St. John Brewers announces the opening of the Tap Room, its new bar, restaurant and brewery at Mongoose Junction. The reopening comes after a three-year-long renovation process following a devastating fire, further delayed due to hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The new Tap Room, located on the second floor of Mongoose Junction and built by renowned architect Glen Speer, is fully air-conditioned. It offers ample indoor and patio seating, a wide bar made partially from the old Tap Room bar that was in place during the January 2015 fire, tables hand-crafted by St. Thomas’ non-profit My Brother’s Workshop, an expanded kitchen with new menu offerings, wide-screen televisions, and a full brewing operation on the bar and restaurant’s second floor. St. John Brewers’ beers and sodas will be brewed and served on draft. The brewing setup will be open for tours.
St. John Brewers, founded by Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman in 2004, has successfully operated the Tap Room since 2006. The duo’s company steadily grew, and they expanded their offerings from their original Tropical Mango Pale Ale to include Island Summer Ale, Island Hoppin’ IPA beers, root beer, ginger beer and a Green Flash energy drink. All were brewed both on site and in conjunction with an off-island production partner.
The Tap Room was enjoying success as a well-established brew pub when the 2015 fire destroyed the popular bar and restaurant. Seven weeks after the fire, the Tap Room reopened in the former St. John Brewers office; they’ve operated there ever since while working on the buildout of their new space.
The hurricanes, which destroyed the homes of St. John Brewers owners and staff, brought work to a halt. In the wake of the storms, the company hosted free happy hours on Fridays, giving the community a chance to connect, take their minds off the devastation and simply enjoy a cold beer at the end of the day.
Before the storms hit, the Tap Room was slated to open in late 2017. Though the bar and restaurant only suffered minimal water damage, it took another several months before finishing touches could be completed and the new brewpub could be opened to patrons.
The Tap Room’s five-barrel brewing system is visible to patrons at the bar below, and it will allow the owners to brew more styles and a larger volume of beer, served directly to customers on draft. Outdoor patio seating will continue to be available; the expanded space will lend itself to live entertainment and events; and, of course, Mongoose Junction offers plenty of free parking for customers.
The Tap Room menu’s entree offerings will be expanded, and a stone pizza oven will allow for a variety of pizzas to be served. St. John Brewers will also be offering crowlers — 32-ounce cans that can be filled with any of the Tap Room’s draft beers and sealed for customers to take to the beach.
The owners plan to host a grand opening reception at the new Tap Room for local dignitaries and community members alike on a later date, to be announced soon. Follow St. John Brewers on Facebook for the latest news on the island brewing company.
PHOTO CAPTION: St. John Brewers founders Chirag “Cheech” Vyas and Kevin Chipman with Tap Room manager Tim Hanley showcasing the new brewing system at The Tap Room, Mongoose Junction.