Of all the things to turn into a bar, a 1930s butcher’s shop has got to be at the top of the list. Beer, meat, and cheese are the holy trinity of manly feasts, and The Butcher’s Tap on Southport Avenue certainly has its saintly priorities straight. With 60 – are you kidding me? – 60 beers on draft, an enormous selection of artisan deli meats and cheeses, and 25 TVs to catch the game, B. Taps is a portal to your past life – the one where you own the town’s best meat shop and have the sickest swirly mustache.
The first floor is woody and warm in tawny light, with brick walls and a patterned tin ceiling. Pile in with your friends at the lengthy, lacquered bar (the better to see all of the schnazzy taps before you, my dears). Start your tasting session with a 3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides I.P.A. Very hoppy and bitey, it’s a working man’s beer if there ever was one. Then, work your way to the Ale Asylum Ambergeddon, a Wisconsin brew that keeps the malt coming with a biscuity amber sweetness.
Before you fill up on suds, act ultra-macho when you call over the barkeep and order a butcher board with five meats and cheeses, like Smoking Goose soppressata, Saxon’s Big Ed’s Gouda, and Capriole goat cheese. Served straight up on a slab of wood, all you gotta do is let your fingers do the walking. Or, if you’re the most daring among your amigos (and we know you are), wrap your mitts around a custom sandwich with up to three meats and two cheeses from the extended list of 19 in all. Two words: jowl bacon.
Soon, the butcher himself sidles up and mentions that the house sandwiches are engineered for maximum flavor impact. Not one to turn down a sammie, you go with the big Al to split among your friends. It’s bacon, pulled pork belly, caramelized onions, pickled red onions, and Jameson BBQ – almost too messy for two hands alone. How generous of you to share. It’s that kind of behavior that got this country through the ’30s – good ol’ American generosity. And the freedom of choice among all the proteins and brews you just demolished is nothing short of patriotic. God bless The Butcher’s Tap, and God bless America.