12th Street Taphouse tapped out

news-snap-taphouseThe restaurant was less than two years old.
FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

Tara Wheeler of the Charlottesville Newsplex first reported that the restaurant/bar/comedy club known as the 12th Street Taphouse has shut its doors. Known for its 20-ounce "pints" of beer, it opened in early 2009 on West Main Street by former chef and part owner of nearby Michael's Bistro, Chuck Adcock.

The building, now largely surrounded by the growing UVA Medical Center, long housed a string of familiar restaurants, including–- in reverse chronological order–- Spry's BBQ, Northern Exposure, Zipper's, and Expresso International (yes, ex-presso), which later became the Italian Villa on Emmet Street.

According to Adcock, the four months of utility work in 2009 for the massive Barry and Bill Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital, which will rise on the temporary parking lot beside the 12th Street Taphouse, put the restaurant in too much debt.

"We just couldn't recover," he says.

If that was the case, the odds of building owner Gordon Latter, owner of the Kane's Furniture next door, finding a new tenant doesn't look promising, considering the fact that the next phase of hospital construction involves raising a $141 million, 7-story, 200,000 square-foot building right next door over the next four years.

-updated 1/17/2011

Correction: in the original post, we mistakenly said "the odds of building owner/music magnate Coran Capshaw–- who financed the Taphouse's renovation work–- finding a new tenant doesn't look promising." George Latter, owner of Kane's Furniture, owns the former 12th Street Taphouse building at 1202 West Main Street. However, according to Adock, Capshaw did help finance the restaurant's renovation.

39 comments

KS, I made no mention of fleecing tourists, and I wasn't referring places that cater to them. By "regular locals" I mean the ones that go to Chi-Chi's, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, sports bars, and the like. Some businesses obviously want those people to come in, but many successful local establishments are good at and profit from keeping them away.

Not that it's among that group, but Durty Nellies has been around for a very long time and does fine far even farther from the Corner and nowhere near Downtown. Mas did just fine before Belmont became clogged with all the other restaurants. The C&O was the Pioneering Downtown restaurant and very popular long before that area drew crowds. Beer Run isn't near anything yet manages to be packed all the time. People will go out of their way if there is a reason. The Taphouse either didn't have such a reason or failed somehow to get the word out if it did.

Cookie- We misunderstood each other...in restaurant parlance, regular implies coming back with frequency, i.e. regularity. By "regular" locals I mean those who come back again, not average or common.

hawes A LITTLE SPITEFULL ARNT WE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I GUESS YOU TOLD HER DIDNT YOU!
NOW TAKE YOUR BALL AND GO HOME THE GAMES OVER

We would stop there after work sometimes do the fact that it was not over crowded and the waitstaff were friendly. Will miss having a quiet place to have a few drinks with co-workers even if it was not the cheapest.

Maybe the state could buy it off of Mr. Capshaw for, effectively, many times its true worth, tear down the building and make a state park on the land.

Better yet, the city could buy it for, effectively, many times its worth and sell it back to UVA for pennies on the dollar.

(I am being sarcastic in case it isn't clear.)

Dear cookieJar, You're right. We're not sure why your comments got eaten by the robot either, but we're looking into it. Thanks for not saying any naughty words or using insulting language.--hawes spencer

Oh, wait. Maybe it was your obviously fake email address. Try using a real one next time.--hawes

cookieJar got capped.

Venue worked back when there was parking. Once the adjacent free parking went away, every venture there has flopped.

Fakeemail@... is obviously fake? I thought I was being pretty sneaky with that one.

The building is owned by Kane Furniture, not Capshaw.

THEY HAD THE BEST SHRIMP AND GRITS!!!

@DaleC - yes, it was the Expresso Italian Villa for YEARS. Like 2+ decades. I worked for Zipper briefly when he first took the space over from the Italian Villa folks. I was not a huge fan of Northern Exposure, but I wanted to at least sample the big beer offerings...oh well! I don't think the vibrations would hurt the kegs and I think construction workers would give you a ready supply of beer drinkers.

