A new self-pour taphouse located across the street from the main gates at Nationals Park hosted its first customers in Navy Yard on Sunday, August 8. Situated at 1250 Half Street SE, Tap99 offers 99 options for draft beer, seltzer, cider, wines, cocktails, and kombucha in a 2,800-square-foot space.
Beers will rotate in on a seasonal basis, and general manager Todd Greene says the majority will come from local breweries such as Right Proper, DC Brau, Manor Hill in Ellicott City, Maryland, and Port City in Alexandria, Virginia. Other domestic options will come from cities as far as San Diego and Denver. “We want to offer the macro/national beers people are familiar with, but to really promote all the fantastic local alternatives as well,” Greene says.
Just down the street from Tap99, Walter’s Sports Bar has a self-pour system with 24 draft lines, but diners there can also order drinks from a bar, which isn’t an option at the new bar nearby. Tap99 owner Jason Cherry says customers can hand over a credit card or swipe one themselves to get a keycard fob that keeps track of pours by the ounce.
Cherry, an Annapolis native who owns three Mission Escape Rooms in Maryland, invested in a brick pizza oven from Marra Forni that will fire neo-Neapolitan pizzas at 680 degrees. The lower temperature results in a longer cook and crispier crust than a traditional Neapolitan pie, producing random pockets of air. Cherry, who is also the franchisee behind the new Kilwins ice cream shop next-door, worked with a consultant to finalize the menu and recently hired Eduardo Casarrubias to lead the kitchen.
There will be six to eight types of pizza, ranging from a meat lovers option to a sautéed mushroom puree and onion pizza. Wings come with sauces ranging from creamy to spicy. Shareable plates include Buffalo shrimp with a coating of maple syrup, tuna poke nachos, and beer-battered cauliflower. One of the heartier plates is a drunken steak that’s marinated in pale ale and “secret ingredients,” Cherry says, before it gets a quick sear.
Cherry says the mission behind Tap99 is to “bring people together one ounce at a time.” So, tables are intentionally long and communal. “After the year we’ve experienced, we just want everyone to leave feeling a little better than when they came in,” Cherry says.