Horigan’s House of Taps: Not your average beer and wine bar
Co-owner of Horigan’s House of Taps, Mike Horan was inspired to open Horigan’s with his wife by a bar he visited in Oceanside, California, called Barrel Republic.
“I saw the technology there, they were a slightly different interpretation but the big concept was basically the same,” Horan said. “They had large number of self-serve taps and had some food as well. I thought that concept would really translate well to Greensboro. It is not something we have had here.”
This is Horan’s first business and he said from that standpoint, opening Horigan’s House of Taps was a fun and interesting way to get into the bar business.
“It is an easier start up, than starting a bar from scratch,” Horan said. “This was a new first business for my wife and I, so this concept kind of made it a little bit easier to take that leap and start a business.”
Horigan’s House of Taps located on the corner of South Elm Street in Greensboro offers self-serve beer and wine from 48 different taps and charges by the ounce. There are eight taps of wine, four whites and four reds, and in addition, there are 20 different bottles of wine for sale. As for beer and cider, there are 40 different taps of crafts, some even from local breweries.
“You are not likely to find Miller Lite here,” Horan joked.
Patrons of age are given wristbands upon arrival and those wristbands are used to scan underneath the tap of the patron’s choosing to calculate the price and activate the tap. Every 32 ounces of alcohol poured by an individual, the front desk will be notified so that the House of Taps can remain up to Alcohol Law Enforcement requirements.
Horigan’s official soft opening was on Mother’s Day and their grand opening was on May 27. From then to now, Horan said business has gone pretty well. Horigan’s is open seven days a week and generally receives good crowds on Fridays and Saturdays. Starting June 21 and every Wednesday after, Horigan’s will offer a special called “Kick The Keg” night. Horan said three or four kegs will be marked down to half price and “close to kicking” and the person who has the pour that kicks the keg will get their next beer from the replacing keg free as well as a pint glass.
“It is a little prize for kicking the keg,” Horan said.
Horan said it is hard to pinpoint what everyone’s favorite beer is so far because the taps rotate out so much. After a keg has been kicked, Horan said that a totally different keg replaces it. Horan said there has been kegs that have lasted two days and there are still kegs that are still left from the opening of Horigan’s.
Horan said the variety of beers range from stouts, porters to IPA, wheat beers and sours.
“We want to keep that variety, so when we are getting low on a keg of a specific variety, we will go look at what the distributor have in that variety.”
As time goes on, Horan said Horigan’s is becoming more and more local in that they are offering more craft beers from local breweries such as Natty Greene’s, Gibbs Hundred, Preyer, and Red Oak in Greensboro, Brown Truck in High Point, Wise Man and Foothills in Winston-Salem and coming soon: Four Saints in Asheboro.
Kyle Pagani, tapster at Horigan’s has worked at the tap house since it has opened. Pagani said he got the job because he was nosy. He said he saw that there was work being done to the building and he was curious as to what business was coming in. He dropped in and met with Horan who was working on renovations. Coincidentally, Pagani had been to the same bar in California that inspired Horan to open his own house of taps.
“Right then and there I knew he had done his research,” Pagani said. “I kept coming by every now and then to check on him and he showed me the walk-in and it just got me really stoked about it. I’ve wanted to get into the craft beer industry because I love drinking good tasting beer.”
Pagani said working at the house of taps is great because Horan is nice enough to give his employees discounts on the beer.
“After work, I get to sample it and then pass that on to the customers,” Pagani said. “I remember when I started getting into craft beer, I did not really know much about it, so to have someone giving a recommendation according to what they like, it is helpful and awesome.”
Pagani said in addition to the beer and wine, Horigan’s also offers some snack foods.
Horan said there is a limited menu that offers three different types of panini sandwiches, appetizers such as pretzels, spinach and artichoke dip, and southwest eggrolls. Horan said for wine lovers, Horgian’s also offers cheese plates.
However, this does not mean people can’t bring in their own food to eat when they come to drink.
“That is just business that we would lose out on if people don’t want to eat our food,” Pagani said. “If people want to grab a pizza from Mellow Mushroom, come in and eat it while they drink our beverages that is basically extra money.”
Kim Tomokies and Tyler Mankins were first-time visitors at Horigans and were attracted to it because of the wide selection of beer and the pour-it-yourself system. Tomokies said she likes to try new things and likes that she does not have to pour a full glass of just one beer at Horigan’s but rather, she can sample a little bit of different beers at a time. Mankins added that Horigans was the perfect place to try as many beers as possible because of the “plethora of beers” available on the taps.
“I think it is good for people who do not know what they like, because you can try little bits at a time you don’t need a full glass,” Tomokies said. “At other bars, you have to buy a full glass that you might not end up drinking.