International Tap House brings 300 beers (and bourbon) to East Main Street

International Tap House exterior

St. Louis-based International Tap House is now open on East Main. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

With around 250 bottles and cans, plus 49 taps, International Tap House, now open on East Main Street in the Main & Clay building, is poised to keep Louisville beer enthusiasts engaged for the long haul.

It’s the sixth location for the St. Louis-based chain, which has been operating for 10 years. The bar quietly opened last week.

The roughly 2,500-square-foot space features a pair of bay doors, a bar that seats 16, several communal tables, a few four-tops and some central tables made from Schlafly-branded beer barrels — Schlafly, of course, a St. Louis brand brewed by the St. Louis Brewery. Outside seating also is available.

In addition, nine TVs line the tops of the walls around the bar and other parts of the taproom.

Beer Program Director Jon Whitaker said the focus of the menu is American craft beer, particularly the draft program, but roughly 40% of the bottles and cans are classic import brands, from Samuel Smith to Ayinger to Kronenbourg.

The 49 taps pour 45 beers, plus four draft cocktails, all of which are constantly rotating. On a recent visit, several local beers were on tap from Monnik Beer Co., Falls City Brewing Co., Apocalypse Brew Works and others.

International Tap House interior

The roughly 2,500-square-foot taproom features a variety of seating options and nine TVs. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

The rest of the list ranged from staples like Bell’s Two Hearted Ale to beers one doesn’t find in the wild quite as often, such as New Belgium Brewing’s La Folie, a sour brown ale, and Goose Island Brewing’s Sofie, a Belgian-style saison aged in wine barrels.

In addition, International Tap House, or iTap, also carries a selection of wines and roughly 80 bourbons, which are available neat or on the rocks.

“That’s part and parcel of opening a bar in Louisville,” Whitaker said.

The draft beer list is written in chalk on a wall by the bar, while binders hold the guide to the bottles and cans, as well as wine and bourbon lists.

There’s also a 10-page style guide with headings like “Dark Beers Aren’t Scary,” a page-long history of beer and a “cheat sheet” that offers suggestions for those new to craft beer.

While sports channels flicker overhead, classic rock fills the room. During a brief visit, songs by Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne and Van Halen came through the speakers.

Visitors may be surprised to learn there is no food service at International Tap, but Whitaker said customers are welcome to bring in their own.

Keeping local beers on tap will be a focus, and the extensive bourbon selection is unique to the Louisville location.

“We’re cognizant of the city we’re going into and the neighborhood,” he said. “All of our bars are going to have the feel of an iTap, but they’re different entities.”

International Tap is directly across the street from Goodwood Brewing and just past the Interstate 65 overpass from Against the Grain, putting it just a few blocks from the heart of Whiskey Row. In addition, the taproom’s location, essentially straddling the corridor between Butchertown and NuLu, will be advantageous when Louisville City FC begins playing its home matches nearby at the new soccer stadium.

“The market was good for us,” Whitaker said. “There’s potential for growth, especially in this neighborhood.”

International Tap House, located at 637 E. Main St., opens Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m., Friday at noon, Saturday at 11 a.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Closing times are not yet posted. Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and daily specials are available every day but Friday and Saturday, such as $1 off local beers on Tuesdays and $4 select pints on Sundays. Look for special events like trivia nights coming soon.