“We are a serious craft beer bar where we know our beer, but we don't want to eliminate people that don't know beer. We want to be inviting folks and teach them about it.
I’m Matt Hardenstein and I'm Shannon McGinley and we own Taplands! What inspired us to start the business is a story I tell kind of a lot. We moved from San Francisco m after the birth of our second child and we were really avid beer nerds and home brewers. We found that in the South Bay, although the weather was better, there were fewer places for us to be able to grab a good beer outside where children were welcome. That was really the primary inspiration for starting Taplands.
We're located here in the old quad Franklin Square of Santa Clara near Santa Clara University. It's a great location because we have both students and a local community that we support. The whole idea is just to have a place for folks to come and learn about craft beer and be able to explore different styles. I have a little game that I used to play with customers who say they don't like beer. I would tell them, “Tell me three things you like. It could be anything. It could be walking on the beach, the color pink, and puppies”, and I can tell you a beer that you'll like. I'm about eighty percent accurate of people who swear they won't like anything.
One of my favorite things about Taplands, especially when we first started, is the neighbors in the area. People here have been neighbors for years but they've never met each other. They actually came to Taplands and met each other and now they're friends!
We designed taplands to be warm and friendly. We used natural elements to reclaim wood as much as possible. We built the bar so it looks like a bowling alley. We wanted it to be fun. The most important part of the design of Taplands is the mural that's inside. There's sections of it that represent Santa Clara Valley, South Bay with the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the fog coming in. There’s also the story of Santa Clara with the mission. Our goal was to create an environment where people were comfortable and felt like they could learn about craft beer.
We quickly realized that it really is a community and the beer is what brings people to Taplands. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!”