The legendary Missouri author Mark Twain said it best himself: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
This attitude is exactly what Josh Bowles had in mind when he first came up with the concept for Twain Missouri Taproom. But he took the author's message one step further — his bar serves strictly Missouri-made beers, liquors and wines.
Nestled next to The Tiger Hotel, in the spot previously occupied by The Velvet Cupcake Cafe, the taproom held its initial soft opening, fittingly, on November 30, Mark Twain’s birthday.
“Mark Twain is kind of the quintessential cool Missourian," Bowles says. "That guy was a rockstar in the 19th century. So I think making a place that he would even feel comfortable coming in and having a whiskey was sort of our goal for the outset. Just to have a comfortable, cozy taproom.”
And cozy it is. The bluegrass strumming of local band Mercer and Johnson plays overhead. The modest space is filled with cushy leather seating, tabletop chess boards, and walls and tables formed from reclaimed barn wood, delivered from neighboring Amish communities in Sturgeon. The taproom also features ten taps that Bowles says will be in constant rotation.
A self-proclaimed beer geek, Bowles moved from Rolla, Missouri, to Columbia in 2002 and worked as a general manager at Mojo’s — later remodeled and renamed Rose Music Hall — for about ten years before joining on at Logboat Brewing Co. in 2014. He's been eyeing the vacant spot at The Tiger Hotel for more than a year as a perfect location for an extension of the local brewing community. “More than anything, I want [customers] to come here and ask questions about other places," Bowles says. "Like come here, try a Logboat, and then be like, ‘Well, the brewery is six blocks away. Go check out what they’ve got on tap.”
Bowles is planning to manifest the one-stop gift shop idea with package sales of bomber bottles, six packs, bottles and other merchandise from local breweries, distilleries and wineries.
The taproom will have its official opening in January, though no exact date has been selected. Bowles plans for Twain to soon feature signature drinks, as well as a short menu of small food items, which — you guessed it — will all be sourced locally.