Finding your groove in the Austin restaurant scene is a challenge. With hundreds of amazing eateries slinging booze and food, aspiring businesses need a unique hook to stand out from the crowd. Enter Oz. Tap House, northwest Austin’s newest beer garden. By combining a state-of-the-art self-service tap wall with a rock star menu of pub favorites, this Four Points spot is poised to become a neighborhood favorite.
My recent visit took place during a friends and family soft opening. As a result, presentation, menu, and process may change after this article. Drinks were comped as part of the event, but all opinions are my own.
New Way to Pour
The only tap system of its kind in Texas, all beer and wine is self-serve at a huge tap wall. Upon entering, guests visit a host stand where IDs are checked and RFID cards are handed out. These cards are your ticket to the food and beverage options within Oz. Tap House.
As of this writing, Oz. features 100 percent Texas beer, most of which comes from Austin. From classics like Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap to rarities like Circle Brewing Co. Whiskey Pig BBA Imperial Porter, there’s a ton of variety. Six wine taps make an appearance, while coffee and bottled soda is available for non-drinkers.
Getting a beer is easy. Grab a glass from the bottom shelf; pick a beer; insert your card; and pour away with the gusto of your favorite bartender. Everything is priced by the ounce, with prices displayed on a small touchscreen above the tap handle. At first, I had trouble figuring out a what a pint of IPA would cost at $.75 an ounce, but I quickly got used to it.
This freedom allows guests to drink as much or as little as they like, including flights. Grabbing three ounces of the aforementioned Whiskey Pig was a great alternative to the standard 8-ounce pour. And if you’re curious about what a Hibiscus Saison is all about, you can ask a staff member or check out the on-demand tasting notes on the touch screen.
Oz. Tap House Bites and Eats
The Oz. Tap House menu consists of farm to table burgers, salads, and entrees, all with a twist. My wife and I tried the classic Oz. House burger and walked away impressed. The all-beef patty was a perfectly cooked medium, while the condiment stack was crisp, fresh, and tasty. Add to the mix some crisp, well-seasoned curly fries, and we were left in a happy burger coma.
On the bites side of the menu, I sampled the street taco entree. Of the trio I ordered (steak, fried avocado, chicken), the poultry reigned supreme. Dressed with an avocado jalapeño aioli and peppered with cotija cheese, pickled red onion, cabbage, and cilantro, the taco burst with authentic flavor.
Far from basic, the menu also features delightfully off-center concoctions like the Ubër burger (Swiss, ale-soaked sauerkraut, grilled onions, roasted apples, caraway and fennel aioli) and a fried avocado salad. You can also snag a legit charcuterie, gulf shrimp burger, and chicken strip plate my son absolutely devoured.
Ordering is as easy as pouring. Self-service kiosks will be installed around the restaurant, allowing you to order straight from the card. The team promises an phone app for ordering in the near future.
Destined to Become a Neighborhood Favorite
Speaking of kiddos, Oz. Tap House has the entire family in mind. From the fenced-in playscape to indoor games like foosball and shuffleboard, kids will be entertained while you pour another pint. Televisions dot the back wall, making the space a prime spot for watching sports and other meetups.
And, in the end, that’s what Oz. Tap House aims to be. A neighborhood spot where locals become friends over good food and fine beer. With more than clever gimmicks, the friendly staff and convenient design of this new beer garden promise to bring fresh flavor to the Four Points area. Grab a seat, pour yourself a beer, and enjoy.
10601 Ranch Road 2222, Ste. H – Website
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Have you ever experienced a self-service beer garden? If so, then share your story!