A comfortable atmosphere and wide selection of food and drink make Tap a fine choice when in the Midtown area of Atlanta, Georgia.
For those visiting Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, looking for a comfortable place for food and tasty drinks, the gastropub Tap is a great choice. With ample seating, a comfortable bar, friendly service and a wide selection of beer and wine, Tap is a good place to enjoy a drink after visiting the nearby High Museum, or while exploring the area’s many bars, clubs and restaurants. In warm weather, you can relax at a table on their outside patio and watch the activity on the street as well.
Entering Tap, one finds a large industrial-style space with many wood and red leather accents to warm the room’s atmosphere. A large oval-shaped bar takes center stage on the first floor, which also has numerous tables and booths for larger parties. Several flat screen TVs surround the bar, making it a nice spot to watch sports games. Looking up, one can marvel at the glass-enclosed vault overhead where kegs of beer and wine are suspended. Up a flight of steps – or elevator, if you choose – are more tables on the upper floor surrounding the open kitchen and near large windows overlooking Midtown Atlanta. In the background, one is likely to hear a pleasing mix of classic and modern alternative rock music playing at a comfortable, not-too-loud volume.
As Tap’s name suggests, they have a wide variety of domestic and international beer on tap, and also by the bottle. There is an emphasis on local brews as well as Belgian beers, listed on the menu by style: lagers/pilsner, Belgian-style, wheat brews, stouts, ales, seasonal specialties, ciders and fruity brews/lambics. Most draughts and bottles are in the $5-8 range and available for a $3 “shortie” taster as well. Some more premium, “reserve” bottles are priced higher, $11-22. Glassware used varies depending on the beer of your choice, each carefully selected to enhance the taste and aroma of the drink.
For non-beer drinkers such as myself, Tap offers a nice selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Eight red, eight white and four sparkling wine selections are in the $7-14 range per glass, with many solid selections priced $7-9. The emphasis is on American wines with a few Australian, Spanish, and South American options also. Two I especially enjoyed were the d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz ($7) and the L de Lyeth Merlot ($9). Tasting notes on the menu help one choose a wine that appeals or goes best with the food you plan to enjoy.
Also offered are a full selection of mixed drinks, with several special house cocktails in the $9-12 range. The “Simply Bloody” ($9) puts a slight spin on the standard Bloody Mary, served with Japanese-style pickled root vegetables and a shot of Guinness. Although I am not normally a fan of Guinness, following the bartender’s suggestion of sipping some Guinness before tasting the cocktail did result in a unique, pleasant sensation as the beer cut the acidity of the tomato-based drink. The Pub “Rita” ($9) is an outstanding twist on a standard margarita, using gin instead of tequila, housemade lemonade, Grand Mariner and muddled citrus. Also tasty is the Ginger Rose Sangria ($9) made from basil, strawberry, orange, ginger and brandy. The White Chocolate Martini ($10), with chocolate vodka, chocolate liquor, cream and Chambord makes for an interesting dessert cocktail, although it didn’t quite have the intense chocolate flavor I was expecting – perhaps a dusting of cocoa powder on the rim would have amped the flavor up a touch.
For food offerings, Tap serves a variety of bar snacks, salads, sandwiches and full entrees. The menu is a mix of bar classics and southern favorites, many with internationally-inspired twists. One can munch on Boiled Peanuts ($3), Picked Cauliflower and Carrots ($3), Roasted Garlic and Lemon Hummus ($8) or Fried Pickles ($7). The Chips and Charred Tomato Salsa ($5) are a tasty way to start a meal, with freshly-made, crispy chips accented by the mellow flavor of the roasted tomatoes. Classics such as Fish and Chips ($13) share the plate menu with House-Cured Salmon ($10) and Shrimp Tostadas ($7). Tacos are $3.50 each or three for $9, including Crispy Fish, Yucatan BBQ Pork and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Supper plates, served after 5pm daily, include Steak Frites ($17), Bronzed Scallops ($20), and a Nightly Braise at market price.
Brunch is served at Tap on the weekends until 4:00pm. Some of their unique brunch offerings include Chorizo, Potato and Cheese Frittata ($10) and a Crab Cake and Citrus Asparagus Salad ($14). I tried the Pub Burger ($12) served with “Square cheese” and pickles on an English muffin – and also a small shot of chocolate milkshake. A 50/50 mix of brisket and chuck meat, burger was tasty, if not one of the best I’ve had. It was the right size for the English muffin but a little on the small size otherwise, particularly compared with other gastro-style burgers popular today. The french fries I chose for my side were good medium-cut fries, but also not exceptional. A better choice perhaps for the burger enthusiast is their “Grand Slam” ($13), which is topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon and red eye gravy on a sesame bun. The side salad, an option instead of the fries, was simply mixed greens a little over-dressed but still refreshing in contrast to the heavy hamburger.
Over two leisurely visits, I certainly found Tap to be a wonderful place to wind down and relax with good drinks and decent food. The staff was very friendly, from the bartenders to the waitstaff, who stopped to talk about Sunday football scores, or discuss music based on the band t-shirt I was wearing at the time. Tap has a welcoming atmosphere, making you feel like a regular immediately, whether you come from Atlanta or are visiting from out-of-town. Tap is certainly worth a visit should you find yourself in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, and may quickly find itself near the top of your list of places to visit again when you have a chance.
This review was originally published at the Yahoo! Contributors Network on December 10, 2010.