Stacking "The Deck" With Craft Beer: A Custom Tower for a Full-Service Restaurant & Bar

The Bucks County Playhouse

As a restaurant or commercial establishment, you have already dreamed about that design in your head. You’ve worked hard to build a place that has meaning and impacts the community—especially if you are a historic site like the Bucks County Playhouse.

The design and ambiance you create in your business is more than important: it is your identity. With the addition of their restaurant, The Deck, Bucks County Playhouse needed someone who could understand their vision.

But where could they get that done: finding someone who could see their dream and implement it in a safe and realistic way? Only a master of their craft would know how to create the custom beer tower of The Deck’s dreams.

A Historical Location: Once Dying, Now Revived and Thriving

The Bucks County PlayhouseThe Bucks County Playhouse, located on the Delaware River in New Hope, Pa., is arguably one of the most famous theaters in America. The site of the playhouse was once a grist mill, and the playhouse building itself was first constructed in 1790. In the 1930s, the building was facing demolition until a group of artists took it over and turned it into a theater, which opened in 1939.

Through the years, the Bucks County Playhouse has played host to hundreds of notable stars, including Helen Hayes, Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda. A 2012 renovation supported by the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, brought the building up to date. Now, the theatre welcomes nearly 50,000 visitors annually.

The latest addition to the Bucks County Playhouse experience is The Deck, a full-service restaurant and bar which features stunning tableside views of the Delaware River. Besides serving a full range of classic American cuisine, The Deck features an impressive bar with a full range of craft cocktails, extensive wine list and eight brews on tap.

Designing a Restaurant Beer Tower that Aligned with Their Vision

The construction of The Deck was spearheaded by J.R. Maxwell Builders of Doylestown, Pa. During the construction process, the Daughertys had a vision for how they wanted the bar area to look. They had seen a bar in Canada that had a very rustic look and an iron back bar. Rick Uzubell, president of the Chicago-based Cabaret Design Group, had been brought in to work on the design of the bar area and picks up the story at that point.

Design discussions with the Daughertys “quickly got into the bar system,” Uzubell says. “Kevin Daugherty was soliciting my opinion was about how the restaurant’s draft beer towers should look and where they should be located. I sent him a picture of one of Micro Matic’s products that I was familiar with — one of the custom beer towers they had done, which was an inverted tower. He said, ‘That’s exactly the picture I was looking at!’”

Installing a Unique, Industrialized Bar System

The Bucks County Playhouse Uzubell contacted Micro Matic, which referred one of its Certified Installers, Bob Cameron of Cameron Supply in Bethlehem, Pa., to assist with the project. Located all across the country, Micro Matic Certified Installers provide a wide range of installation and support services to ensure that project requirements are efficiently met through a single point of communication. “We were there from inception to the tapping of the first beer,” says Cameron.

The bar at The Deck is unique, Uzubell says, because rather than being against the wall, it’s in the middle of the bar area. “It’s an island bar. People can sit on all four sides; it’s kind of the focal point” of the room, he says. What’s most striking about the beer tower is that it hangs from the ceiling. With eight beer taps on each side, it carries out the rustic décor of The Deck, says Uzubell, with “black pipe and large-diameter cast-iron flanges that are bolted connections. It looks very industrial.” With drip trays on either side of the taps, two bartenders can work the room at the same time.

Overcoming Challenges: A Custom Beer Tower That Performs and Stuns

Delivering this unique draft beer system presented some challenges, says Micro Matic Product Designer Nestor Baez-Alvarez. “Every connection on this beer tower has a flange on it with eight bolts attached to it,” says Baez-Alvarez. “So, it gives it that very rustic, industrial look.”

The intricate design, along with the ceiling mounting and large number of taps in the system, presented another problem — the weight of the unit. “Obviously, all the weight is being put toward the center piece, so we provided a support in order for them to stay straight and be able to handle the pulls of the bartenders.” For added strength, he says, “we reinforced all the connections by welding them. Although they look like they might be threaded in, we actually welded them together.”

At the heart of The Deck’s draft beer system is Micro Matic’s unique Kool-Rite™ technology, which delivers perfect-temperature cold beer at the point of dispense, first time, every pour. As Baez-Alvarez notes, “Your restaurant’s beer tower might look antique, but the internals of the tower are state of the art.”

Making Dreams a Reality: A Custom Restaurant Beer Tower for the Historical Bucks County Playhouse

The beer tower at The Deck is certainly a unique design and delivering on those unique designs is what Micro Matic does better than just about anybody else. Cameron explains that when it comes to customized beer towers, “Basically, I can give them my idea,” he says. “If we have something to start with or [there’s] something in the catalog and we want to customize it a bit, they’re willing to start that way. Or I can give them an idea and say, ‘I have a customer looking for a hanging beer tower made out of brewery fittings.’ They’re very flexible; they’ll generate a drawing and send it back to me.”

That flexibility — along with Micro Matic’s custom restaurant beer tower production capabilities and Kool-Rite™ technology — means that designers and installers are limited only by their imaginations. Make your dreams for your establishment truly come to life! Work with our creative team and create the custom designed beer tower you’ve been picturing. As Cameron says, “If I can dream it, they can build it.”

The Bucks County Playhouse

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