Take an old bar that was honestly ready for something new, some delicious burgers, some local craft brews, a bunch of games for adults looking to bring out their inner-youth and give it a new name. That’s exactly what restauranteur, Mike Tupa did to the old Tavern on The Ave.
The St. Paul Tap is the new name and if you’ve been to Mike’s other establishments, Wild Bill’s or The Smilin’ Moose, it has a very similar feel to it. Like walking into a reclaimed wood store (not a dig, love the look). On top of that, he brought in a bunch of awesome arcade games, old and new pinball games (including a rare gem you’ll have to see for yourself), TV’s for playing today’s hot console game systems (Xbox, PS whatever number they’re on and Nintendo), plus a bunch of other fun games and pool tables. A place where families could certainly show up together and a place that will be packed on weekend nights where mom and dad can get away for a date night.
Add to this fun environment, a menu that has a similar feel to Mike’s other establishments and a half-way decent local and non-local tap and beer list. You also have plenty of TV’s throughout the entire place to watch whatever team you cheer for that might be playing or the sport of your choice.
But enough about all that fun stuff for us youthful feeling adults, let’s talk about some grub. I had a few folks tell me that I had to get to the St. Paul Tap to check out their burgers and to do it at lunch time. Why lunch time, Build Your Own Burgers for just $7 bucks and you get a side of fries as well ($10 bucks at dinner time). You can’t beat that! But, for $7 bucks, was I about to receive a burger that would stereotypically fit that price point – pretty straight forward, nothing too exciting or would my experience be something completely different?
I went ahead and put my order in, using their paper checklist pad system and created the following; pink prepared burger, smoked gouda cheese, smoked bacon, chipotle aioli on a pub bun. So, was it a $7 buck burger? It was worth more than that! Burger was perfectly pink the way I wanted it, the smokiness of the cheese and bacon were super tasty, just the right amount of heat with the aioli and a grilled buttery pub bun. As for those fries, your typical pub skin-on-fries with a little seasoning – not overly exciting nor were they terrible.
Burgers aren’t your thing? Check out a pizza, some Mac N’ Cheese creations, maybe you just want an app or two, or maybe it’s a salad and soup that suits your fancy. I say go for the BYOB and maybe your creation will be a permanent menu item (I have no idea if that’s a thing they do, but hey, you never know). And, while you’re enjoying your burger, be a kid again! Play some video games and try to take down the top score on one of the pinball machines. Or, head upstairs and play some giant jenga and tic-tac-toe.
Honestly, I haven’t been a super huge fan of Mike’s other establishments (the culinary side), but I would definitely make return visits to the St. Paul Tap for more BYOB creations. There are several burger joints and 6 cities that separate myself from the Tap and for most of those, I would drive right past them. I dig the St. Paul Tap after just 5 days of being open and I hope they are successful and always busy. Well, not too busy, I’d like to selfishly be able to get a table without waiting too long!
St. Paul Tap
825 Jefferson Ave.
St. Paul, MN