Bites and pints
Petaluma's Taps serves up hearty pub grub and cold brews
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
Early on a Thursday evening, we went out looking for a casual place to have dinner. We dropped by Taps, hoping to sample their fare, but to our surprise were unable to find a seat in the bustling brew pub. Every seat was taken by patrons enjoying the conviviality of this comfortable establishment. The waitress advised me that there were no reservations taken and seating was on a first come basis.
Style: Brew pub casual
Kid friendly: Yes
Wheelchair accessible: No
(Prices for entrée and beverage: $$$$ more than $20; $$$ $14 to $20; $$ $9 to $14; $ less than $9)
Undaunted, I went back the following lunch hour and was again presented with an almost full house. But this time, I was able to snag a table with my friend. And I am happy that we were able to taste the food that is offered along with the many craft beers that are the specialty of the house.
Taps is, after all, a tap room. They pour from a rotating list of 35 American craft brewed and world beers that are listed on a chalk board over the bar. The present draft list shows a strong West Coast bias, although other states are also represented. They also host events that showcase specialty brews; in March they will focus on Anderson Valley, Schmaltz Beer, and on St. Patrick's day it will be Moylan's. They offer samples of beer to the curious, and you can order a flight of three beers to taste the many different styles they offer. Prices range from $4 to $12 a pint. They have been the recipient of the Petaluma People's Choice Award for Best Tap Beer and were named Best of the Bay in 2010.
Owner Eric LaFranchi is a Petaluma native who opened Taps in 2009 in the basement of the old Petaluma Hotel, after developing an in-depth knowledge of craft beers while in college at Chico, (the home of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.), and thereafter. He describes the atmosphere of Taps as community centric — he hopes to create a meeting place for locals first and then new acquaintances who enjoy the Petaluma way of life. He hosts school fundraisers and Sunday breakfasts and wants the restaurant to keep its family friendly feeling.
The bar room has a high ceiling and wood panels, with a long bar against the wall, and six TV screens overheard that can be seen from anywhere in the room. Adjacent to the bar area is a dining room with family style tables and a large fireplace, which make it a cozy place to sit and eat dinner without having to be part of the noisier bar scene. It can also be converted to a party room to accommodate larger groups. On big game days, the back room doubles as a TV room with a large high-definition TV brought in for additional viewing. While we were there during the week when there was more of a family and small parties vibe, it is a popular watering hole among the 20 something set on the weekends.
Our service was exceptional — Cheryl our waitress was knowledgeable about both the food and the beer, and the food arrived quickly and cooked just right. And reading glasses were furnished when it became clear neither one of us remembered to bring a pair, so that we could actually see what was on the menu (you'll understand the importance of this detail when you get older!)
The fare is simplåe and delicious. I had a very traditional Taps burger, which was cooked medium rare just like I ordered and served with tomato, red onion, lettuce and an assortment of pickles ($8.50).
My friend had the Bistro Burger, also cooked to her liking at rare, which came with Laura Chenel goat cheese, arugula and Meyer Lemon pesto ($9.75). We split a side of crisp garlic fries which had enough garlic to enjoy, but not too much to overwhelm us (a mere 95 cents when ordered with the burger).
Taps' menu also contains an assortment of Specialty Hot Dogs, Sandwiches, Buffalo wings, salads, fries and a kids' menu with all the essentials.
Taps is open Monday though Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until closing, which is sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight; Sunday's breakfast is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; then the regular bar menu is available until closing. They are located at 205 Kentucky Street. Call 763-6700 for more information or check their website for frequent special events at www.petalumataps.com.
(Contact Lynn Haggerty King at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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