Fat Tap Beer Bar to Reopen With New Safety Precautions
By Joe Pye
The Oakland Park gastropub and bottle shop’s owner has gone above government guidelines.
After two months of focusing on to-go sales only, Fat Tap Beer Bar and Eatery is opening its doors for onsite consumption tomorrow.
Fat Tap’s owner, Rob Robayna, has been researching and working on what he feels will be the best ways to make customers feel safe in the 2,000 sq. ft. gastropub. What normally fits 78 patrons indoors will only have seating for 30.
This week, Robayna is installing clear partitioners to separate guests. Fat Tap has already put in hand sanitizer stations, disposable menus and utensils, two 50-inch menu boards, touchless pay, and the most interesting – UV lighting in the air conditioning.
“Is [UV light] the solution to everything? No,” Robayna told Broward Beer. “But if I spend a few hundred bucks to make somebody feel more comfortable, why not?”
No rule book
Over the weekend, Robayna and several brewery taproom managers told Broward Beer that government guidelines for reopening haven’t been specific.
The only real suggestions have been to cut down to half the normal capacity indoors and to keep as much dining outdoors as possible, according to multiple sources. Robayna has been in talks with other restaurant owners for best-operating procedures.
Some establishments will require temperature checks of both employees and customers. Robayna plans to only check Fat Tap employee temperatures.
Others disagree on making masks mandatory. Fat Tap will require guests to wear masks throughout the gastropub unless at a table to eat and drink.
“It just feels like everyone’s on their own,” Robayna said. “There are tons of suggestions, but there’s no rule book.”
Things may change
The Fat Tap staff is hopeful for this week and has high expectations. Robayna does feel reopening may need to be adjusted depending on how customers react.
He says there’s always a concern with people and alcohol. There is also a concern about how some people react to the restrictions.
“Some interesting situations may come up,” Robayna said. “People have different views of what this virus is and what it means to the community.”
Fat Tap is adding to its outdoor seating. There are currently four picnic tables out front. They’re adding an additional four and two more on the side.
Takeout will remain a focus for guests who aren’t ready to eat and drink onsite. The biggest concern for Robayna is for customers to feel comfortable.
“We’re going to open our doors and see what happens,” Robayna said. “It’s going to be interesting as a business owner to tackle some of things as they come up.”