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Tap tapped for television

Oxford Tap co-owners Louie Conley (left) and Mike Phipps will see their Irish pub featured on a new TV show called "Pubs Across America." (click for larger version)
August 28, 2013 - Move over Cheers, there's a new bar ready to make its television debut and its located in the heart of downtown Oxford.

The Oxford Tap (36 S. Washington St.) will be featured on a new reality show called "Pubs Across America."

"Hollywood coming to Oxford, Michigan – it's pretty exciting," said Louie Conley, who co-owns the Irish pub with Mike Phipps.

According to Conley, the show is about two guys who travel around the United States looking for different beers and unique drinks, interesting people and good food.

"They just felt that we had it," he said.

Conley explained that the show's producers were originally scouting another bar, but the place didn't appeal to them.

When they asked the bartender to recommend somewhere else to go, "he said you should go up to Oxford – they got a lot of neat stuff up there," according to Conley.

After checking out the town, the producers found what they were looking for at The Oxford Tap.

"They came in three or four times without us knowing before they even approached us," Conley said. "It had the feel they want for their show. They loved the town."

Producers also liked the fact that the Tap's building has some history attached to it.

Around 1910, the original wooden building that stood at 36 S. Washington St. burned to the ground.

After that, the current structure was home to two businesses that both sold furniture and provided undertaking services, a very odd combination by today's standards.

Conley noted that some employees believe there are ghosts inhabiting the bar.

Although he's never personally experienced anything supernatural, some employees blame spirits of a non-alcoholic nature for "things falling" and "things moving."

Conley's both proud and humbled that the show decided to showcase his establishment, which opened in November 2001.

A crew of about 20 people armed with four or five cameras spent approximately 16 hours on Aug. 17 gathering footage of the bar and the town and interviewing loyal customers.

"It was a full day of filming," Conley said. "It was a big production."

So, when and where will the Tap make its television debut? That has yet to be determined.

"I don't know when it's going to be on," Conley said. "They have three (basic cable) networks bidding on (the show)."

Although Conley is excited about this opportunity for national exposure, he hasn't let it go to his head. He's pretty humble about the whole experience.

"I don't think we're any better or any worse than any of the other (bars)," he said.

"Everybody offers something. We just offer something people are looking for. We're pretty accommodating with our customers and we've got a great staff."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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