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Tap 42 Bar & Kitchen
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Taps: 42 / Bottles: 100
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1411 S Andrews Ave
phone: (954) 463-4900
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Tap 42 has had 50 beer taps for some time now (they converted 8 in-bar iced liquor taps), and 1 cask. There is usually one beer on Nitro (for a long time Left Hand Milk Stout), and sometimes also Guiness on nitro, though currently back to 1 tap and rotating again. Pints cost as much as $10-12, some rare or high alcohol beers served in only 10 oz. pours. Drafts are $3 off during M-F happy hour, 4-7 PM.
I shy away from places with this many taps, because most just can't keep that many kegs fresh (not enough turnover). But Tap 42 is a popular & busy place, and keeps their kegs moving. Tap lines are intentionally as short as possible, and for the most part, the beer is fresh (a South Florida rarity).
The beer selection is definitely interesting, but if you watch it over time, the changes just might make you dizzy. They've made 36 of their taps "permanent" (to try to provide some consistency, perhaps?), but those tap choices are unfortunately too "safe." Excellent beer is in high demand (rare) and difficult to get (poor distribution) in South Florida, but that doesn't explain it all. To their credit, Tap 42 has produced virtually every excellent beer I have ever suggested (quite a little feat in itself...who does that!?!?), just not for very long. (Two Brothers Red Rye IPA, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, and Goose Island IPA among others.) But the rest is a whirlwind of new beers, and even coming in once a week to taste won't keep you up with them all. The result is that sometimes you have to pass on excellent (yet sadly, temporary) beers because there are better (still temporary) beers tapping, but the next week you may be hard pressed to find a single excellent beer on their copper penny backed tap wall.
Described another way, their set-up is excellent, but the execution is flawed. Due, perhaps in part, by the dichotomy of their own vision: the Director of Operations is quite outspoken "I don't even like beer," while the Beer Director (quite literally) never stops moving, and the beers never stop changing. (You almost want to give a Moonstruck-esque slap and say, "snap out of it!") And still more dichotomy: the 2 large beer chalk boards are kept impossibly, pedantically clean, but dirty feet are always standing on the bar counters while the boards are being written on (really?)! Sadly, beer IBU's are never listed, either on the chalk boards or on printed (sometimes more than daily because of frequent changes) beer menus.
Bartenders don't know these hidden, important beer details, either. The majority don't know what "on nitro" is, or why someone would drink it (though I've found 2 who are very knowledgeable.) But with 51 taps & a changing selection, patrons rely on barkeeps for info...and it's just not there. (Perhaps another reason to slow beer rotations.) Bartenders stand around and talk to each other some days, while other days, you might be asked too many times to have your glass topped off; the service is oddly inconsistent. Beer samples are too frequently...the wrong beer!
And some terrible examples: a table server once handed a beer across our table, leaving an 18" trail of splashed beer, then simply walked away (it took every napkin at the table to clean it up...so we ate with none). Another brought food to the table, made a shaky hand-off of a wooden platter, and walked away while the ketchup ramikin fell to the floor and splattered everywhere, even on several patrons (we had to go for help ourselves). Another bartender spilled on the bar, then took a cocktail napkin and wiped it up, and (quite astonishingly) placed that same dirty, wet napkin right in front of me with a smile. (These experiences after many visits).
The food is always very good, I've never had anything here that wasn't. They have a policy of sourcing food from fresh, local and sustainable sources (awesome, rare). It's the best food I've had anywhere that serves excellent beer on tap (and I have traveled extensively). This is a chef's menu, and it shows. The $13 Prohibition burgers (only $5 on Mondays) are awesome.
The atmosphere is very good, with nice, original steampunk and deconstructionist elements. Big, custom sturdy, indoor real wood tables (that sometimes rock) and also outside seating means you can pick your experience based on the weather. The bar inside can get very loud and very packed.
But alas, this is not Portland, OR, it's South Florida, and still about the best beer gets down here. And this is a beer blog, but beer is not their focus (though the place may make you think otherwise). The Tap 42 business is brisk, and beer policies are not likely to change. And that's probably okay. People with smartphones can easily access the info bartenders and boards fail to provide...and judging by the number of people who sit in front of all those taps drinking bottled Bud Light, the lack of direction from the staff isn't hurting business.
