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Amidst chaos, Ridgewood Bottle & Tap set to open

While fears about our business district’s ability to fully survive the pandemic were heightened yesterday with the unexpected closure of Caffe Vita, there is good news in the form of the upcoming debut of a new business in a beloved location.

The Starbucks that inhabited the space adjacent to Red Mill closed last year after 24 years, taking away an internet-free gathering space that filled a core need in our changing Phinney Ridge community.

The Ridgewood Bottle & Tap, a kid-, dog- and outside food-friendly gathering spot has been busily refurbishing the space since last Fall. We decided to check in with owners Robin Warma and Stuart Faris, and Robin sent us this nice update on this new addition to our community:

Well, this has already been quite the rollercoaster! My name is Robin, and together with my business partner Stuart are the owners of Ridgewood Bottle & Tap. Let us first start by saying how awesome the Phinney Ridge community is. To everyone who has stopped by and poked their head in, encouraged us, and said they would be back for a beer – THANK YOU! In the madness of this global pandemic, your positive thoughts, excitement and encouragement for our opening means the world to us.  

I grew up in Queen Anne and Stuart in Phinney Ridge. We met at Ballard High School during our freshman year. Ever since then, we’ve had a knack for stirring up the fun kind of trouble, tackling problems head-on, being persistent as hell, and just going for it. Luckily for us, opening Ridgewood will require every bit of that skill set. We don’t like to waste time and we appreciate the straight shooters, so with that in mind, we have some great news:  

We are almost open!  

Somewhat anti-climactic right? What does open even mean these days? Well, like most small businesses who had to drastically change their operations overnight, we are full speed ahead with our online store and the options of getting purchases picked up or delivered to you. In addition to beer, we plan on having a solid cider and wine selection. We will also have physical and digital gift cards, as well as some really comfortable t-shirts and sweatshirts made locally by Jeff at Choke Print Shop. We didn’t want to jinx ourselves by giving an exact date, but we can say that it will happen very soon, so please keep an eye out. We were blessed with a giant garage door window that can be raised, enabling us to do beer sales like a firework vendor right before the Fourth of July. This will be fun and slightly chaotic, but this will give us a chance to meet everyone while maintaining a safe social distance, and get some beer out into the community. 

As many people have noticed walking by, we are almost done with the build-out. Suddenly, we were granted a little extra time to get all the details right, and we are taking full advantage of that time. We will be kid-friendly, dog-friendly and outside food-friendly, which provides maximum flexibility for hanging out with families and friends. From the beginning, Stu and I were both adamant about making a place not only that we wanted to hang out in, but a place that had interesting features and decor we would be proud of throughout the years. From our giant wooden beam to our “marble” wall, from the crazy idea to have the tap tower look like a fermenter, to our “living” skylight, we wanted to create a space that was both eye-catching and fun.  

While we continue to push forward with the online side of things, we are still working on a few final projects, mainly our draft installation. Once that is done, we’re looking forward to getting some exciting products on tap that we can package on-site. We will have our entire beverage menu online, and it will be updated in real-time with our inventory, which will make it easy for anyone who wants to swing by for pick-up. 

In terms of what will be on tap, there will, of course, be a ton of everyone’s favorites, but we will be mixing it up, as we are huge fans of all types of beer – sour, dark, crispy, hoppy – you name it. It is Seattle, and luckily, we are blessed with some of the best, here in our own backyard. We also intend to bring in brands from around the country and world. Oh, and Miller High-Life. One of our main goals is to get feedback from the community as to what you like to drink, and what you want to see on tap; our tap list will be constantly changing with interesting things to try but also crowd-pleasers that we hope will bring people back, again and again. 

We are beyond excited for the time when everyone can come in, grab a beer, order the best burger in the city next door, and relax with family and friends. We have big plans for the summertime once our outdoor permit gets approved! We envision our slushy machine going full-bore, sports on the big screen, and the sun shining down on us.  

Please keep an eye out on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, website), as we will make all major announcements on those platforms very shortly. Until then, please be safe, stay inside, and keep flattening that curve. We are thrilled to be a part of the Phinney Ridge community and can’t wait to see you on the other side. Thank you for cheering us on! We can’t wait to pour you a cold one! 

Robin Warma and Stuart Faris