When Kat Stremlau, owner of Tot Spot Café in Woodinville, announced she was closing her business in mid-August, many folks assumed the decision was economically-driven.
“Not true,” says Stremlau. “The business was doing fine and it definitely served its purpose well in the five years it has been open.”
She explains: “When I started it, my son Nate was six months old and I needed a clubhouse for moms and kids. Not finding one around here, I began my own. Now, Nate is going into fulltime kindergarten and it’s time for a new venture.”
Come December, Tot Spot Café will be transformed into The Collective on Tap, a pub featuring Washington craft beers, along with select Woodinville wines.
“We’re going to have 20 taps that’ll be the best of breed,” says Stremlau. “We’ll rotate the taps and bring in beers that people aren’t aware of, particularly some of those that are made in small batches and that are cask-conditioned. We’re going to try and stay within 50 miles with some exceptions, so as to keep it very local.”
On her proposed brewery list are such names as Airways Brewing, Dirty Bucket, Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, Foggy Noggin Brewing, Elysian, Lazy Boy, Reuben’s Brews and Skagit River Brewing, among others.
She adds, “As for the wines, we’re planning on offering six different local wines and rotating these as well.”
Stremlau notes that there isn’t anywhere in the area that focuses solely on Washington craft beers.
She comments that there are breweries promoting their own products, but she hasn’t found a place that has a collection of the best Washington beer under one roof.
Like the Tot Spot Café, The Collective on Tap will be a clubhouse of sorts, but for adults, 21 and over.
“Our idea is to make it a gathering place where people can connect with the community,” explains Stremlau. “And being in downtown Woodinville, and not in the tourist district, it’ll attract locals — people who live and work in the area.” In addition to libations, the establishment will also offer small plates of Italian-inspired food, such as meatballs, stuffed peppers and charcuterie.
Stremlau, who is Irish-Italian and hails from New York, will be heading up the kitchen along with her other management duties.
“I love to cook,” she admits. “And I want to give people good quality food at reasonable prices. One of the things we’re going to do is to have a daily $10 lunch that will include a sandwich, like a meatball sub for example, and homemade soup. We’ll switch it up every week, but the price will stay the same.”
Stremlau plans to have “meet the brewer” events and home brewing classes, as well as trivia nights, adding, “A lot of these small little breweries are very excited to be a part of this and they are eager to tell their stories and share their passion with others.”
Patrons can also expect to hear some live music from time to time, but Stremlau emphasizes that the tunes will be mellow.
“No loud stuff,” she adds. Eventually, she hopes to establish a brewing facility on site.
“My husband Chris is a hobby brewer, who makes five gallons at a time at home,” she comments. “We’d like to make and sell our own beer at The Collective on Tap and with a proper brewing facility on site, we’d be able to do this more easily.”
After the imminent closure of the Tot Spot, the local woman and her business partner, Jan Newton, will begin to remodel the space.
All of the toys will be sold, with the proceeds going to Charity Water, an organization that brings clean water to African towns.
When The Collective on Tap opens, it will seat 60 indoors. Next spring, there will be an outdoor patio, adding another40 seats to the establishment.
“This is our dream,” says Stremlau, “and we’re so excited to make it a reality.”