@ Lenny Cason, this was not a Capshaw owned business. Very hard for any independent operator to make it in this economy. Best of luck to Chuck who put lots of sweat and equity in to this venture. UVA will be tearing this building down before long.

I guess the place wasnt "LOCAL" enough for the locals to support!!!!

Geez, does it really matter what it was in the old days? Sorry to hear that the 12th Street Taphouse is closed. Best wishes Chuck in your future endeavors!

It, not I.

I closed a week ago. It's telling that people are only noticing now.

True old-timers will remember it as the Expresso Italian Restaurant.

nicknameoscar: It didnt fit the Jeffersonian Style that UVA likes So it was doomed from the start ! Check the parking enfocement records and Ill bet it highter that the average for the "COURNER"

I had several good meals and several good beers there. They will be missed.

$10 beers. Yawn.

How did you not know mellow has such a great beer selection when they win best beer selection every year?

12th st looked like an airport bar

whats up with this closing down another coran capshaw failure are we in a economic down fall what a shame i guess people are now drinking at home

I think it was a wise move on the owners part. Who would want to sit in a bar with a construction project raging next to them. Do you not know UVA is expanding its hospital and is turning that parking lot into a children's hospital. Besides all the vibration from the jack hammers shakes the kegs and gives far to much foam in the beer. It is much easier to just wate till the project is over and sell the place to UVA for 10 times its worth and be done with it.

Guess it's too late to use my gift certificates to this dump. Oh well.

Wasn't it Expresso's Italian in the 1970's?

deleted by moderator

i thought the food was overpriced, and uppity. the space was gorgeous on the other hand. its a shame, but with the economy, and most of the places in this town being overpriced in general, its not really all that surprising to me.

I listen to quite a bit of local radio and watch the local tv channels when possible. I do not recall ever hearing an ad for this place or a few of the other places that have closed within the past 6 months. Maybe I blocked them out.

Agree with Mary. I like a good beer, but the prices were not realistic for the regular local. They sucessfully kept me away, anyway!

The key to the success of many bars is keeping the regular local away.

"The key to the success of many bars is keeping the regular local away.
"

You can only fleece tourists if you get a constant flow of tourists, and that location is too far down from the Corner. Tourists don't walk that far and there's nothing else to draw a crowd there like there is on the Downtown Mall. Even student-only dives will die without repeat customers.

had brunch there once. VERY enjoyable.

Of course, it was the morning after one of the huge snowstorms last year, when I was trapped at the marriott. Otherwise, I would never have set foot inside.

Location is everything.

KS, I made no mention of tourists, and I wasn't referring to places that cater to them. By "regular locals" I mean the ones that go to all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, sports bars, and the like. Some businesses obviously want those people to come in, but many successful local establishments are good at and profit from keeping them away.

D(rty Nellie's has been around for a very long time even farther from the Corner and nowhere near Downtown. Mas did just fine before all the other restaurants moved to Belmont. The C&O was the pioneering Downtown restaurant and very popular long before that area drew crowds. Beer Run isn't near anything yet manages to be packed all the time. People will go out of their way if there is a reason. The Taphouse either didn't have such a reason or failed somehow to get the word out if it did.

editor- that robot that filters posts could use some calibration

editor- that robot that filters posts could use some calibration
It's really no wonder people often rant about being censored and it's nearly impossible to tell what word makes that happen. Nothing that would have been in the second half of the post I just made above makes any sense as a trigger for automatic deletion.

Never heard of the place until now- maybe that was the problem.........

The food was good--the lunch waitstaff were uppity, but I continued to lunch there in spite of it. I figured they were on their way out when some friends met there for a beer...taps available were PBR and Guinness Stout. When we asked for the winelist, it was written down on a scrap of paper that included 3 bottles. The poor child waiting on us insisted that everyone "raved" about their "selection". Pitiful. We moved on. I had no idea Mellow Mushroom has such an extensive beer selection. Can't beat a $10 of Stella!