Familiar face reopens on Bay St.

The third time is usually a charm, but Darryl Baldwin is hoping to do it in two.

He re-opened his MoonDogs, Too tavern just after tax day in April, mere months after former owner Bill Parkinson closed it early this year.

“We did a lot of research before we bought the place, and people associated MoonDogs with a fun time,” he said of keeping the establishment’s name. “The music they had outside, the atmosphere, just the whole look of the place was a MoonDogs-type look. It was kind of an existential name and we just liked playing off it.”

But that isn’t to say everything is the same — in addition to pull-tab machines for the “serious gambler,” the bar has expanded its offerings on the tap line — 16 beers on tap and 30 bottled varieties — and a larger selection of liquor.

“Some of them you would only get in Seattle or a large metropolitan area,” Baldwin explained. “We want to make them available to folks in this area just to try.”

And in addition to adding a wine list, the menu was completely redone. The end result is what Baldwin calls “the best bar food you’ll have anywhere in the world.”

He is especially proud of the cream-cheese-stuffed jalapeño poppers ($6.25), which are made from scratch.

Other offerings include calamari ($7.25), “GiNormous” nachos ($10.75), and salads, soups, burgers and pizzas.

And MoonDogs got a good hosing down before it reopened.

“We spent a month just cleaning the place,” Baldwin said, “so it’s somewhere clean that people would want to sit in.”

The tavern is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., but the owners are looking into opening earlier on the weekends.

There is music outdoors on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Mondays, MoonDogs holds an open-mike night “for those who want to bring their guitar or bass and sit and jam with the wheels.” And with fire pits outside, “People are able to eat, drink and smoke outside and listen to the music,” he said.

“It doesn’t get much better than that.”

That community feeling is something that Baldwin, a Tacoma resident, savors. “People here are friendly, they say hello to you when you walk down the street or nod in your direction,” he said.

For Baldwin, it is a welcome change.

“After being in the corporate world for about 30 years and working (hard) and giving someone else cash, I decided to work (hard) and try and make a little bit on my own,” he said. “I love the business. The people you meet are awesome. You get a whole bunch of stories about different folks you don’t normally see in the corporate world.”

And next up? More hard work.

In the fall, he plans to open the eatery’s upstairs as a “doghouse or a game room, so to speak.”

In addition to the game they already have, he wants more video games and pool tables — for tournaments — and possibly darts or shuffleboard.

“It will be a fun room for all of us to play in,” he said.

More bar tables and stools will be added downstairs, creating a sports center to keep an eye on whatever games are on.

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