A familiar beer shop will start pouring just off the square this month.
Tap It Gainesville Growlers announced its plans to pack up its kegs and bottles and move from Thompson Bridge Road to downtown.
Jim Tortorelli, owner of Tap It, said the new space will be located at 110 Maple St., which he purchased a few months ago. The beer shop will officially close its original business on Sunday, March 14, and open in the new space for St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, March 17.
Tortorelli said the decision to change the homebase of Tap It was prompted by his lease reaching an end and the building’s owner not wanting to sell the location to him.
“My lease came up on Thompson Bridge, and it just made sense that I could move it over to my building,” he said.
The second floor of the Maple Street spot is currently being used as apartment space. Tortorelli said Tap It will take up the bottom level, which encompasses 2,600 square feet. He said the first floor was originally going to accommodate a furniture company, but the deal fell through.
Tortorelli assures people the new location will serve the same rotating selection of craft beer and wine and will still sell Big Green Eggs and birdseed.
Instead of having Food Truck Fridays, the owner said Tap It will welcome its customers to eat food inside the business from restaurants on the square.
“We want to make it so anyone from Scott’s, Luna’s or Avocados can bring food right in,” Tortorelli said.
For the past 20 years, Tortorelli said the Maple Street building had been unoccupied. Back in the day, he said the space used to serve as a pool hall. Now that he’s invested in the stretch of street, Tortorelli said he hopes to help revitalize the alley by stringing lights in the area, transforming the top of his building into a rooftop hangout and potentially installing cobblestones in the street.
“It’s a beat up alley with dumpsters,” he said. “We're working hard with our neighbors and the city to come up with a solution to clean things up.”
When Tap It settles into its new home, it will be the second business on the square that focuses on craft beer and wine. Downtown Drafts has been serving up brews on the corner of Spring Street and Bradford Street for more than six years.
“Healthy competition is always good for the consumer, and it only serves to make your business stronger,” Aimee Hoecker, co-owner of Downtown Drafts, said. “We look forward to welcoming Tap It’s customers to downtown.”
Tortorelli said he isn’t worried about competition and is excited to be downtown and help boost restaurants’ business.
“We’re still going to offer great beer and great wine and have a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s going to be good.”