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With 72 Taps, Midwest’s Largest Self-Pour Taproom Opens in Eau Claire

The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen officially launches this weekend

McKenna Scherer, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

TAPPED OUT. The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen boasts 70+ taps, an elevated appetizer menu, patio-in-progress with a riverfront view, and title: The biggest self-pour taproom in the Midwest.
TAPPED OUT. The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen boasts 70+ taps, an elevated appetizer menu, patio-in-progress with a riverfront view, and a unique title: the biggest self-pour taproom in the Midwest.

The highly-anticipated opening of The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen, the largest self-pour taproom in the Midwest, is finally upon us: at 11am on Saturday, June 29, TPTK will officially open its doors – and all 72 taps – to the public.

After an incredible remodel at Graham Riverside (402 Graham Ave.), including in-progress construction of what will be thousands of square feet of patio and green space overlooking the mighty Chippewa River, The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen (TPTK) is ready to accommodate hundreds of thirsty patrons. During a walk-through with co-owner Brad Hansen prior to the friends-and-family soft opening, he noted the extreme task of not just filling, but thoughtfully selecting, what would be served out of the 70-plus taps for its grand opening.

The sleek self-pour system begins with nearly 10 domestic tap options before the array of unique craft beer options, many of which I didn’t recognize as a home-grown Chippewa Vallian. Underneath the taps, rows of glasses in a variety of sizes lined the shelves, totaling nearly 500 glasses ready to get their fill.

“We wanted a vast variety of different beer styles and options than you’d normally get around here,” Brad explained. “We still have domestic (Busch Light, Coors Light, and others included) for those that don’t want to venture into the craft options. We have some local beers, beers from across the Midwest, and from across the world.”

He showed me some behind-the-tap features, too, including the cooler room that houses the kegs. An automatic line-cleaning system was installed so that each time a line needs to change out, it gets cleaned right away before moving on to the next keg.

Twelve of the 72 taps are non-beer options, offering more drinks for folks who need a break from or don’t drink beer – or alcohol – at all: wine, kombucha, seltzers and THC-infused drinks, and root beer. Water and ice are also available next to the non-beer taps.

A savory aroma welcomed us to the kitchen, which is fryer-free. “Think, ‘elevated culinary experience,’ ” Brad said as he talked about TPTK’s food options. About a dozen empanada and bruschetta varieties, a couple of salads, tater tot flights, and pretzel options will be offered, some signature items accompanying the option to customize any of the menu items.

Though plans for TPTK did not originally include a kitchen, its grown to offer a full tapas menu headed by three chefs. Everything starts around $5-$8 and is customizable depending on what toppings you add and if you want a flight.

Bruschetta flight.
Bruschetta flight.
Soft pretzels with dipping sauce.
Soft pretzels with dipping sauce.

The interior – decked out with string lights, a fireplace and couch area with a moss wall, a separate craft cocktail bar with more than 200 liquors, and more – features 140 seats, a mix of high-top and low-top tables and booths. A live-edge bar will also be placed in front of the river-view windows in the back of the taproom, next to garage doors that can open to the outside.

An event space called The Barrel Room will be rentable for $100 per hour or $600 for eight hours. It will accommodate around 40 people and is outfitted with a private sound system, TV, and access to restrooms. It also comes with riverfront views.

Perhaps the biggest lift of the entire project – and that’s sayin’ something, considering the building’s first floor was completely remodeled to house TPTK – is the outdoor green and patio space that overlooks the Chippewa River. The patio will have 150 additional seats plus standing room, fire pits, and green space to host to lawn games. The backyard area will be half-covered and half-uncovered for comfortable options, and will accommodate a variety of events. Construction is well underway and is expected to be completed by August.

Already TPTK has monthly patio yoga lined up and is working on offering tasting events, live music, and more. And now, for the most contentious topic of all regarding TPTK: parking.

The Barrel Room featuring 21 different distillery barrel heads from the Hanson's travels.
The Barrel Room, featuring 21 different distillery barrel heads from the Hansen's travels.
Signature cocktails.
Signature cocktails.

After some rezoning, there are 150 parking spots right next door in the building’s parking lot. The Graham Riverside upper lot offers 65 spaces (free after 5pm on weekdays, free on weekends) and the lower lot offers 69 spaces (free after 6pm on weekdays, free on weekends). Plus two-hour street parking is available downtown and at nearby parking ramps.

TPTK will be open seven days a week: 11am-10pm Sunday-Wednesday, and 11am-midnight Thursday-Saturday. As Brad and Bre Hansen have stressed from the beginning of the ambitious project, TPTK is not aiming to offer the usual downtown drinking experience, and they have chosen not to be open up to bar close. Not that it would be comparable to a traditional bar experience, with its record-setting tap system and unique payment process.

Upon entering TPTK, folks will find a host station to the right where they will be greeted and get checked in. After your ID is scanned, a credit or debit card will be used to open a running tab and get you a TPTK card to scan the tap system. The tab can be closed whenever you’re ready, right from your phone, thanks to a link that will be sent to it during check-in. Patrons are able to order food from their phone too, with QR codes available throughout TPTK to do so.

“It’s been humbling to get to the finish line,” Brad said. “To hear the community excitement and have people come (to TPTK) asking ‘Are you open yet?’ It’s always nerve-wracking and exciting. We’re extremely happy to be here. This is all for the community.”

While doors open on June 29, TPTK’s ribbon cutting will be Tuesday, July 2, and its official grand opening week is set for July 1-7, featuring giveaways and more.

Keep up with The Phoenix Taproom & Kitchen (402 Graham Ave., Eau Claire) on Facebook and Instagram • View their website for additional info and merchandise