Tap 42, the Fort Lauderdale gastropub famously known for its 42 different beer taps, is finally opening in Coral Gables.
The 6,350-square-foot restaurant will open at 301 Giralda Ave. in March, with seating for more than 200 people. Tap 42 will also feature a retractable storefront featuring floor-to-ceiling garage windows that can be opened to enjoy the weather. A patio will provide additional seating.
The restaurant and craft beer bar will feature specials that have made Tap 42's Fort Lauderdale location so popular, such as $5 Prohibition Burger Mondays, Wednesday ladies' night, and bottomless brunch Saturday and Sunday.
Tap 42 Fort Lauderdale opened in November 2011 and tapped into South Florida's fledgling love affair with craft beer. With 42 taps and more selections in bottles, it instantly became the go-to place for brews. The beer selection was rivaled only by an extensive bourbon selection and great cocktails.
Though "gastropub" is one of the most highly overrated words in culinary history, it works when describing this establishment.
Andrew Balick, who worked in some of Miami's best kitchens, including Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, the DiLido Beach Club at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, and Pied à Terre at the Cadet Hotel in Miami Beach, was lured to Tap 42 in 2013 to drive the culinary program. In an interview with New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Balick said he decided to join Tap 42 because of the owners. "Their passion and drive was what made me want to cook for them. I wouldn't have come onboard had I not clicked so well with them." The chef is now the vice president of culinary and partner at Tap 42's parent company, TapCo Restaurant Group, and is responsible for creating the menus at all three locations. Managing the day-to-day operations of the Miami kitchen is the responsibility of chef Sadiel Rivero. He and Balick worked together at Azul and were reunited at Tap 42 Boca Raton.
Alex Rudolph, partner and VP of development at TapCo, can't wait to open in Miami. "I was born in Miami, and I'm really excited to come to Miami-Dade County." Rudolph explains that though Coral Gables will mark the third location, Tap 42 still has a family feel. "We're South Florida guys, and we don't consider ourselves to be corporate. We think of our employees as family members, and we have family members who work with us. We're all best friends." Rudolph points out some differences at the Coral Gables restaurant. For one, the famous 42 taps will feature Miami brewers. "Luke Hanna, currently our craft beer director in Boca Raton, will be moving to this new restaurant. He's been with the company two years and has forged great relationships with brewers. Our focus, since the beginning, has been to spotlight South Florida breweries in general."
The Coral Gables cocktail program, helmed by mixologist Lea Marando, will also be guided by locality. "Nothing has been 100 percent finalized, but Scotches are huge in Coral Gables, so we'll take that into consideration." Marando, who has been with Tap 42 since the day it opened, will also create unique libations specifically for her new audience. "She did a really phenomenal job with cocktails in Boca Raton, and she's excited to work on this new menu," Rudolph says. The wine selection will also be expanded, with more options for patrons who prefer grape to grain and hops.
Rudolph says that since Tap 42 opened more than four years ago, he's seen immense growth in South Florida's beer market — and in how locals drink. "I think that now people are getting used to different types of beers and they're getting more adventurous. It's exciting to see people branching out and not sticking to a standard IPA."
With 42 taps to choose from, how does one decide which beer to try? Rudolph suggests going for the gastropub's house brand, brewed by Funky Buddha. "It's an American pale ale called 42 Truths." The ale features caramel malts, Northwestern hops, and Florida orange peel to give it a citrus kick. Rudolph says, "It's so cool to partner with a local brewery. It speaks volumes to the American craft beer movement."
When Tap 42 opens in Coral Gables in March, its hours will be Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight.