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Signature Fare: Longview tap house makes a home in Woodland

Antidote drinks

Bartender Tara Saunders mixes a margarita Nov. 9 at Antidote SoCo Tap House in Woodland. 

People who need a cure for thirst or boredom have had two locations for the remedy for almost a year, and the owners are looking for a third.

Antidote Tap House expanded to Woodland in February and moved its flagship Longview location from the Triangle Shopping Center to 14th Avenue in May 2020. Owner Kelli Busack said she is currently eyeing the next Antidote location, which could be anywhere in the state, but there are no specific plans.

Antidote IPA

An Antidote Cure All IPA sits on the Woodland bar Nov. 9. 

‘Taking care of us’

Expanding and relocating during a pandemic didn’t keep die-hard regulars from the tap houses, Busack said. When they couldn’t sit at the bar, customers grabbed to-go growlers of the 18 taps on each of the location’s main floors, or items from Antidote’s seasonally rotating food menu.

“We were swamped,” Busack said. “They were taking care of us.”

The support during the pandemic set up Antidote’s success today, she added.

“I think Antidote’s success is customer service,” Busack said. “Staff are polite and knowledgeable about beer.”

Independent brewers

Beer lovers won’t find Anheuser-Busch or Heineken brands on tap at Antidote locations. Busack said the tap houses only carry family-owned breweries, with “no corporate taps.” Focusing on independent breweries helps startup companies grow, she added. A Battle Ground brewer moved operations from a garage to a brick and mortar after selling at Antidote, Busack said.

Antidote Woodland upstairs

A large group convenes Nov. 9 in the upstairs loft of the Antidote SoCo Tap House in Woodland. 

Each Antidote location offers similar rotating drafts, including three IPAs, three ciders, three seasonal beers, a red, sour and stout. Two taps always are dedicated to Antidote’s signature beers, with recipes written by Busack and her co-owning husband, Andy, and produced by local brewers. The signature drinks are the Cure All IPA and a stout called Elixir.

Customers can pair the current hearty winter food items, like beer cheese soup and warm, soft pretzels, with cold-weather brews like Portland’s Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale in Woodland, or Sunriver, Oregon’s Cocoa Cow chocolate milk stout in Longview.

Busack said each location rotates kegs at different times, leaving varied options at the different buildings. Each bar goes through about a dozen kegs a week, she added. To keep up to date, Busack suggests following Antidote on the beer rating app or website called Untappd to see current drafts and specials.

Antidote pretzels

Warm soft pretzels and house-made queso sit on the bar at Antidote SoCo Tap House in Woodland Nov. 9. 

Antidote staff also offer free beer samples during “tap takeovers,” when regional breweries place kegs on about three of the locations’ taps and offer $2.50 off pints. Antidote offers similar specials with regional wines, where customers receive free samples and half-off purchased glasses.

Beyond the bar

Each location goes beyond the bar and tables of their main floors, Busack said. Both buildings have separate rooms with an additional bar and different atmosphere.

The Longview location has a speakeasy lounge called the boiler room in the basement for people 21 years old and older, offering drafts with higher alcohol content and specialty cocktails. Woodland has a loft upstairs with a bar, cushioned seats, board games and cornhole where people 16 years and older can convene.

Busack said Woodland’s growing population contributed to Antidote’s second location choice.

“I just felt there was an opportunity in Woodland to share craft beer like Antidote does,” she said.

Signature Fare is a series featuring local restaurants’ signature menu items and prints every other Wednesday.

Contact Daily News reporter Hayley Day at 360-577-2541 or for possible inclusion in the series.

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Boon was elected in 1997 and took the District 1 seat in January 1998. In addition to being a port commissioner, he owned and operated a dairy farm in Woodland before selling it in the 1990s, and later became the manager for Cowlitz County Diking District 2 until his retirement in 2016.

In other business, the commission approved a payment of $61,500 to the Cowlitz Fire District #5 under its standby agreement and heard that its marketplace and small cruise ship dock projects are both on track.

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