Michael’s Tap Room: ‘Your Friends Are Already Here’
BETHEL — Michael’s Tap Room at 37 Stony Hill Road is a family-owned establishment where, “Your friends are already here,” as their slogan says.
It has a “hometown bar” mixed with a restaurant feel, as described by Mike Shakro, who is a co-owner along with his mom Linda and father Michael.
Michael’s Tap Room has been at the location since November of 2020, and the Shakros were renting the building until late this May, when they purchased it.
Shakro said his parents have been in “the biz forever.” He started working with them when he was 14 years old, when his parents had a catering business called Michael’s Catering that was based out of Danbury.
The family later opened Michael’s II Cafe in Danbury in 2009.
“We did well over there,” Shakro said, adding that the bar cafe was “very successful.”
They also ran a catering business, Michael’s At The Grove, out of Bethel from April of 2014 to January of 2022.
After leasing the space for Michael’s II Cafe, Shakro said the family wanted a space to purchase, so they transitioned in 2020 to the Stony Hill Road location.
For Shakro, working with his family at Michael’s II Cafe meant helping in the summers and when home from college at Sacred Heart University. When he graduated he started bartending and transitioned to a manager role, until he ended up being an owner with his parents.
“It’s really nice working with family, because the dynamic is very much more relaxed and easy,” Shakro said recently, sitting at a table inside Michael’s Tap Room around lunch time one afternoon. “And communication is easier.”
Shakro said he is lucky his family gets along “very well” and “it is great working with them.”
“They mentored me and they taught me everything I know,” said Shakro.
As described on its website, michaelstaproom.com, Michael’s Tap Room has 40 beers on tap, it has happy-hour specials, it features American comfort foods and entrees from salmon to steak and burgers, it has an outdoor patio, and it has special events like karaoke and trivia nights. It is open 11 am to 9:30 pm, and parking is spacious.
Shakro said Michael’s Tap Room does catered events at the space too, and the bar is “homey” with a lot of regular patrons. His family, he said, brought the atmosphere from Michael’s II Cafe to their new location.
Michael’s Tap Room is well known for their chicken wings, Shakro shared, adding that the “garlic parm is everyone’s favorite.” Shakro highlighted some of the establishment’s entrees as chicken, salmon, and tacos, and appetizers as clams, mussels, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers.
Karaoke is offered on Tuesdays, trivia is on Wednesdays, beer pong is on Thursdays, and Friday and Saturday there is live music with a DJ or a band. Brunch is offered from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
As the owner/manager of Michael’s Tap Room, Shakro said he hopes to take over when his parents eventually retire.
Shakro said Michael’s Tap Room is also managed by main manager Kelsey O’Keefe.
“She does an amazing job. She takes care of pretty much everything for us,” said Shakro.
Shakro said Michael’s Tap Room focuses on providing the type of atmosphere its slogan highlights, where, “Your friends are already here.” And one of his favorite parts is “the staff is amazing and the customers are great.”
More information about Michael’s Tap Room, including its menu and list of beers on tap, is available on its website michaelstaproom.com, its Facebook page “Michael’s Tap Room,” and its Instagram account “michaelstaproom.”
Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at email@example.com.