“Gosh, hello, long time no see. How are you? I heard you had been away. You look different. Have you grown a beard since we last met? Haha, I suppose I have as well. Seriously, you look good. We should have a drink sometime? Now? I’d like to, but must dash, work tomorrow. Maybe the weekend?”
This was the all too brief encounter between the Urban Tap House and myself yesterday. The place formerly known as Fire Island has undergone some changes; the facial work is subtle, with some choice pictures on the walls, new plasterwork, different tables and chairs in places, but overall it is effective. It seems lighter, more airy.
But enough of the Urban Tap House’s new beard, let’s get to the beers. With eight cask handpulls, ten keg lines, plus an experimental Tiny Rebel beer on a dedicated line, and over 100 bottled beers (complete with beer menu), they aren’t messing around. There was some cider, too, but I rarely notice the stuff. The crucial thing is the welcoming sight of large bottle fridges behind the bar as you walk in through the door.
During my brief visit on opening day I spotted beers on the bar from Kernel, Camden, and Caveman; there were more, but it was hard to take it all in at a leisurely pace since the venue was packed out. Luckily the bar staff weren’t fazed, most if not all of them are veterans of the bar scene, many of them having worked with Chris Rowlands over at the Goat Major.
I imagine the Goat Major to be a ghost pub right now, with a few confused, shuffling regulars awkwardly going behind the bar to pour their own beers because Chris took every single member of staff with him to the Urban Tap House.
These fleeting glimpses and half-finished stories gave me a positive first impression, but I think further investigation will be needed over the weekend, you know, just to make sure…..