A new tasting room set to open this weekend in Southold poses an answer to the age-old beer vs. wine debate: “how about both?”
North Fork Taps and Corks, which opens Sunday next to the Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Southold, will serve a variety of the two popular beverages — something less common in an area dotted with breweries and vineyards, according to one owner.
“It’s hard to find them together in the same spot,” said Bernadette Buckley, one of the four people behind the new business. “I’ve been trying to find a place myself to go to for that reason.”
After struggling to find a place where craft-beer lovers and wine aficionados can coexist peacefully, Buckley said she and her boyfriend, Kevin Brannigan, joined married duo Austin and Loann McDonnell to open their own.
The co-owners discovered the property in February — it had most recently been a real estate office, Ms. Buckley recalled — and jumped on it immediately. Their renovations are virtually finished, and they will open their doors to the public Sunday without a private soft opening.
They aim for their tasting room to be a locavore’s food & drink paradise: many of their selections will come from East End breweries, vineyards and farms.
“We want as much local as possible,” Mr. McDonnell said. “We want to encourage all North Fork businesses — we support them and they support us.”
[blankslate_pages id=”d54e4d5b65ef52″ type=”card” show_photo=”true” utm_content=””][/blankslate_pages]
The 12 taps will feature East End breweries such as Crooked Ladder Brewing Co. and Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead, Greenport Brewing Company, Montauk Brewing Company and Southampton Publick House.
Mr. McDonnell, who is originally from Ireland, also promises he will offer “the best pint of Guinness on the North Fork.”
For wines, Ms. Buckley said she will first offer from Pugliese Vineyards, Castello di Borghese Vineyard, Sparkling Pointe and Vineyard 48, though she hopes to add to that list.
Both the beers and wines will be rotated to include seasonal offerings and to meet customer demand.
“I want it to be fun and playful,” Mr. McDonnell said. “People are really into these new beers.”
Ms. Buckley said she hopes the location — in front of a Hampton Jitney stop and just southwest of the Southold Long Island Railroad station — brings in substantial foot traffic.
Although North Fork Taps and Corks does not have a kitchen, it will offer a variety of snacks, including local chocolate and cheeses, after a week or two of operation.
The inside of the tasting room is cozy and rustic, complete with tea candles on every high-top table and an oak bar handmade by Mr. Brannigan. If they choose, guests can climb the stairs to a second-story loft that overlooks the bar.
“I’ve always said this of any place I work: I want to make it feel like you’re in my living room,” Mr. McDonnell said.