New Salida business creates buzz

Is there anything better than having a dream come to fruition? That’s where Chris Bainbridge is currently living, in that bliss.

“Six years ago I had an idea for a taphouse. I had the business model, but I didn’t know how to implement it,” he said.

Then he learned about the iPourIt tap system. A system that enables the customer to be their own bartender.

“The theory is that it’s self-serve, so you can go at your own pace. You don’t need to rely on anyone else.”

The Taphouse has 40 taps serving a variety of beer styles and a few wines. Bainbridge said the beers will rotate seasonally, and he’s always up for recommendations.

Patrons entering the Taphouse are greeted by a staff member who checks IDs and gives each patron a card, similar to a hotel room key.

Customers can take the card, hold it up to the tap and pour the desired amount of their chosen beverage. Every card allows a maximum of 32 ounces to be poured, helping mitigate the age-old issue of over-serving.

Bainbridge explained that, if someone desired more than the set 32 ounces, they would need to be evaluated by a staff member before they could be cleared for another 32 ounces.

The Taphouse also sells canned mixed drinks and bottles of wine. What the Taphouse does not sell is whiskey or gin.

“You need to go next door to Wood’s (High Mountain Distillery) for that.”

The business officially opened Aug. 31, followed by a soft opening on Sept. 21 for their in-house restaurant, which will serve Korean barbecue and sushi. (See “Bon Vivant,” p. 10 for more information.)

Finding the perfect location proved to be one of the hardest initial obstacles in realizing the dream, Bainbridge said.

After his first option fell through, he was venting to a friend over lunch who said that Wanderlust Road shop owners Greg Walters and Terri Dunn were looking for rentals.

“I walked out of lunch and into Wanderlust. Shortly after, we had a lease on the building.”

Renovations began April 1, which included new wood floors, removing walls and adding a large patio beer garden.

“It still baffles me seeing it all done.”

Bainbridge said he wanted to keep the feel of the building, which is more than 100 years old.

“I couldn’t have asked for better landlords. They have been very supportive.”

His favorite part of the business? “The location. There is no better feeling than to be in downtown Salida and on the historic side of it.”

Kristine Bainbridge said at first she was a little skeptical about her husband’s plan for the taphouse.

“It turned out beautiful. I went from nervous at the idea to being excited.”

Kristine said she made suggestions to Chris about a few things but laughed and said, “He doesn’t listen to me.” She did choose the color of the bathrooms though.

“It’s a cool little place for people to come hang out and I’m excited about live music in the back,” she added.

While the pros of the new place are multiplying, the foreseeable downside is, “I find myself drinking a lot more,” Chris said, after pouring a beer at 10:30 a.m. (for a photo opp, but still, it had to be finished).

As the name suggests, the Taphouse is located at 146 W. First St. The Taphouse is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until at least midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.