Kyle Duce, left, and Charlie Worden, right, are the owners of the upcoming Tap Station, a craft beer and wine take out facility that will also feature private parties and educational events revolving around cooking, wine and beer. It's expected to open in late June or July in the 7900 block of 35th Ave. SW.
Tap Station hopes to tap the take home beer and wine market in West Seattle
The 7900 block of 35th SW got a major shot in the arm with the arrival of Locöl Barley and Vine 2 years ago. It quickly became a neighborhood favorite and then its appeal grew. Owners Kyle Duce and Shane Whitall crafted the space, and food and beverage offerings, tailoring them to suit West Seattle tastes.
Recently Whitall announced plans to open a sports bar called The Westy just down the block. But Duce, who moved to Denver for family reasons 15 months ago, retained both his interest in Locôl and in West Seattle. Now he and Locöl Manager Charlie Worden are building something new.
Right on the corner of the block, at 7900 35th Ave. SW in the former Westwood Florist location they are building something they call Tap Station. The idea is simple. People love craft beers, and high quality local wines but there are many times when enjoying them at home or at a party is preferable to buying them by the glass in a restaurant.
So, Tap Station will offer eight wines and eight beers (rotating) all for sale in refillable "growlers" (a glass or ceramic jug with a 64 oz capacity) or in the vessel of your choice (sold by the ounce). In some ways it's an expansion of what has been sold from Locöl in the past but realistically, the restaurant is not set up for that purpose. Still the demand is there.
Across the country, where laws permit, the idea of to-go beer and wine sales is very popular according to Duce who now works for Restaurant Solutions Inc. a restaurant training and services company based in Denver.
Duce knew going into Locöl that the space next door would likely become available at some point and as they grew the core business, and, as he gained more restaurant and hospitality business experience the ideas that are being brought to Tap Station began to take shape.
While Tap Station will focus on the take out aspect of the business, there's much more to it.
"One thing that happened at Locöl was that at most we could get a group of 6 to 8 people around a table. It's definitely a couple's place," said Duce," but we can hold private events at Tap Station and have room for 15 to 20 people."
They plan to have cooking classes, conducted by Worden who now does a lot of the cooking at Locöl, and in fact will feature some of the same recipes. They also plan to sell canned and bottled beers and wines, plus Tap Station and brewer and vintner "swag" such as T-shirts hats, glassware and more.
The interior will be rustic, with wood lined walls (made from recycled pallets), wooden shades, large leather chairs, an unfinished ceiling, drop lighting, and a black walnut bar where tastings can be offered. Coolers will line one wall full of the packaged beer and wine and low or no prep food items. Two topographical maps will cover the south wall, one of the Cascade mountains the other of the Olympic mountains. On the back wall the logo will be flanked by two large elk antlers. Two chalkboard menus will list the wine and beer offerings.
"We will have a state of the art wine station with dual temperature controls for your red and your white kegs. The wine kegs are sealed with nitrogen. We will probably open with a house Tap Station wine created by Proletariat Wines," said Duce. Included on the short list for bees are Two Beers, Odin, Schooner Exact, and Big Al Brewing from White Center. The growlers will treated like a bottling station in that the air will be evacuated and the will be filled from the bottom up. The result is that left unopened, the beer will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two months.
"We want to create a spot that offers education, that's big for us. But ultimately what we want Tap Station to be is a great addition to Locöl," said Duce. "It makes it quick and convenient to get your food and drink and go home," said Worden.
The food offerings will be simple. "We're going to work with some of the local providers like Dooley's (hot sauce) and Tabby Cat (pickles and relishes). "We won't have dinners but more grab and go items," said Worden.
That will mean cheeses, crackers, chips, and other pre-packaged foods and other to-go pre made food items.
"We want it to be a one stop shop for your camping trip, picnic or dinner party," said Duce.
During private events, there's a potential they will have a pickup window on the north side of the building where customers can still get their beer or wine. That's not a firm plan at this point however.
One aspect they hope will make Tap Station stand out is the kind of people they plan to hire. Duce and Worden said the emphasis will be on personality and knowledge so when a customer asks about a beer or wine, they can learn something about it and trust the server knows what they are talking about. "It's service first," said Duce. " Every single person that walks through that door is taken care of like family. Educating in tastings and breaking down why a varietal tastes that way or just letting you do a quick stop, we want to be sensitive to every customer. We would not do this if that wasn't the first priority."
"In some cases, we are going to be selling the same beers as other places, so we have to make sure our people are nicer and more knowledgeable than anywhere else," said Worden. He calls himself, "Executive Chef, Manager, Boss, Charlie," and those working at Tap Station will carry the job title of "Tapslinger."
Depending on permitting, Tap Station plans to have the build out done in the next couple of weeks and hope to be open in June or by July at the latest. They plan on an 11am to 11pm daily schedule with shorter hours on Sundays.
If you'd like to get in line to reserve the 1000 square foot space for a private event, you can contact them via email at TapStationWestSeattle@gmail.com .