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 are anything like that. Stremlau is just ready to move on to a new phase in her life.

"It's bitter sweet," 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," Stremlau 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 her 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," Stremlau 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 compliment 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 forget the first one, though, and is a bit sad to see the Tot Spot Cafe go.

"It's going to be a rough day for me," she said.

Stremlau 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.

"I can't wait," she said.

AaronBlues August 17, 2012 at 08:56 PM
With the demise of Big Daddy's just around the corner, I wish them well . . .
Kat Stremlau August 18, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Thanks Aaron, We are an entirely different beast than Big Daddy's - he was triple our size and was mostly focused on promoting live bands. The Collective on Tap is a 20 tap, all-craft brewstop. Our goal is best of breed beers from Washington, select wines and high-end tapas...and growler fills, of course. You won't find pool tables or pull-tabs or full bands at our space. I'm sad that Mike closed, as his was the only spot to hear live music, but we are not trying to fill his shoes. I hope you will come check us out when we open! Kat
Annie Archer August 18, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Love beer and tapas, can't wait Kat! Don't forget to tell us when the grand opening is! But I'll miss the great coffee at Tot Spot.
Brian Ehlert August 18, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Whidmer offers Omission gluten free beer. Both lager and IPA. no one offers such an option in the area on tap. It would have a guaranteed east side following. Please consider this one non-WA option.
Kat Stremlau August 18, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I sad to hear that Rainy City (Seattle-based) pulled the plug on their GF production. They just announced it on their Facebook page this week. Sigh...are there NO local brewers going GF?


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