03-16-2013 23:21:15 |
More by Airspeed400
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5 | $$$$
Visited the establishment back in December 2012, must have been a Wednesday evening. Anyway, it was warm enough to we sat outside. We arrived around 7pm or so and there was already a good crowd. We were promptly seated and the waitress arrived with beer menus. At first glance, it was a pretty good selection, although once you really start to dig into it, you will quickly notice that the offerings are kind of the run of the mill, you can pretty much get that stuff anywhere. The only CCB that I saw was the Jai Alai IPA. I was hoping for a better selection of CCB, but to no avail. Went with a staple Bell's Two Hearted Ale and I was certain that they brought me the Pale Ale, when questioned the waitress was fairly certain that it was Two Hearted, but she was wrong and didn't even offer to go get another for me. So, after that, the rest of the evening, I drank water. We ordered food, which was OK at best; you can certainly find better food in the Ft. Lauderdale area, which I have on many occasions. The service got a little slow as the night wore on, I think that we left around 9:30 or so and the place was packed as hell. Overall, I doubt that I would go back.
02-05-2013 18:06:13 |
More by PhillyStyle
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$$$
I travel a lot! I first turn to BA to find out where im eating/drinking for the night wherever I am...Florida is a weird place. Nothing too amazing here. I came upon this place, saw it got good reviews for food, good for beer, bad for atmosphere. Well...my food (veg burger) was ok, not amazing as many people claim. Im a vegetarian and its usually my dinner of choice, so Ive had a lot...this one was weird??? bbq sauce, and some kind of red veg - i guess they were trying to make it look like a rare burger? I dont know...it was huge, fries were old, and it was just edible.
Beer selection was big...but its all stuff I ve had. Harpoon IPA, Lagunitas IPA, some CCB stuff, but mostly meh offerings. Some nice rare rotating taps, but their bottles were great - but SO EXPENSIVE! I really wanted a bottle of Bruery Ode Tart but it was $36!! seriously....?? Thats insane. I ended up with a GF Rayon Vert, folowed by a Two Brothers Biere de Garde, then a CCB Oktoberest...nothing blew me away. Service was great. Very attentive, even during crazy happy hour ($3 off everything)...pretty girls, yes...but they were nice. Although they serve their beer in COLD glasses! when will they learn...so I asked for a wine glass when drinking my bottle of GF.
The atmosphere was a bunch of D-bags pounding purple haze with their wine drinking sluts...nothing wrong with either, but its not my scene. Next time im in Ft Lauderdale, im checking out Riverside Market...
After my review I saw that after I didnt give this rave reviews, im still like +15% rDev!!
I guess Im not the only one who didnt really like this place huh...
12-07-2012 02:56:28 |
More by DrinkSlurm
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75 | $$$$
They have made some substantial headway and are way more consistent in their service, quality and selection. They have had a pretty great run of beer events and Lauren the beer director has really made amazing efforts in that area.
Last few visits the food was great the beer was well served and the selection was great. I still think the beer pricing is insane as it costs more to drink at Tap than it does at either Blind Tiger or Gingerman in NYC. Tap is never going to be a craft beer lovers "local" as it just isnt that sort of place but has become the go to place for beer events in SoFLo.
update 11-11-12I went to a "Beer Fest" there Titled American Craft Beer Festival and Block Party. Holy hell has nobody that works there been to an actual beer festival? It was pretty much what they do inside only outside. The sole exception was a Cigar City beer truck with 4 or so special CCB beers. Not the rare stuff more like the stuff you have to go to a CCB event at a bar to get.
I want to like you Tap 42 really I do but you are the Lucy to my Charlie Brown forever saying you'll not pull the ball out but doing just that every time.
Go if you want hit or miss food with a good beer selection with very good looking staff that is hit and miss service wise.
