After 14 months of design, construction and approvals, City Tap House — the highly anticipated bar and grill on the second floor of the Radian Apartments, at 3925 Walnut St. — opened its doors to the public May 10.
“It was not by choice that it took 14 months. It was just the process that ultimately got us there,” said Gary Cardi, one of the four City Tap House principal partners. “It was a rough winter … being shut down basically the week before Christmas and then the way the holidays fell … we were definitely given some curveballs,” he said.
The establishment houses 60 draft beers on tap at the bar and another 12 in the tasting lounge — reserved by customers for private parties.
Andy Farrell, City Tap House beer program manager and bar manager, said the 60 beers at the bar are categorized locally, regionally and globally and that the beer menu is ranked from lightest to strongest taste.
Some of his top recommendations include Sly Fox O’Reilly’s Stout, Yards, Extra Special Ale and Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale.
“Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, we’ve got a lot of great beers from Colorado, California — brewers like Stone, Lagunitas. Then we have the global perspective, beers from Japan, like Hitachino, which are considered some of their top-class beers in the world for the styles that they brew in,” Farrell said.
The menu includes options such as ribs, chicken, sausage, “craftwiches” and vegetarian items.
Aside from making sure the establishment had the “right products coming in,” Cardi said City Tap House went through “a very detailed, at some times hair-pulling experience of making sure the wood was right.”
All the wood in the restaurant is reclaimed lumber, which made it difficult for the owners to find matching barn wood that would also complement the stones covering the walls.
Awaiting approvals from the city, the University and the Radian also contributed to the delay, especially because of the fire pits on the restaurant’s balcony.
Regarding the underage crowd, Cardi said City Tap House will enforce strict carding.
“We’re going to be very tough on them,” he said. “We’re not going to accept and we’re not going to allow people coming in here thinking they’re going to get a beer under the age of 21.”
Underage customers can still eat dinner at the restaurant, which is open until 11 p.m.
In June, City Tap House will host events for Philly Beer Week, and after that, will have beer dinners once per month.
“The excitement right now has been overwhelming between our kitchen staff and our chef and our team,” Cardi added. He said it has been “a very long process of training and making sure everything is right — and we believe we’re there.”
“We were not opening these doors … until it was perfect,” he said.