Somerville has had a banner year in terms of new restaurants and bars (hello, Bow Market, Celeste, and Dakzen), and 2019 is picking up where 2018 left off with yet another arrival: Elm Street Taproom.
The bar, which is owned by Hawkeye Hospitality’s Dylan Welsh, will open in the old Joshua Tree space on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Welsh also owns Worden Hall in Southie and Five Horses Tavern, which has locations in Davis Square and the South End.
“[Elm Street Taproom] is close to my first restaurant, which was my starting point,” said Welsh, referring to Five Horses. “I live a half mile from here and call Davis Square home. It’s cool to bring a neighborhood option here.”
Elm Street will offer 40 draft lines and 24 bottles, with a mix of local, national, and global beers available and a large focus on craft beers. For those who love a challenge, the bar will have a mug club — the first in Davis Square, according to Welsh. The rules are simple, but gluttonous: After drinking all 64 beers on the menu (not at one time!), imbibers will be awarded one of the 200 22-ounce mugs that hang over the bar, from which they then can drink any draft beer for the price of a regular pour.
“We had a customized app designed, which lets you see the current draft list and pick and choose which draft you want to try,” said Welsh, explaining that this lets customers keep track of which beers they’ve ordered. “I’ve always wanted to have a mug club. I think it’s a cool asset.”
As for the food, everything on the menu is meant for sharing, and is divided into snacks, shares, and sandwiches for maximum sampling potential, Welsh said.
“We tried to keep the food menu a little smaller this time around [compared to] Five Horses and Worden Hall, ” he said. “At this location, we’re moving way from the entrées. I think the restaurant scene and the way people are eating out is heading in a different direction. Now, people like to experience different things on the menu.”
In addition to steak and mashed potatoes — deconstructed for a more shareable experience, Welsh explained — there will be homemade onion rings, whipped feta served with Ritz crackers, Kung Pao duck, seven-layer dip, and nachos, along with a four-ounce skinny burger patty, allowing people to double and triple their patty orders.
While the 122-seat taproom will launch with lunch and dinner, Welsh said he hopes that brunch is in the future, perhaps with a DJ.
Elm Street Taproom, 256 Elm St.; Mondays–Sundays from 11:30 a.m.–1 a.m.; elmstreettaproom.com