For two long years, a light box sign reading “12 Taps coming soon” tantalised passers-by from the windowsill of an empty shopfront on the corner of Marrickville and Victoria roads in Marrickville. Now, Marco Vargas, Brock Vanzino and Byron Lotz have been able to remove that sign and finally declare their taproom, 12 Taps Marrickville, open. Both Vargas and Lotz are also co-owners of Enmore’s cooperative brewery and beer bar Hopsters.
“[Marrickville] has always been our first choice; it’s the craft beer capital and we all live locally,” Vargas tells Broadsheet, adding the opening follows the simultaneous closure of their other 12 Taps bars in Glebe and Kings Cross.
As its name suggests, the bar has 12 taps, each reserved for a different style of beer, whether that’s an IPA, XPA, ginger beer, sour, dark beer and so on. But the bar isn’t pouring just any craft beer – look closely at the taps and the black bar front covered in beer-tap badges, and you’ll find they’re spruiking breweries you won’t find most other places, such as Riverside Brewing, Reckless Brewing, Lord Howe Island Brewing Co and Quakers Hat Brewing.
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“Our focus is to connect beer drinkers with beer-makers and give a chance to the small local, regional, interstate and gypsy brewers,” Vargas says, pointing out that most are from New South Wales. “We’re about supporting the small guys. We also want to help people to discover new beers.”
There are also wines and spirits for non-beer-drinkers.
On the food front, 12 Taps has partnered with next-door neighbour Baby Rey’s Burgers. Patrons are encouraged to order their food from QR codes, and when the order is ready it will be delivered straight to their table.
For something more snacky, there’s handmade Peruvian-style baked empanadas supplied by Vargas’s own business, Cholito Empanadas, which he started during Covid. On offer are 11 different fillings including aji de gallina (shredded chicken in mild curry sauce), lomo saltado (sliced steak) and traditional ground beef with olives and egg – all of which Vargas says are considered staple Peruvian recipes. Alongside these are less traditional fillings such as mushroom and leek, and chorizo. They’re served with a choice of sauces: mild salsa verde, a spicy aji amarillo (yellow chilli sauce) or a smoky rocoto (red capsicum) sauce.
Craft beers aside, the dog-friendly venue has been designed to be what Vargas envisions as a “community space where locals can use it to be able to connect” through free weekly events including trivia night on Tuesdays and comedy night on Thursdays. Friday marks “kill the keg” day, where the bar selects a keg to be sold at half-price, while Saturday has been reserved for a burger and beer brunch with Baby Rey’s.