What’s brewing in Tapped?

Join Eoghan Conway as he checks out the newly reopened bar, Tapped, on Nassau Street

An ever-popular haunt for Trinity students, The Porterhouse Central Bar recently reopened under the new name Tapped. The revamped bar makes its return with a new interior, facade, ethos and exhaustive drinks list. Tapped is situated a mere 90 metres from the Nassau Street entrance to College and, by my reckoning, it’s probably the closest boozer from the Arts block, the undisputed home of thirsty students in the capital. The aptly named bar is home to over 50 taps with offerings ranging from IPAs, stouts, wines and cocktails. But how does it fare?

I arrived in Tapped two days after its opening, intrigued to see what all the hype was about. Upon stepping into the bar you are greeted with a scarlet red and sky blue colour scheme. The rustic, exposed and industrial feel to the bar had me thinking, damn, BrewDog had a glow-up over the summer. Bare exposed concrete walls provide the shell to the bar. Enclosed in this is the highly impressive 15-metre concrete bar top adorned with an array of taps. Dim vertical tube lighting provides the backdrop to the altar of spirits that sit behind the counter. An extensive collection of mainly domestic spirits takes pride of place behind the bar. Seating in the bar is mixed. Cosy corners and nooks and crannies allow for a more intimate setting and an escape from the open feel of the place. Lo-Fi techno pierces across the bar. A DJ deck can be seen front and centre in the middle of the bar, a nod to the music to come later on in the evening. Tapped is to be a late bar, a welcome addition to a currently dwindling late bar lineup in the capital. It will be home to live DJs in the evenings of Wednesday through Saturday. 

“I’m no mixologist but surely fresh is best when it comes to a bespoke, multi-element drink that I am going to be forking out twelve quid for.”

But how do the kegged cocktails, beers and wine taste most importantly? Call me a sceptic but the appeal of pre-made cocktails wouldn’t have me running in the door. I’m no mixologist but surely fresh is best when it comes to a bespoke, multi-element drink that I am going to be forking out twelve quid for. The decision to have cocktails on tap was explained by Elliot Hughes, Executive Director of Porterhouse Group, who stated that they opted for a draught system to eliminate waste and cut down on customer waiting time. The former I wouldn’t have considered a massive issue when it comes to a made-to-order drink.  

A friend and I ordered a Mary Pickford (Bacardi Carta Blanca, maraschino, pineapple, pomegranate and citrus) and a classic margarita, both priced at twelve euro, like all the cocktails on tap. Within seconds of my account getting debited, the drinks arrived. The Mary Pickford reminded me of a Ribena fruit punch of sorts, sweet but not too sweet yet lacking a bit in the pomegranate department. Overall fairly decent. The margarita was standard at best. In an effort to speed up customer wait times, the finer details of the drink were disregarded. The drink came with a dehydrated lime and lacked a salted rim. It also had probably enough ice to sink the Titanic a second time over. There are definitely better cocktails out there in the capital, but if it’s convenience and proximity to the campus that you’re looking for, Tapped is worth a shot. 

“Porterhouse is well renowned for its beers and the stout did not disappoint, a lovely pint with a smooth, creamy subtle sweetness. Consider all the boxes ticked.”

When I hear taps I don’t think cocktails, I think beer, and it’s here where Tapped definitely holds its own. From ginger beers, larger, weisse beers to IPAs, they have it all. They also have over 50 cans and bottles to choose from. A neat addition to the bar is a live rotational menu featuring guest beers from small domestic Irish producers and independent breweries worldwide. If beer is your thing, Tapped is the place for you. Craft beers command their own slightly higher price point, but of course, you pay for what you get. I had to try the obligatory pint of stout. No Guinness to be seen here, however. I went for a pint of Portherhouse’s own Irish stout priced at €5.80, which dare I say is becoming the norm for a pint in the capital these days. Porterhouse is well-renowned for its beers and the stout did not disappoint, a lovely pint with a smooth, creamy subtle sweetness. Consider all the boxes ticked.  

I really have to commend Tapped on their commitment to Irish produce. Their food menu is provided by Dublin Pizza Company. It consists of wood-fired pizzas, salads and wings. Various kinds of Irish cheese are used such as Toonsbridge mozzarella and Ardsallagh’s goats cheese. All this grub doesn’t just provide you with ample soakage but also supports domestic artisanal producers. Their commitment to independent Irish spirit producers is second to none. From Chai Irish Rum, Kalak Irish Vodka and Valentia Island Vermouth, it’s great to see the small independent producers breaking into bottle lists. Their Irish whisky list is also a page long and would put some pubs with archaic whiskey bonders advertising over their doors to shame.

The only major gripe I had during the evening was with the grapes and the wine on tap. The wine providers are Wine Lab, the same suppliers to restaurants such as Sprezzatura and Uno Mas. The ethos behind Wine Lab is laudable, reduced packaging with recyclable kegs reducing carbon emission by half, and I have never really had an issue with them in previous restaurants. My friend had a glass of the frizzante which within seconds of being poured had gone flat. The red wine, a Tempranillo, didn’t fare much better. It was as if someone had opened a bottle of Dada on a Tuesday and returned to it on Friday in the hope that it wasn’t too putrid. As college students who would happily knock back anything and would hate to see a drink go to waste, we nevertheless managed to get through them. 

Overall, Tapped is definitely worth throwing your head into. A former crowd favourite trying something new for a change. It reminded me of what it would be like to go to the farewell tour of your favourite band. You are there for the old classics, the dance tunes and the singalongs, yet find out that the newly released album that you only listened to once ain’t half bad at all. Yet for Tapped it’s not a farewell tour, it’s only the beginning. A groovy spot in their ever-popular location with a revamped menu and concept that will have many traipsing through the doors.