An Interview With Geoff Phillips As Bailey’s Taproom Celebrates 10 Years

Geoff Phillips at The Drinking Lot during the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference.

As we enter a big weekend of Oregon Beer as the 30th annual Oregon Brewers Festival continues through Sunday, Bailey’s Taproom celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary on Saturday with a block party. In anticipation of Bailey’s Taproom 10 Year Anniversary Block Party we recently interviewed Bailey’s owner and founder Geoff Phillips on what it’s like to own one of Portland’s most well-known beer bars.

Prior to opening Bailey’s Taproom what was your occupation?
Geoff: I was a City Planner for a private firm in Carlsbad, CA

What made you decide to go in to bar business?
I wasn’t happy with the direction my planning career was taking me and was really getting into craft beer. Craft beer bars seemed very few and far between, and like a lot of people that get into the bar business, I wanted to create a place that I wanted to go to.

When you decided to open up a beer bar how did you end up deciding on the location?
I was looking to be near public transportation, residents, office workers, and tourists. The space was vacant for a while and the owners were willing to rent to someone with no bar experience.

How did you decide to name the bar Bailey’s Taproom?
It’s a family name and my middle name. I thought it sounded way better than Geoff’s Taproom or Phillips’ Taproom.

Geoff Phillips circa 2009 at Bailey’s Taproom. (photo by Angelo De Ieso)

A few years after opening the bar began picking up momentum and recognition. Bailey’s Taproom has been part of Draft Magazine’s Top Beer Bars each and every year. The bar is a draw for both tourists and locals. Prior to opening did you envision this type of notoriety for operating a beer bar?
I believe the Draft Magazine streak started in 2009. No, was not expecting national recognition when I started, and still don’t. Best of lists are so subjective, I think it’s crazy anyone tries to put them together, no one will agree with all the picks. At the same time, it’s super flattering, and we’re extremely honored to be recognized as one of the better beer bars in the country.

Read More: Bailey’s Taproom Announces Beer List for Its 10th Anniversary Block Party

How do you think this consistent recognition helped grow the business?
Having positive articles, rankings, reviews, or whatever, has made it so we don’t have to spend money on advertising.

Your staff has been very loyal over the years as you have had very little turnover. Why do you feel that you have had this success in retaining your employees?
I think we’ve lucked out. I think it’s a fun working environment, but we’ve really created a family and everyone really looks out for each other.

On July 29th Bailey’s Taproom will celebrate its 10 Year Anniversary. What should people expect at this celebration?
As always, the event is about barrel-aged beers. Management has done a fabulous job of curating/creating/collaborating an amazing list of beers.

Ten years in would you do it all over again?
No doubt. There’s very little I’d change.

Bailey’s Taproom 10 Year Anniversary Block Party will take place on Saturday, July 29th beginning at Noon. Entry is free and the beer list is pretty amazing!