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Woodinville's Tot Spot Cafe Closing, Making Way for New Tavern

Kat Stremlau, owner of Tot Spot Cafe, is shuttering her business and transitioning it into a new locally-focused tavern, due to open in December.

Woodinville's Tot Spot Cafe, a popular hang out for mothers and their little bundles of joy, will be closing its doors on Tuesday, Aug. 21, and will emerge from a cocoon a few months later as The Collective on Tap, a new venture from owner Kat Stremlau and her business partner Jan Newton.

The closure isn't about the economy or changing local demographics or anything like that. Stremlau is just ready to move on to a new phase in her life.

"It's bittersweet," Stremlau said. 

Stremlau's son is about to enter kindergarten, and having him move into a new phase got her thinking about her own life and career path. She began to think about doing something different when she and her husband wanted to go out for a beer one night but felt like they couldn't quite find the right place to go. And then inspiration struck.

"It just kind of hit us one night," she said.

Stremlau and her husband, who brews his own beer as a hobbyist, thought it would be nice to have a laid back bar to relax at after a long day or whenever they wanted to go out and have a bit of fun.  

She floated the idea, almost jokingly, on Facebook and expected to hear nothing but furor. Surprisingly enough, the response was positive, especially from dads.

"Oh my God, you need to do this," is what Stremlau said she heard back from people.

Stremlau said that she wants The Collective on Tap to feature all Washignton beers, especially new beers and beers no one has ever heard of.

"There are so many new breweries coming about," she said, adding that she wants to help the local beer scene gain the attention it deserves.

The Collective will also offer light appetizers and a roatating food menu that will complement the various brews on tap.

Even though the opening is a few months away, Stremlau said the excitment is building.

"It's like I'm expecting another baby," she said.

She hasn't forgotten the first one, though, and is a bit sad to see the Tot Spot Cafe go. Stremlau said she especially enjoyed meeting all the local moms who would come in and the way the cafe created a new community.

"I loved it," she said.

Anyone else who loved it does have an opportunity to take a bit of the Tot Spot Cafe home with them. Toys and more from the cafe are for sale right now, part of Stremlau's house cleaning effort. Once it's all gone, the transformation will begin.

Stremlau said The Collective on Tap should open in mid to late December, just in time for the holidays.

Kirkland Tony August 17, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Isn't this just like four doors down from the just-closed Big Daddy's Place? Just to clarify... She and her husband couldn't find a place they could relax with beer they liked, in the same building as Big Daddy's which apparently could no longer make ends meet. So she's going to start a new one in the same complex that one with regulars just failed? Just sayin'...
Kat Stremlau August 18, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Hi Tony, Yes, we are in the back building that housed Big Daddy's in the front. We are also not trying to fill Big Daddy's shoes, by any means. Our 20 slot taproom is 1/3rd the size of Big Daddy's and the focus is on premium craft beers originating from Washington. Sadly, we won't host the great bands Mike was able to accommodate and we also won't be serving hard alcohol or be open until 1am. Our focus is on getting the best beer in Washington in a one-stop-shop. I hope you will stop in and check us out when we open - we're doing growler fills as well...
Mary August 19, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I was just on the Tot Spot website yesterday, looking at their hours and planning on visiting soon with my 1 year old. Very disappointing to hear they are closing, and really disappointed that their website didn't even mention it. :(
Kat Stremlau August 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Sorry you missed the boat on Tot Spot, Mary - there is also HappyNest in Redmond as well as Twirl Cafe in Seattle for entertaining the kiddos. The main website calendar lists our closure and the website will soon cut over to direct to the new business.
Annie Archer August 20, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Big Daddy's was a radically different business than taproom, and did not have many actual craft beers on tap, it was more about the live music. I

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