The original location of Max Taps Co. survived 2020, a feat that shaped founder Dave Gardner’s outlook on opening a second taproom.
“If we can make it through that, with nobody allowed in a bar, it seems like we should be able to pull this off,” Gardner said of the company’s expansion to Centennial.
The new location, near the intersection of East Arapahoe Road and South Lima Street, opened in February and has 63 Colorado beers and four Colorado wines on tap. Customers can catch a game while seated at the 31-foot-long bar or watch dusk fall over Pikes Peak, Longs Peak and everything in between from the spacious, dog-friendly patio that hugs the building.
A fan of variety, Gardner said the cuisine offered outside his tap houses is always changing. A different food truck is available almost every night of the week. Tacos one evening, pierogies the next. Then gyros, schnitzel, sliders …
“If you were to come multiple times, you’d have a different experience,” Gardner said. “You get some barbecue with a nice pilsner or pizza with an IPA and it’s completely different.”
The beer at Max Taps rotates as well. When one beer runs out, it’s replaced with a similar-style beer from a different brewery.
“We have roughly the same amount of styles on tap, but we always switch it up,” Gardner said.
Gardner and his wife Shelly opened Max Taps’ first location in Highlands Ranch — where they live — in 2017.
Gardner said he truly appreciates the community. Its support sustained the business during the “terrifying” closure of dine-in restaurants and bars at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We just love this industry so much, and we’ve had such a good experience at the other location (in Highlands Ranch),” he said.
But to his surprise, opening their second location was just as hard as opening the original, Gardner said. He knew how to steer clear of the problems he encountered the first time around, but every situation comes with its own set of challenges.
For example, cold, snowy, don’t-want-to-leave-the-house weather hit the Front Range each of the first six weekends following the Centennial location’s opening. It put a damper on business.
But like getting married, having a child, or buying a house, Gardner said there’s no perfect time to expand.
“If the right opportunity presents itself, then you should take it,” he said. “… If it’s something you want, there’s only one way to make it happen.”
The space in Centennial — already outfitted with a cooler, bar and gorgeous views — was too good to pass up, Gardner said.
Fortunately, the days are getting longer and warmer.
“Once it’s sunny and nice out, people just absolutely love the patio,” Gardner said.
With spring inching toward summer, Gardner’s working to make outdoor time even more enjoyable for his customers. Starting in May, Max Taps Centennial will feature live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
“When the weather’s really nice and I see people starting to sit on that patio, it makes me really happy that we decided to do this.”