplace, an unprotected kitchen fryer and limited access to and number of marked exits.

Staatz was told she needed to hire an electrical contractor within the next seven days or else the power would be shut off. She worried about how she would pay for the work and said she needed help.

Patrons and others responded Thursday after word spread and a story about the bar’s closure was published Thursday in The News Tribune.

The two electrical contractors showed up and offered to donate their time. Owners of Blaze Electric obtained a permit from Tacoma Power, got materials donated from Tacoma Electric and were working by the afternoon.

“You’ve got people working together to help them,” said Tom Bender, a senior electrical inspector for Tacoma Power. “I think by (Friday) night, they would have it in fine shape.”

Alma Austin, a neighbor of Staatz, was organizing a car wash to raise money for her.

“I don’t want to see her lose it,” Austin said.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268

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Last Update:  12 November 2013
Credits:  S. Carlson, Gary S. Bennett