Friday March 22, 2013 | 08:30 AM
Posted by In the City

The paper signs went up in the windows and the work began inside the 106 High St. location back in January. Now General Manager Lee Goyette is ready to unveil the Little Tap House to Portland's Arts District neighborhood.

The gastro pub officially opens at 5 p.m. today with 14 taps that will pour beers made from local breweries like Allagash, Sebago, Rising Tide and Oxbow. Two of the taps will be dedicated to stouts and customers can expect craft-brew imports from Europe.

"We're not beer geeks, we're just beer lovers," says Goyette, who was a partner at J.P. Thornton's in South Portland until 2008.

The space was most recently filled by Plush West End, which closed late last year. Before that the location was the long-time space of Katahdin Restaurant, which is now located on Forest Avenue.


The High Street space has been built out to include table seating for about 50 with another 10-12 seats at the bar. Little Tap House hours are currently from happy hour to midnight but Goyette plans to add a Saturday and Sunday brunch menu (8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) within a couple weeks.

Bar Manager Mark Ohlson will serve "innovative" cocktails made with simple ingredients and housemade simple syrups. The cocktail list is short - just six options - but includes drinks like the Serrated Spoon (citrus, vodka, herbs; pictured below) and the Distillery Fire (pecan simple syrup, bourbon, smoke).

The wine list will begin with selections from Chile and Argentina. By summer Ohlson expects the options to change to another region.

Executive Chef Andrew Kadish is in charge of the menu, which he describes as "approachable" and as local as possible.

"We just want it to be a nice, local place," Kadish said. He thinks Portland lacks places where patrons can drop in for a couple beers and a plate of food and "just enjoy themselves."

Rather than the mug clubs popular at many other city drinking spots, Little Tap House will feature a Secret Beer Society beginning in April. The only part of the secret Goyette is willing to give out at this point is that to become a member folks will first be encouraged to become a "Friend of Little Tap House." Those "Friends" may also have some say in what beers fill the taps.

"There's been so much energy," Goyette says. "People have been knocking on the windows.

"It will be a place to hang out and get honest food of good quality."

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Karen Beaudoin is an online editor for Maine Today Media and contributes two blogs to the company's websites.

In the City tells readers what to know if they want to know Portland. Pedal On offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

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