At the Brew Coop, a new taproom at 819 Valencia Street, there’s no waiting around for the bartender to get you a beer: Just walk up to the back wall, where 26 taps await, and pour your own.
The new sports bar, which has been quietly serving customers for a few days, was inspired by owner Gore Song’s experience with self-pour systems in Europe. “We liked being able to try various beers, and various quantities,” he recalls of a trip to Prague. “Our experience hanging out... was never disrupted by waiting for somebody to make a drink.”
The Brew Coop offers customers that hands-on experience — remember to tilt your glass to avoid foam — and the chance to try a splash of lots of beers (plus some taps of wine, cider, and kombucha for non-drinkers). But there’s still staff on hand: Customers greet a host, who checks ID, and they exchange a credit card for an RFID (radio frequency identification) card. Think of it as a beer token: Slide it into a tap, and pay per ounce of beer you pour (50 cents to 80 cents, depending on what you choose).
No, it’s not a free for all: After a certain amount, your RFID card will prompt you to check back in with the host, to make sure you’re not overdoing it. The system is manufactured by the company PourMyBeer, which advertises the ease of use and increased profits offered by its equipment.
Song, who was previously a bar manager and beer buyer at Soda Popinski’s, has a selection of beers from local breweries like Faction, the Lost Abbey, Henhouse, and Harmonic. As customers start to reveal their favorite beers and styles based on pours, Song will cater his selection to meet their demands.
Drinkers in the 800-square-foot space (a former Osha Thai location) won’t have to play chef on top of bartender: Tim Luym (previously of Buffalo Theory) and Ronnie Taylor (of Alchemy) have that covered. They’re serving a menu of bar food that includes tacos, garlic fries, and lots of chicken, including nuggets, fried chicken, and Luym’s popular adobo wings.
The crowd at the Brew Coop is welcome to entertain themselves, or to watch seven 65-inch screens. They’re tuned mostly to sports — though the Brew Coop is considering a Bachelor watching party, too
The Brew Coop is open Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Brew Coop Beer by on Scribd
Brew Coop Food by on Scribd