>> Monday, September 13, 2010

72-07 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-0500

Along the busy Austin Street corridor, next to busy 5 Burros, is The Tap House. If you can't find it, it's the place with all the people smoking out in front. Before The Tap House came along, the space was occupied by Modus. Interestingly, before Modus came along, there was Modus. In fact, before that Modus was another Modus. The businesses died, but the name lived on through numerous incarnations. First, Modus was an upscale tea house that served lattes and cakes similar to Edgar's on the Upper West Side. It was the cutest spot in the neighborhood by miles; my girlfriend and I would spend hours there (though that has as much lot to do with its laughably slow service as with anything else). Then it became a half-coffee-shop-half-cocktail-lounge. Then a sushi bar. Or was it the other way around? Anyway, it couldn't seem to get its formula right, so now it's gone. In its place is The Tap House and I have a feeling that, barring either gross mismanagement or arson, they won't be going anywhere any time soon.

See, Tap House fills a hole in the Forest Hills going-out scene that, when you think about it, is shocking that it exists at all. It's... a bar.

Yup, a bar. A plain old bar. A place where normal can drink normal beer and eat normal bar food under the warm glow of a normal Coors Light neon sign. Other than Tap House, there are no other bars within walking distance of the subway. You have to head all the way towards either Rego Park or Kew Gardens, or go all the way to Metropolitan Avenue, which is hardly a short schlep. Sure there's always Dirty Pierre's and Irish Cottage. I like both, but Dirty Pierre's serves all-you-can-eat mussels and doesn't have a single beer on tap. Irish Cottage is closer, but not quite what I'm talking about. It's more of a pub than a bar. It has actual food. The difference is admittedly subtle on paper, but one step inside and you'll understand what I mean. You're probably never gonna hear Boom Boom Pow playing at Irish Cottage.

The Tap House calls itself a sports bar, but really that's because they only play sports on the TVs over the bar and because they want an excuse to have posters with cheerleaders on them. Really, Tap House is just your average gimme-a-Bud-bar. That's it. They serve wings by the ton and their burgers are decent. Other that... uh... their PBR in a can was delectable...? Yeah, this isn't a review about the food.

Tap House before 7pm.

If you miss a somewhat fratty, somewhat local, somewhat cheap-o, standard watering hole populated with a good mix of blue and white collar groups of twenty/thirty somethings packed three deep at the bar yelling conversations at each other over the thundering top-40 music, then this is where you want to be after seven (if you prefer your bars populated by extremely polite tattooed construction worker types, then this is where you want to be before seven). You can flirt and it won't feel like you're interrupting someone's dinner (they probably couldn't hear you anyway). The Tap House took me back to the kind of bars I'd play at in college where the Red Bulls and vodkas flow, ironically, like the wine they barely serve. Shit, Tap House has Jaegermeister on tap. And nobody over 20 drinks Jaegermeister.

There's no dress code. Come in after work wearing a tie or show up after your late afternoon nap in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. No one'll care if they notice, but it's usually so crowded after dark (in front, the dining area is evacuated) that the odds are that no one will.

Tap House is, therefore, a love it or hate it place. Either you love the boisterous, fratty atmosphere or the "hey buddy what's happening?" regulars before the boisterous fratty types show up, or you hate it and its loud energy, in which case I suggest the far more mature bar scene down the block at Bonfire or around the corner at Network. I, for one, am glad that Tap House exists and I would enjoy some healthy competition. Preferably one with a large, microbrew-centric beer list, free popcorn to snack on, and a pool table.


warsze September 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

Besides the crappy sign I like the place. They have a pretty good tap selection.

Anonymous,  September 15, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

The food is really good here too!(for a bar's bar) I'd love to see a review for all of the different types of wings in the future, as I haven't had a chance to sample them all yet.

Anonymous,  September 15, 2010 at 3:06 PM  

Did this place change their name? I actually prefer Tap Room, but isn't this place called Tap House?

Jon Parker September 15, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

Oh man, how embarrassing. Yes not the Tap Room. Tap House. I'm making the edit right now. Thanks!

(see, this is why I have readers... to find my boo boos.)

mps September 16, 2010 at 10:50 AM  

I thought the place was called Drink Food?

Wayno2424 September 16, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

Tap House really filled a void. Before it the only place I could watch a game was Friday's and its lame decour. Then along came Tap House, a bar that did everything u shouldnt do when u first open a business: No food for the first 2 months, unfriendly bartenders more interested in smoking than shooting the shit and only 3/4 of the renovations done with inoperable TV's and no decour. However, it survived and thrived because we need new bars in town. Irish Cottage is a lousy atmosphere with unfriendly locals that understandably give my wife the creeps and Fridays is lame.

I like Tap House but fell in love with it this Sunday when I went for the 4:00 games. ANYTIME FOOTBALL IS ON, bucket of 7 nips specials. Nips are 7 ounce beers that never get warm because they are done before they can. 7 nips is 49 ounces or 1 ounce more than 4 beers. DOMESTIC $9 IMPORTED $11, thats $2.20 a coors light! GIDDY UP!

Susan September 16, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

I used to love curling up with a good book at Modus (#1, when it was a tea room!). I still think there's room in our neighborhood for such a spot (or maybe it's just wishful thinking).

As for Tap House, it's definitely a good addition to the neighborhood. We haven't had this sort of place in the neighborhood for 15+ years (wasn't there a sports bar way back when where Piu Piu was located???).

Jon Parker September 16, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

I don't know about the Pio Pio location, but there used to be a sports bar on Yellowstone before PJ's Steakhouse went belly up and got replaced with Manor Oktoberfest.

EricMM,  September 29, 2010 at 6:28 PM  

The place on Yellowstone was Backdrafts. There was always something rather shady/sleazy about the place. There was something weird about the owner...I think he got killed? or something like that.

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