Sat, May 25, 2024

Familiar face opens new place downtown

In 2015, Marty Koger was looking for something to do with a former gas station he owned in Evans.

“The store had been closed for two years, and my daughter suggested I check out growler stores in Atlanta,” he recalled. “I saw that they are interesting places selling interesting beer. You could go in and chat and learn about new and interesting beers. That was attractive to me.”

He really loved that there was no template for stores and he could design it any way he wanted.

“I came up with the name and built the store around that,” he said with a laugh.

Koger closed the first Tip Top Taps in 2022 when he sold the property, but he knew he wasn’t done with the growler store concept. He knew he did not want to be in a strip mall, so when the JB White’s building location opened up, he jumped at the opportunity.

Photo by Neil Gordon

“Downtown Augusta is a great fit. I’m excited to be here,” he said. “Downtown has its own place in the world. There are some awesome restaurants and places to enjoy downtown and we wanted to be a part of that.”

Koger said he used the original Tip Top Taps signage, but will be calling this location JB’s Tap Yard, a reference to the decor. The walls are lined with a picket fence. Lawn chairs sit at wood tables designed to resemble tree stumps. Huge portraits from local photographer, Addie Strozier of sunsets and coastal marshlands add to the scenery. The lighting is dim, like a sunset.

“It’s a backyard,” Koger said. “I wanted this to be very relaxed. Just come and chill, and enjoy a beer.”

Because none of the furniture is nailed down, patrons are encouraged to move chairs and tables to facilitate conversation. JB’s serves a large variety of beers, including local and craft beer, which can be ordered in 4-ounce flights, 12-ounce mugs, or 32-ounce canned crowlers.

Like a backyard, JB’s is family-friendly and offers non-alcoholic options. Kegs pour orange soda, homemade fruit punch, and sweet tea for underage patrons. Popcorn is free to everyone, and non-alcoholic drinks are free to designated drivers.

So, why does the owner of a petroleum company enjoy a second job running a taproom?

“Marko Petroleum hauls ethanol from here to Mississippi. Because of that I’m in the office too much. And I just love to talk and meet people and be around people. I’m a people person and I like being around people too much to be cooped up in an office all the time.”

Tip Top Taps, aka JB’s Tap Room, is at 936 Broad St. in Downtown Augusta and is open from 3 to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, and noon to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (706) 414-6050 or go to TipTopTaps.com.

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