Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Brass Tap owner hopes to boost local businesses with craft bar opening

Around 80 brews will be on tap at the new Brass Tap bar in New Town. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Cushman and Wakefield)
Around 80 brews will be on tap at the new Brass Tap bar in New Town. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Cushman and Wakefield)

Last August, the Brass Tap of Williamsburg announced it would bring dozens of craft beers on tap to New Town.

Since then, the business has quietly chipped away at its licensing and permits, leaving some residents wondering when the new bar and restaurant would finally open.

Demolition is now underway inside the new location, and construction will hopefully start in early June, owner Franklin Herring said Thursday.

Brass Tap aims to open in mid-September, if all goes according to plan.

The New Town location, at 4904 Courthouse St., will be the first Brass Tap location in Virginia, he said.

Brass Tap is based in Tampa, Florida and has more than 50 franchises across the country serving burgers, pizzas, salads and more.

“It’s taken forever,” Herring said. “I’m really kind of excited.”

Herring said there were a few holdups in the process to get the business opened, including the federal government shutdown.

Being the first Brass Tap franchise in Virginia also meant some hold ups through the paperwork process, Herring said.

The James City County Commissioner of the Revenue Office confirmed Brass Tap has received its business license.

The leasing agent, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, originally said the craft beer bar franchise aimed to open by the end of 2018.

Construction on the inside is estimated to start June 3 and take 90 to 100 days.

James City County permit tracking database shows Brass Tap has received two building permits for the restaurant, one of which allowed the landlord to combine two spaces into one 3,400-square-foot space.

The business will also build a new patio with an awning outside the building for customers to enjoy, Herring said.

Once construction is done, Brass Tap will need its final health and ABC inspections and permits, Herring said.

The restaurant will open with the regular Brass Tap menu, but will add or remove items over time based on customer preference.

The bar will have about 60 craft beers on tap, and around 200 craft beers in bottles or cans. It will also have cigars for sale.

Local breweries will be able to add their beers to the list of Brass Tap’s offerings. The bar does not aim to detract business from area taprooms, but boost local businesses, Herring said.

“I’m not trying to cut out people [breweries] that are around here,” he added.

Once the Brass Tap opens, Herring has some other ideas to give customers the full experience.

Herring will schedule live entertainment two nights per week, as well as some weekly karaoke nights and probably a trivia night.

The restaurant also has between 10 and 12 television screens, and additional TV that will be turned sideways and display how much craft beer is left in each keg.

“Customers can see their options,” he said.

While most ideas are ones other Brass Tap franchises offer, Herring has a unique idea not yet mainstream in Brass Tap restaurants: an Uber deal.

Herring is considering offering a free Uber ride home to customers who spend over a certain dollar amount. Details of the deal are not yet fully hashed out, but Herring said safety is key.

“These are my customers and I don’t want them to go out and get into problems — I want them to be able to come back,” Herring said.

Follow the Brass Tap’s progress on its Facebook page.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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