The owners of the former Union Jack’s British pub on St. Elmo Avenue haven’t left Bethesda behind—they’ve just changed the restaurant’s concept.
Tapp’d—the new taphouse from owners Johnny “Nitro” Natoli and Gary Ouellette—opened at the former Union Jack’s space Saturday afternoon, with an official grand opening planned for Wednesday.
Inside the restaurant Friday evening, workers were installing tables, TVs and other features of the restaurant.
“We’re really happy with the way things turned out,” General Manager Rob Cousins said.
The space has been renovated with a new street-level entrance, TVs were installed in the dining booths and new tables were added with tops made of reclaimed wood. The wrap-around bar that’s the centerpiece of the taphouse now features 80 tap lines.
The restaurant offers 40 beers on tap—Cousins called the taps mirrored, meaning each side of the bar has 40 taps so that bartenders can pour beer more quickly and customers can see the choices available. The bar also offers more than 100 bottles of beer.
The taps at Tapp’d. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
The bar uses the Tap Hunter app, which allows customers to access the current beer selection on their phones. Some of the 32 TVs inside the restaurant will show beer menus as well, which allows the restaurant to quickly update its constantly changing beer list.
In a side game room, the owners added foosball and air hockey tables and skee ball. There are also pool tables, a feature carried over from Union Jack’s. The restaurant has been decorated with old photos of Bethesda.
The game room also features about 10 tables as well as pool, skee ball and air hockey. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
The owners changed the concept from the British pub, which had a popular nightlife scene, to a taphouse in order to appeal to the growing demand for craft beer, Cousins said.
The taphouse no longer will offer music by DJs on the weekend; it’s aiming to offer a casual, relaxed feel. Cousins said the owners may schedule acoustic live music on the weekends.
“We want to be approachable to everybody,” Cousins said.
The menu ranges from starters such as bayou shrimp and waffle fries to entrees that include Maryland crab cakes and barbecue ribs. Traditional bar grub—burgers, wings and pizza—also will be available.
The restaurant will open with a wide selection of beers from Maryland breweries such as Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring, Manor Hill Brewing, Union Craft Brewing, Brewer’s Art and Jailbreak Brewing Co., Cousins said. The taphouse will also offer a number of beers featuring the Tapp’d name that are brewed specifically for the restaurant by Oliver Brewing Co. in Baltimore.
The restaurant at 4915 St. Elmo Ave. is 7,200 square feet and has space for about 175 customers.
Tapp’d interior photos by Andrew Metcalf
Tapp’d menu via Facebook