You can pour your own beer at Northwest Austin’s Oz. Tap House – Entertainment & Life – Austin 360
You may not immediately notice what’s different about a new bar and restaurant, Oz. Tap House, now open in the River Place neighborhood on RM 2222 in northwest Austin. However, in the far corner there is a tap wall under the iPad screens where customers, not bartenders, can pour beer that sells by the ounce.
With Oz. (Pronounced “ounce”), Sean and Krista Kanter founded the first bar in Texas, if not in the country, to offer self-pour technology. Their fairly novel concept first opened its doors in February on the same day that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission approved a new interpretation of the code that would allow it to pour itself on a case-by-case basis, according to the Kanters.
The couple streamlined the process of ordering food and beer. Customers go to the host booth to connect their credit card to a radio frequency badge that they use to purchase beer or wine. They grab a glass – small tasters, snifter sizes, and pint glasses, among others – and pour as much or as little of the drink as they want. You can also order food at the host stand or at one of the three self-order kiosks.
If you can pour the beer yourself, you don’t have to wait for a bartender, especially during times of high volume, said Sean Kanter. The self-order kiosks along with the host booth also provide several places to order food, which at Oz. Is mostly burgers and salads.
“You can order food and beer if you want,” said Kanter. “You don’t have to call a bartender. So on a busy Friday night you always have 10 people pouring their own beers at will. This concept creates solutions for your standard restaurant.”
The cost of beers ranges from 37 cents an ounce to 98 cents an ounce, the latter for barrel-age offerings like Circle Brewing’s Whiskey Pig Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter. (No need to do the math: a 37-cent beer poured to the brim of a 16-ounce pint glass costs $ 5.92.) Each brew is from local beer makers, and they are on the keg divided by style like IPAs, wheat beers and lagers.
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Popular beer and cider taps among the 35’s include Zilker Brewings Parks & Recreation Pale Ale and Adelbert’s Pink Hibiscus Saison. The beers change regularly and you can keep up to date on the Oz. Tap the House website.
“The reason we (only offer Austin beer) is for professionals with 2.5 kids who love beer, like to go to breweries but have a life, have events with the kids and can’t really hop around the brewhouse,” said Kanter. “We bring everyone to a nice meeting point where they can actually try the local niche beers.”
For the Kanters, who have worked in the restaurant industry for 35 years, it was important to create “a nice meeting place” for the people in the Northwest Austin neighborhoods around 2222 and RM 620. The restaurant should be as family-friendly as the previous Salsas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina, with a closed playground in the beer garden with fairy lights, tables with umbrellas and lawn games.
And inside, near the tap wall, is a shuffleboard table and foosball. Three TVs can play any sports game you want to watch. The Kanters live about three minutes from Oz. and knew exactly what kind of bar concept the area needed.
“We used to come when it was salsas,” said Krista Kanter. “We sat outside on the patio for a drink and a meal and we loved that our kids had a jolly jump to play with so they were distracted and we had some time. Then when the time came we did went out of business, we thought wow this is a pretty good place and there isn’t much in this area that is family friendly- “
“- But beer-centric,” finished Sean Kanter.
Last summer, the Kanters organized a crowdfunding campaign by NextSeed to raise more money to open the restaurant. Then a business partner, the ophthalmologist Dr. John Odette to provide the necessary funding. He’s also helped the Kanters convince the TABC that self-pour technology is a good and safe idea, said Sean Kanter.
Oz. Tap House relies on the “WallTender” technology from Table Tap for the self-pour station. People who have never poured a beer in their lives can get a handle on it thanks to simple guidelines hanging on a board above the tap wall (tilt the glass to one side and pull the handle into yours as far as possible Direction). Do you need additional help? Just ask one of the servers.
According to Jeff Libby, founder of Table Tap, self-pour service offers several benefits to the restaurant that serves it.
“More than 20 percent of the beer poured behind the bar is never billed to a customer due to over-pouring,” he said. “Operators can dispose of practically all waste, as every ounce is billed to the customer. Not only does self-poured beer make the profitability of the keg systems profitable, it has also been shown to increase draw sales by more than 40 percent on average . “
The Kanters already want to open additional Oz locations. Tap House in Austin – Places that could use a family-oriented beer concept with a comprehensive menu.
The restaurant is located in the River Place Shopping Center at 10601 RM 2222. It is open every day, Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm. Please visit oztaphouse.com for more information.