Here is an update to my review below. Yes it is still too loud and yes most of the bartenders still do not know craft beer but it is improving. Not the loud and knowledge part but they have stepped up their game on selection, tap take over events and they food has steadily improved. I would still not recommend this to a beer traveler but would absolutely recommend to some one that wanted a good meal and a great beer selection.
They still could use a solid beer knowledgeable bar staff but the bartenders now are at least very friendly and provide good service. The beer prices are still ridiculous but I guess they have no reason not to as the place is packed most nights.
I only hope they keep improving
Here is my original review done a few months before the update above
Prior to going to Tap42 it was the place I've been waiting for, 42 taps, 100 bottles and craft food. Well a great concept means zilch without solid execution. This place feels like a few guys with money and bar/resturants experience said "hey let's cash in on the craft beer thing". Really $8 for an Aarogant Bastard or $7 for local CCB beers?
Went opening week and it was a cluster F, service was incompetent but the wings and burger showed promise as did the opening beer lineup. So I gave it a 2nd,3rd and 4th chance but each time they failed. The tap selection was gotten progressively weaker since opening day. I know they could do better since Coffee District, Bro Tucker's and Fat Cats smoke these guys.
The bar tenders do try but they just don't know beer. They do seem concerned about your experience though.
Atmosphere is exposed wood and metal and is nice but this place is LOUD, please put in acoustic treatment so I can hear my friends.
I'll likely give them another shot or two but I do not recommend this place yet and it's pricey to boot.
08-25-2012 17:10:00 |
More by jp11801
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This place is hit or miss. All is good when it hits. As good a selection of beer you will find in the area, food that can be really tasty, and there are a couple people, usually behind the bar, that knows whats going on with their beers and bourbon.
The 42 beers on tap, or most of them, are off 5 gallon pony kegs, which means you have good turnover, and you better get there when they have a special release, because the staff will kill the keg before the night is over.
These guys are working hard to change the problems in the kitchen and with service. They stripped out several tables inside so you don't feel like your in a maze. They just hired a new executive chef, who may be able to help them out.
I think we need more places like this, so SFLA can start to get the attention of national distributors. Thank God for the Belgians, and FL breweries like Cigar City, Inlet Brewing Co., and of course Holly Mackerel, for keeping it just funky enough all the time.
05-03-2012 12:12:25 |
More by DaGator
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
I went to Tap 42 on a Thursday night. It was fairly busy but not too crazy. We had to wait a few minutes for a table but there was bar space. The atmosphere was okay. I didn't spend much time inside. It was loud in there. Outside is nice they were having difficulty with some lighting but had it fixed eventually. The tap list is nice. I would have liked to see more Cigar City. Some of the other local beers were not so good. Service was okay (I think that's an improvement from older reviews). They were attentive, but didn't offer any beer knowledge. That's fine because I have enough beer knowledge for our party. The food was really good. The burgers are big and really tasty. This is a worthwhile place to visit that I think will get better as the management and staff adjust to the craft beer scene.
04-16-2012 02:26:57 |
More by zeff80
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$$
Location - I really like that this is a free standing pub, not many of these in south Florida. Parking is easy to come by, and they have valet.
The Bar - The bar is actually pretty cool, lay-out is nice. They have a combined indoor / outdoor bar. Patio is nice too.
The Scene - A little too trendy for my tastes. Seems like the next Yolo in pub form.
The Beer - Not the greatest selection. Everything they had was pretty run of the mill stuff.
Service - Horrible! I was there on a pretty busy night but that doesn't excuse some things like 1. Some of the bartenders are rude, one snapped at my wife. 2. Bartenders know nothing about beer. You ask them questions and they have no clue. When they refer you to one of the managers that supposedly know about the beers they have no clue as well. They hired their bartenders based on looks, not skill, its very obvious.
Food - Didn't Eat
Overall - This please has lots of potential to be great. In my opinion they need more knowledgeable bartenders that are more friendly and a better selection of beer. It seems like the owner wanted to hop on the beer craze bandwagon without proper knowledge of good beer.
04-02-2012 14:09:36 |
More by toofdoc
Tap 42 Bar & Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale, FL