An alleyway just off the square is slowly coming alive, thanks to its newest beer-centric resident, Tap It Gainesville Growlers.
The business recently packed up its large assortment of craft beer and wine from its Thompson Bridge Road location and moved to a brick building at 110 Maple St. Jim Tortorelli, owner of Tap It, said he plans to hold a soft opening sometime next week.
Tortorelli said he purchased the spot a year ago with the intention of adding apartments to the second floor. The two rooms on the top level are currently being rented as Airbnb spaces.
“I thought it was really interesting,” Tortorelli said while looking down at the stretch of alley. “It was an old beat up brick building that had never seen any activity since around 1999.”
Tortorelli said he originally was going to accommodate a furniture company on the ground floor, but the deal fell through. Seeing the potential of the brick building and nearing the end of his lease with the Thompson Bridge shop, he decided to bring his business to downtown Gainesville.
“It kind of has that alley feel, not so much a speakeasy, but a hidden place where you can go and have a couple of drinks, relax, then go home,” Tortorelli said.
The 2,600-square-foot space includes a bar on its left wall with 30 brews on tap, mostly from Georgia breweries. Unlike the former location, Tortorelli said this spot will have two nitrogenated beers on tap, including a Guinness Irish dry stout.
A large wine rack covers most of the wall on the right side of the shop, and most of the open space is already filled with seats and tables. Tortorelli said the beer shop has a 70-person capacity inside.
Toward the back, people can find an area with Big Green Eggs and bird seed for sale, as well as fridges full of canned beer to buy and take home.
For phase two of the renovations, Tortorelli said he plans to install artificial turf and create a patio in the open outdoor space to the right of the entrance. He also intends to build steps leading to the top of the building to offer a rooftop hangout space.
In around a week, Tortorelli said the alley will awaken with string lights and a mural from Fox Gradin, the artist who painted the skateboard installation at the Gainesville Skate Park. The painting will cover a large trash bin with the image of a rooster to pay homage to the city.
Patrons of Tap It will be able to park their cars on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays in the lot on the corner of Washington and Maple streets.For updates on Tap It’s renovations, visit the shop’s Facebook page.