City Tap opened in Midtown in early February. Anchored in the greater Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., areas, with locations in Boston and Nashville; and Chicago and Loudoun, Virginia, coming soon, the brand emphasizes making craft beer accessible and offering food to enjoy with it.
The free-standing, two-story brick building on Peachtree Street, near Seventh Street, once housed the Gordon Biersch brewery and restaurant. The City Tap renovation of the 10,000-square-foot space features an open kitchen, dining room and long L-shaped bar on the ground floor, and a spacious mezzanine with a full bar and two private dining rooms above.
The design mixes rustic and industrial elements with imposing iron and wood beams and copper and stone accents, plus plenty of TVs tuned to sports programming. Outdoor seating includes a brick patio with a fire pit and a side patio that opens to the back side of the bar.
Executive chef Greg Gettles, who most recently worked in the kitchen at Root Baking Co. in Ponce City Market, is overseeing a menu that mixes City Tap “Bar Standards” such as Ten Spice Wings and Corn and Crab Hushpuppies with wood-fired pizza and nightly specials.
City Tap brand director Andy Farrell is in charge of the beer list, with over 60 selections on draft, which includes craft flagships, such as Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, and lots of local, seasonal and international offerings.
Last week, Farrell and Gettles sat down at a table at City Tap to talk about the history and direction of the concept.
“We opened our first location in Philadelphia in University City in May of 2010, and I was the opening general manager,” Farrell said. “I’d been working with and around the partners in the group for years, and I came in to give them some guidance on how to build a 60-tap draft beer program and keep it dynamic and fun and engaging. So what started out as a brief stint turned out to be 10 years.
“We’re an elevated American pub. That’s my simple definition for City Tap. But pub first. That’s what people want. They want a place where they can escape their lives for a few minutes or a few hours, with straight-forward, honest food, good beers, good cocktails, and an easy wine list. A place where you can watch a game on a big TV screen, or kick back at happy hour with some friends, or throw a corporate event up on the second floor.”
As far as choosing Midtown Atlanta for the newest City Tap, Farrell said it fit the checklist for successful locations elsewhere.
“We saw a lot of young, fresh residential and young, fresh corporate energy here in Midtown, which is really having a renaissance,” he said. “And this is a great property, with lots of opportunity, and we thought we fit in. So far, the reception from the neighbors has been amazing.”
Gettles’ background includes stints at North Carolina fine dining restaurants, including Magnolia Grill in Durham and Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. And later he worked at Mercantile & Mash in Charleston, South Carolina. But City Tap is a different kind of challenge, he noted.
“I’ve been cooking in the South for most of my professional career,” Gettles said. “When I think about food in Atlanta, the first thing I think about is Buford Highway. It’s a mecca for all kinds of food. It’s the international hub of the South. And an American pub means a melting pot of everything. There’s a massive opportunity to bring all that together here, from pizza to sushi.
“But the Standards, like the wings and hush puppies, are winners every time. They figured those out in Philly, so there’s no need to mess with those. It’s a good burger. The pizza program is great. Really, there’s something for everybody here. But we’ll be working with the seasons. The spring menu is coming up, and there will be changes, and we’ll elevate around that. There are no boundaries. The potential for Midtown Atlanta and what we want to do here is to provide a great place for the neighborhood.”
848 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-720-0654, citytap.com/location/atlanta.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at City Tap in Midtown
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