The ‘new home for craft beer in Southwark’ will be a place for people to enjoy some of the best and freshest ales in the area, some delicious Cuban food or take part in quizzes and competitions. The Tap In is set to open this summer.
We caught up with Sebastian O’Driscoll, co-founder of The Tap In, to find out more…
Who is the team behind The Tap In?
It all started in 2015 when I made the decision to quit my job in the charity sector and started Six Yard Box in The Artworks. In the October, Eoin O’Flynn came on as a partner – he’d moved back to London after running bars in Australia for three years. We knew each other from school back in Cork, Ireland. The final partner, Harry, came on board in 2017 as a bartender and worked his way up in the business.
Tell us more about your journey from Six Yard Box to the opening of The Tap In.
Six Yard Box started in January 2015. We did our first pop-up bar at an outdoor screening in Kennington, in June 2016, and have done many more since. In 2018, we opened Hop Art, a bottleshop and taproom with the emphasis on craft beer. Our intention with The Tap In is to fuse elements of Six Yard Box and Hop Art into a unique space for lovers of craft beer.
What will people experience when they walk into The Tap In?
We want our bar to be fun, quirky and full of energy. We’re aiming to make The Tap In a space that is enjoyable and accessible to everyone.
Beer-wise, we are second to none. We have 20 draught beer lines serving the best craft beers, primarily from London. We also boast more than 200 canned and bottled beers, as well as an excellent wine, spirit and soft drink menu. Our coffee comes from Monmouth, a place that we love and our kitchen is run by Jama Havana, which serves incredible Cuban-inspired food and was previously based at Mercato Metropolitano. Its menu includes traditional Cubano sandwiches, as well as off-the-wall specials.
Six Yard Box, which began life in a shipping container within The Artworks, always placed in the Timeout Love London Awards so, we hope, with the new space and the experience we have, we can build somewhere really special with The Tap In.
How did being in The Artworks help your business?
It gave me my start. It was low cost and we were left to develop our own concept independently. Despite a lack cohesive identity at first, it ultimately allowed our company to create its own brand and its own following. It was a safe place to try things and learn from any failures, which meant that by the time we set up Hop Art and went to move on to the bigger places, we had found our business feet and were much more knowledgeable about our brand.
What other events and activities will be on offer at The Tap In?
The Tap In will be action-packed and full of things to do. Aside from the great beer and food on offer, we plan to run film screenings, themed quizzes, and are looking at video game nights too. We also plan to run events such as the recent highly successful Sour Beer night with Brick Brewery a few months ago, food and beer pairing nights, and pop culture reference nights.
How would you describe The Tap In in three words?
Colourful. Fun. Offbeat.
Why did you choose Elephant and Castle?
I’ve been living in South London since 2009 and have come to know Elephant and Castle well in that time. Whether I was living in Battersea or Peckham, I always seemed to travel through Elephant and Castle, and always felt it was an area with a lot of potential. I also needed somewhere that was accessible for customers coming from further afield, the area is so well connected and easy to get to.
When I saw the Elephant Park regeneration project, I was excited by the larger plans for the whole area. Being part of Elephant Park through The Artworks has given us the chance to stay at the heart of the community. We were impressed by the spaces on offer and the community building that Lendlease is planning for the Walworth Square area.
How would you describe the food and drink scene in Elephant and Castle?
I would describe it as incredibly eclectic yet very underrated. It’s a real melting pot for food and drink, and being able to spend so much time here has allowed me to try things I never imagined. The Latin food scene is well-known and incredible but equally there is amazing food from every nook and cranny of the world here.
Where would you go for a night out in Elephant and Castle?
There are too many good places for just one night. I really like Mercato Metropolitano if I just feel like going to one place. Among my favourite restaurants are CheeMc (Korean) or Paladar (Latin). There’s a new wine bar that has opened recently called Diogenes the Dog that is fantastic. I think the area is missing the old Artworks tenants but once we and other places like KOI Ramen open, I think it will have a big impact.
Where do you see Elephant and Castle in five years time?
While all the change is great, there is a real community within Elephant and Castle that we’ve been lucky to be a part of for the past four years. Over the next five years, I see that community thriving and growing with all the great new businesses and neighbours moving in – it’s a really exciting time for Elephant and Castle.
Make sure you check out The Tap In when it opens later this year. Keep an eye on their page for the latest updates. If you’re interested in retail space for your business within Elephant Park, we’d love to hear from you. See here for more details.