It happens at least once a month – we’re having a conversation with someone and, regardless of the original topic, the subject turns to the lack of a good bar in the area. “I really wish there was a place where we could just hang out at night,” they’ll say. “Not a restaurant with a bar, but an actual bar. Some place friendly and low-key, like ‘Cheers.’”
Friends, your wish has been granted: enter the new 1683 Taproom in Bedford Hills, which is now scheduled to open on Friday, January 27. While Sam Malone may not be behind the bar and the Bedford version of Norm and Cliff may look a little different, that relaxed, casual feel is what 1683 Taproom is all about.
Located in the former Brew & Co. on North Bedford Road, owner Zach Friedman is breathing new life into the “bottle shop-slash-bar” venue that was often overlooked.
“For the most part, the concept has remained the same, but I felt very strongly that the direction wasn’t reflecting what the clientele was using it as,” says Friedman. “So, I’m essentially transferring the ratio of the business. Visually, it appeared the place was 75 percent a craft beer store and 25 percent a bar. But I want it to feel like a bar where you can also buy craft beer bottles and cans or fill up your growlers.”
Friedman has given the place a deep clean, painted it and swapped out some of the furniture. Gone are most of the shelves that made the space feel more like a store, and in their place are tables and chairs, allowing more folks an opportunity to enjoy a drink with friends while listening to music or catching a game on TV.
As the weather gets warmer, Friedman plans to add additional tables and chairs, along with some family-friendly games (like cornhole) out back.
The other big change is the name, something Friedman thought long and hard about. While the date, 1683, refers to the year Westchester was founded, the word Taproom was selected for a very specific reason.
“It wasn’t incredibly clear what Brew & Co. was,” Friedman explains. “A lot of people were confused and thought it was a coffee shop, a place that sold brewing supplies or even a liquor store, so renaming it was a big focus. I wanted to make sure that whatever I named it, the name really speaks to what it is.”
1683 Taproom mainly focuses on local craft beers within a 100-mile radius, but if you’re not a beer drinker, there will also be wine, cider, seltzers and water. And because a good bar needs good food, Friedman will continue the food truck tradition that began at Brew & Co. But instead of seemingly random truck appearances, Friedman plans to implement a monthly schedule (the same truck every Thursday for a month, a different, yet same truck every Friday for the month, etc.) and post it online. It’s almost like getting several new restaurants in our neighborhood each month. Plus, Friedman, a professional chef, plans to serve his own food eventually.
While the hours may change based on customer demand, for now, 1683 Taproom will be open daily from noon until 11:00 at night. That’s right – very soon, there will be an actual place to go after 9:00 p.m.! It appears that Friedman is granting people’s other wish as well.
“It’s a neighborhood bar,” he says. “I want everybody that comes through the door to feel happy and relaxed. Whether it’s a group of girlfriends who stop in because some of them like craft beer while the others like wine, a group of dads who just finished playing baseball on a Sunday afternoon or a family grabbing dinner together after a busy day, I want everyone to feel welcome. It’s like ‘Cheers,’ but with a craft beer setting.”
This article was published in the January/February 2023 print edition of Katonah Connect.
Gia Miller is an award-winning journalist and the editor in chief/co-publisher of Katonah Connect. She says she’s living the dream she never knew she had. Gia enjoys telling people’s stories, laughing at her crazy dog and a good podcast. She thanks multiple alarms, fermented grapes and her husband for helping her get through each day. Her love languages are food and humor.