I've been buddies with them on Twitter for a while but never had the chance to visit the place. I must admit, I kinda jumped into the place head first, having heard nothing good or bad from anyone I knew. What I did know, is that they were the ONLY place I knew of that had the new Guinness 250 beer on tap on the release day. A 20 minute drive for me, I'm on the faaaar northwest side, but for those in the main areas of San Antonio, it's quite convenient.
The joint isn't at all pretensious. Step inside and you'll see a twist of old school natural pub-style wood trims and touches of modern architecture. Not old enough to give you the uncomforatable feeling of walking into a dive, and not too modern to make you feel like you should have dressed for the club. Perhaps the best feature of any service establishment is the quality if their employees. At the Tap Exchange, you'll find most of the staff consists of colorful, hospitable, no BS characters from the North East United States, the Boston area to be more precise. They are never afriad to strike conversations with their patrons, and have a deep passion for the brews of the world. One of the bartenders spoke with me last night, and to paraphrase him, he said, "If I could get someone to try a new beer, educate them and have them understand the flavors everday, I'd be a happy man." You won't find people with that kind of passion for flavor in this town. Hearing what he said made me feel as if I wasn't alone in a city that virtually only understands tacos and tamales.
If you want to catch them online, visit them at TheTapExchange.com, which I think misrepresents the establishment, as it wears a design that gives the impression of a trendy lounge when it's really more comfortable and down-to-earth. They also have a blog on wordpress at TheTapExchange.wordpress.com, feel free to check it out and stay updated on their thoughts, events, and features.
By the way, I think I'll stop by today for dinner and try the food. After a talk with the bartenders about their chefs, culinary capabilites, and ingredients they keep on hand, I am VERY intrigued to see what they serve up! I'll be posting up the update on this blog posting with the food review when I experience their dishes for myself :)
So do yourself a favor and be adventerous. Experience the world without even leaving the city! Discover the culture, hard work, and native ingredients in every pint of beer from far away places. You just might find something you really enjoy, and you'll never look at a bud light the same way again.