New downtown taphouse slated to open in 2016

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Color swatches adorn a wall inside Arlette Lavelle’s new downtown taphouse. | August 2015

A passion for the outdoors, a penchant for flannel and a love of craft beers – is this Alaska or the Pacific Northwest? Trick question, it’s both. There is something that connects the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, something that inspires a sharing of both people and culture.

Arlette Lavelle celebrates that connection. In early 2016, the born-and-raised Fairbanksan will open the cities newest drinking establishment: Lavelle’s Taphouse. The taphouse will feature more than 30 brews on-tap and will provide space for locals to drink and socialize, doubling as a relaxed workspace for business professionals.

The origin of Lavelle’s Taphouse can be traced to Oregon in summer 2014. Lavelle spent a year working at the b2 Taphouse in Salem and holds the distinction of being the taphouse’s first-ever employee. b2 is known for its selection of craft beers and relaxed atmosphere and it’s that experience Lavelle hopes to re-create in Fairbanks.

In fact, Lavelle had plans to open her taphouse well before she returned to Fairbanks. A 1,000 square-foot walk-in cooler she brought from Oregon will double as both the aesthetic (and literal) centerpiece of her business.

Lavelle’s Taphouse will have an Old-World-meets-New-World aesthetic (think recycled barn wood meets modern lighting) but will be very much a product of the Digital Age. One element of said modernity is the use of Digital Pour, a computer program that displays real-time information that customers can see, including what beer is on-tap, how much is available, the alcohol percentage and price.

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Arlette Lavelle poses where the future bar inside Lavelle’s Taphouse will be located. | August 2015.

“I’d like to bring up some eclectic beers that have never been to Alaska before,” Lavelle said. She is focused on bringing-up beers from Washington and Oregon, but also plans to feature beers from local breweries. She will also serve cider, wine, root beer and kombucha.

Unlike almost all of Fairbanks’ drinking establishments, the taphouse will not serve food. Instead, patrons are encouraged to bring their own or order in. Lavelle plans to work with food trucks during the summer and is developing a special “to-go” menu with Lavelle’s Bistro.

Dining out can be expensive, which is why Lavelle’s Taphouse has made it’s focus on drinks-over-food. “People are on a budget,” Lavelle said. It’s important that people have the opportunity to explore the world of beer on their own terms and on their budget, she added.

While the emphasis is on alcohol consumption and a good time, Lavelle is keen to point out that the taphouse is just that: a taphouse. “What we’re looking at is not a bar,” Lavelle said. The taphouse will have a capacity of 50 and will close at 10 PM on most nights.

“This is [going to be] a cool place to hang out, even if you just want a root beer,” Lavelle said.

Lavelle’s Taphouse is located inside the former L’assiette de Pomegranate Cafe on 2nd Ave and will open early 2016.

UPDATE: Lavelle’s Taphouse opened on January 30!